So I searched on my laptop for the two children’s stories that I had written perhaps ten years earlier. Back then I had randomly submitted them both to a handful of publishers and had given up after having received a handful of rejections. I stupidly thought that getting started in this field would be simple (boy was I wrong!) and wasn’t quite ready to face the rejection that I have since learnt is the norm in the writing business.
This time, I was determined to take things more seriously and to find out exactly what had gone wrong the first time around.
I began to actually do some research into the basics of picture book writing (something that I clearly should have done the first time around). It soon became clear that my first two stories had NO chance of publication whatsoever.
Useful things that I learnt:
Picture books have set lengths (word limits) and a set number of spreads.
I need to completely immerse myself in picture books and read, read and read some more.
So it was back to the drawing board for me. My first attempt at a picture book text was around 1500 words long, roughly 700 words too long for even the top end of the word limit. Also, the content of the story just wasn’t going to cut it so I decided to start afresh.
To rhyme or not to rhyme, that was the question!