My friend Mary Ann suggested that I visit the bookstore and buy some books by the same publisher that have been published within the last year to determine what style (s) they prefer. So, off to Chapters I went to do some research. While I found a stack of picture books by the publisher in question, I did not find a lot of historical picture books. I did find a couple of folksy type historical picture books, one of which I already own. I bought a couple of story books along with a book about New York City and then headed home.
Mary Ann also suggested that I proofread my manuscript to purge it of cliches, to double check on dialogue tags ex. "I say" and to make sure it had a sufficient number of word pictures. Well, back to the drawing board. She also suggested that I have a critique group read it, something I had also heard from another author. She named the Word Guild critique group as an example (I'm already a member so it should just be a formality).
Of course, I also have to research the submission guidelines for the publisher, as each one is slightly different. I have to cross my t's and dot my i's. I have to make sure I look professional.
As I peruse my manuscript for the hundredth time, I hope to do so with fresh eyes. I hope to give it that something extra, that something unique, that will catch the eye of the publisher.
Here is a list of resources for beginners who wish to write/publish a picture book:
1. "The Business of Writing for Children" (Aaron Shepard).
2. Picture Writing (Anastasia Suen).
3. Guide to Writing for Children (Jane Yolen).
4. The Children's Picture Book: How to Write and Sell It (Ellen M. Roberts).
5. Harold Underdown's site (www.underdown.org).
6. Children's Book Council (www.cbcbooks.org).