Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Publishing a Picture Book?

After many years of writing, I have at least 15 picture book manuscripts that I've never published, though I've published some of them in smaller form like a short story.

Photo by: Enokson, courtesy of Flickr
What is it about publishing a picture book that's so difficult, you ask?

Well, let me tell you:

1. If you're publishing the book yourself, you need a fantastic illustrator. Did you now that the illustrator you choose is even more important than the words you have written? Let me tell you why. With a great text and poor illustrations, no one is going to read your book. With superb illustrations and a somewhat mediocre text, people will. It's the illustrations that make a picture book.

2. Getting a good illustrator will cost you. You'll be raking out at least $500 to get the work started, and finalizing the project at about $2,000 or so, depending again on the illustrator you choose. You may have already tried to hire your mother, your brother or your next door neighbor with disastrous results. You may have told them that you are interested in doing a 50/50 split, and they appear interested at first, but they are never really motivated enough to continue the project.

3. You quickly discover that publishing options such as CreateSpace, don't offer you the opportunity to create a picture book, and that other publishers out there who do, charge a mere fortune. Consider the great site, SnapFish. I have done a picture book with them, only to give to family members, mind you. The per book cost was between 15 and 20 dollars, though they did do a terrific job.

If you are feeling down in the mouth about the above realities, don't be. I figure my own books will get published when I get to that point in my writing career when I really want to invest in them. And that means I may be writing a few more YA and adult books before that point.

I have to be okay with that or go crazy. I have to be open to the right time for anything I do. Consider how many years it took before CreateSpace was even an option for self-publishing. Used to be a writer would have to buy a thousand copies or more of their book just to get them, and then the poor dears sat in the basement for years gathering dust.

No more. Who knows? Maybe we have just a few short years before CreateSpace or another venue takes on the picture book at a cost a writer doesn't have to save for years to be able to afford.

I'm open.
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