Or maybe I should say “Baaa-aaa-aaa!”
I’m super-excited to announce that I just signed a contract for a funny nonfiction SHEEP picture book to be published by Boyds Mills Press. I’m thrilled to be working with editor Rebecca Davis on this project, who is also the editor of my next poetry collection (about NIGHT), which will come out from WordSong. Yay!
This picture book has a wry sense of humor to it and a different approach to the topic, and, sure enough, my agent at the time and the few editors we showed it to immediately picked it as the strongest out of the group of several of my manuscripts pitched to them. Wrangling a picture book into being can sometimes be very awkward (like the sheep-shearing I watched at a sheep festival earlier this month–see pic below).
But this one, once I came up with the concept/structure in my head, fell into place rather quickly (well, for a picture book). What I’m realizing more and more this past couple of years is that marketable picture books right now, especially if you like nonfiction and/or poetry, are all about finding a NEW approach.
Paraphrasing Hugh MacLeod paraphrasing Grateful Dead and applying it to writing: If you’re creating picture books, you have a much better chance of finding a home for it in traditional publishing if you show editors the ONLY book like yours they’ve seen, rather than showing them the BEST version of a story/topic they’ve seen many times.
So, I’m challenging you to put your picture book ideas in a blender along with some NEW settings, elements, twists, topics, structures, etc., and see what you can whip up.