I’m in the second week of an online picture book writing class with Rick Walton as the instructor. Last week we introduced ourselves and Rick explained what a picture book is, their importance, etc. and told us some reasons why he likes to write, answered a few questions, and gave us two assignments.
One assignment was to read and analyze 20+ PBs published in the last 5 years. I randomly chose the books from my local library shelves. In my opinion, a few were quite good, most were mediocre, the rest not very well written. Some of the illustrations were wonderful, some unique, others were only so-so.
A classmate made the comment that after completing the assignment it gave her hope that she could succeed in getting her books published because she felt she could write as well as some of the authors whose books she read. My first thoughts were more negative, along the lines of: “How do these people get this stuff published?!”
I discovered that some of the books were published by small, possibly vanity or POD, presses. Others, though, were from big name publishers. I think that goes to show (1) anyone can publish a book if he/she is willing to pay printing costs; (2) books are sometimes published simply because the author or illustrator has name recognition and the publisher thinks they will make a profit; (3) books appeal to different people in different ways so a book that I think is great, someone else wouldn’t like, and vice versa.
On to this week’s lesson…