Pam Halter has been a children’s book author since 1995. She has published two picture books, Beatrice Loses Her Doll and Beatrice’s New Clothes (Concordia, 2001) . She was selected to attend the Highlights Whole Novel Workshop for Fantasy, May 2010, received Writer of the Year in 2014 at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference, and won the Reader’s Choice Award in a short story contest hosted by Realm Makers and Brimstone Fiction in 2015. Pam also is a children’s book freelance editor and the children’s book editor for Fruitbearer Kids. http://www.pamhalter.com
Kim Sponaugle is a graduate of The Art Institute of Philadelphia and began working for David C. Cook Publishing designing children’s curriculum and products. But she soon found her heart’s vocation in children’s illustration. In 2001, Kim illustrated her first picture book series Beatrice Loses Her Doll and Beatrice’s New Clothes with Concordia Publishing House. In 2007, Kim started Picture Kitchen Studio and has had the pleasure of interacting and working with both traditional publishers and self-published authors. She has illustrated more than 60 picture books is also a children’s book cover designer. http://www.picturekitchenstudio.com
Now, as promised last week we are sharing here our advice for anyone who is considering self-publishing a children’s picture book.
* Make sure you hire a good freelance editor. It’s not easy to write for kids. You have to take a 10,000 word kind of story and tell it in 700-800 words.
* Spend time with kids. You can’t write a story that will hold their attention if you don’t know what they like.
* Read LOTS of current picture books (public libraries are great for this). See what’s out there already. Figure out how you can tell the same old story in a fresh way. Get ideas for fresh and wonderful artwork.
* Spend the money for GREAT illustrations. Pictures are every bit as important as the story for a children’s book. Don’t skimp on them. If you don’t have enough money, wait to publish your story until you do. You won’t regret it.
* Read your story out loud. Have someone read it out loud to you. Picture books are meant to be read out loud. You’ll be amazed at what you hear.
* When you’re sure it’s ready, read it to a group of children. Kids are blatantly honest. My 7-year-old grandson thinks Willoughby is a wimp. Ha! But I’m not upset or worried. I know my story isn’t for every child.
* Writing/illustrating is mostly a solitary activity. Find or form a writers or artists group. There’s nothing like hanging out with creative people to help your writing and illustrating. It’s also good to have others you trust to bounce ideas off.
Remember that Kim and I are planning to offer mentoring workshops and weekends for picture book authors and illustrators. We’re hoping to start this fall. Subscribe to my blog or Kim’s blog for updates.