On picture books | more

Sorry to go on about picture books but it is something that has gotten my goat of late. **I recently started sending out a picture book manuscript to publishers. That’s probably what has my goat’s knickers in a bunch.**

I crept into a launch last night (more on that here) and had a chat with a heavy weight publisher or two. They dropped me a few statistics that didn’t sound too optimistic and perhaps more importantly, one let me know that he was no longer taking on picture books from new writers.

(Naturally alarms bells went a-ringing - I’m a new writer and I’ve written a picture book and I have no definite publisher yet. What do I do now??)

As a different take on the issue, this publisher doesn’t see the decline as a result of the readers’ embarrassment but more to do with the parents’ unwillingness to buy the books. As a business indication this is even more hair raising - children reluctant to read picture books at a certain age is one thing, but parents unwilling to shell out for the books initially is worse. As this particular publisher put it:

All the talk from parents on how they love their children reading is just that, talk.

2 Responses to “On picture books | more”

  1. 1 emordino

    Well of course it’s all talk. There has always been a booming industry in “Wouldn’t it be grand if…” I think the idea of reader embarrassment is silly - kids will only be embarrassed if they’re told they should be, e.g. if a teacher stands up in front of a class and says “Now I know you might be embarrassed to be seen reading a picture book, but…”

    Nurture always wins.

    My friend and I had planned to self-publish our project, initially at least. Having said that, it’s more of a side project for us than an actual commercial venture. Sooo… yeah, maybe you should be worried.

  2. 2 david.

    I didn’t put much stock in the embarrassment theory either - until I put it to an ten year old. Her answer to reading a picture book was:

    “No. Maybe. If it was written by someone I knew. Maybe Jacqeuline Wilson.”

    Then we made faces at each other and ate pizza, but that’s another story.

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