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I’m All Out of Inspiration

March 25, 2021– Happy Thursday, Friends! We’ll be wrapping up our most asked questions in the next week, and we hope that you learned some new things. On April 1st, we’ll be starting a brand-new theme called, “How to push the envelope in your writing” and we certainly hope you’ll join us.  Let’s jump into today’s question.

Q: “Lately I’ve been feeling really uninspired in my writing. I want to write a children’s book, but I can’t seem to come up with any good ideas. You’ve written a lot of kid’s books, where do you get ideas from?”

A: Sometimes it’s hard to be inspired I agree, but if we look around, we can find plenty of ideas. A lot my children’s book subject matter comes from real life experience and people that I’m close to. My nephews and niece inspire me like crazy; they range in age from 17 years old to 3 months and the toddlers tend to have amazing ideas that make it onto my books. For example, most recently I wrote a book called Cakes for Snakes and it came about at my kitchen table in the Pandamonium Publishing House Tour Bus; my three-year-old nephew, Denver asked, “Auntie, who makes cakes for snakes?” I grabbed a pen and started taking notes. We’re formatting Cakes for Snakes in a whole new way as a full colour comic book for kids with the one and only Alex Goubar, stay tuned for more information on a release date! Check in with your friends and family (especially the kiddos) and think about changing your environment. You can head to the park, the outdoor bike/walking trails, the mall, and other places to find inspiration around every corner. Be sure to ask yourself questions. I wrote The Extreme! Supreme! Dogwalker, Darlene after walking my own pup, Luna. I thought to myself, what would make someone an ultimate dogwalker? What tools would they have to make their job easier? What would they do to keep the dogs occupied? Etc. Jot down every idea because you never know where it will lead. Keep in mind when writing for kids, the crazier the plot and the bigger and more exaggerated the story, the better. Another tip is to pick up books that inspired you as a child and read them once again; what did you love about them? What parts spoke to you the most? And so on.

If you need help with writing for kids, let me mentor you! Check out my masterclass here: Children’s Book Writing Master Class – Pandamonium Publishing House

Remember, discipline beats motivation every single time. Even though you aren’t inspired it’s important to sit down and write. Put the words on the page. Happy Writing! X LLB

 

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Gift Giving Ideas

December 3, 2020– Tis the season to give! What better present, than the gift of literacy? Pandamonium Publishing House has you covered for all of your gift-giving needs.

For the History BuffDuty’s Son, Duty’s Daughter, Duty’s Dad by K.G. Watson- A delightful, historical fiction novel that Hamiltonians will enjoy! Lots of entertaining facts about the city as well as major events that shaped Canada. Dundurn Castle, Niagara Falls, and The Great Western Railway are just a few of the places featured. Duty’s Son by K.G. Watson is a wonderful trip back in time. John Harvey Watson was a courageous soldier, a gentleman, and a man of duty. This is his story. Written by K.G. Watson, Cover Design by Alex Goubar available hereDuty’s Son: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/dutys-son/
Duty’s Daughter:https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/dutys-daughter/
Duty’s Dad:https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/dutys-dad/

For the Sports Lover-101 World Series in 1 Book-This book will entertain you with some of the most interesting, odd, and amazing moments in World Series history. Here are 114 of those moments that justify a National Pastime’s forever enduring institution. Written by Scott C. Morissey, cover design by Alex Goubar available here:  https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/114-world-series-in-1-book/

For the Thrill Seeker-Obsessed with Her, James Cass- What would you do if your child was missing? How far would you go to find out the truth about what happened to her? Obsessed with Her is every parent’s worst nightmare; with twists and turns so shocking, it will leave you breathless until the very last page. “Totally shocking, disturbing and NOT for the easily offended or squeamish.”-Goodreads “Thrilling, scary, jump off the edge of your seat entertaining. “-Goodreads “Four stars for scaring the bejeezus out of me.”-Goodreads “Don’t read this when home alone if you are bothered by gore.”-Goodreads
Obsessed with Her available herehttps://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/obsessed-with-her-novel/
Becoming James Cass available here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/becoming-james-cass/

For the Upcoming Writer-Advice from a Publisher- I decided to write this book to fill a need in the marketplace. Not many publishers are willing to offer insider tips to help up and coming authors with the publishing process. In fact, most publishers send out nothing more than form rejection letters with no help or suggestions for improving the author’s chances of getting a book deal. As a publisher and author, I’m spilling the secrets about what publishers want and what no one in the industry will tell you. This book is short, sweet, and to the point.  Written by Lacey L. Bakker, Cover design by Alex Goubar available here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/advice-from-a-publisher-insider-secrets-for-getting-your-work-published/

For the Realist(Non-fiction) Acts of RemembranceRevolution is in our land.  In Amsterdam and Rotterdam, cannons stand on every street corner.  A Curfew is at 7:30, but the people are standing by the front door listening to others who are rioting. The rioters are so fed up with things they are marching through the street singing. For punishment, they have no light or water. It was not smart. Many were shot. Now, what do you do? A death sentence is carried out on everyone who does not obey. These words are straight from the pages of a young girl’s (Engelina Aasman Hummel) diary during the Second World War. They are true, haunting, and raw. Acts of Remembrance is a book that you’ll never forget. Written by K.G. Watson and Engelina Aasman Hummel available here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/acts-of-remembrance-by-k-g-watson-and-engelina-aasman-hummel/

For the Animal Lover-The 12 Days of Rescue, Panda the Very Bad Cat- An Amazon, NUMBER 1 Best Seller! Meet Socks, a quiet shelter dog who has been waiting her whole life for someone to notice her. Imagine her excitement on the day someone does! How will her life change when she finally gets a family of her own? Follow along with Socks, as she shares the first twelve days with her new family! An interactive book with hidden hearts on each page and a recipe for homemade dog treats, included! Written by Tonya Cartmell, illustrated by Emily James available here:  https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/the-12-days-of-rescue/
Panda the Very Bad Cat available here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/panda-the-very-bad-cat-collection/

For the Sci-Fi Fan-Machinia-Cybersecurity officer Damon Maxwell wakes from cryogenic sleep expecting to be ten years into his future but instead finds himself in the root ruled empire of Machinia, 2156! Welcomed by Machinia’s omnipotent leader, the Universal, Damon learns that his extraordinary journey is part of a complex plan by the Universal to bait Machinia’s deadly enemy, the Underground, into action. But the Universal’s brilliant robot aide, Nepcar, fears his leader’s dangerous scheme and pairs Damon with the beautiful and mysterious Cynthia Lhan hoping their union can prevent a catastrophe. Yet, even as the Universal’s plans fall into place an enigmatic figure appears in Damon’s life that even the mighty Universal is powerless to control. Will Damon ultimately be the destroyer of the robot race or its saviour? Written by Paul A. Moscarella, cover art by Alex Goubar available here: Machinia – Pandamonium Publishing House

For the Impossible to Buy For-Courses and Book Box Subscriptions- Course: Crafting the Perfect Query Do you know what it takes to craft the perfect query? This mini-course will answer all of your questions! Course material includes: What makes a query stand out, How to properly craft a query depending on your genre, 2 samples of good queries, 2 samples of bad queries, 30-minute consultation with the publisher who will give you personalized feedback on your query. This course is in pdf downloadable format. It will be emailed to you after purchase. Stop wondering why you keep getting rejected and start crafting the perfect query! Book Box Subscription: 3 Month Subscription What a wonderful way to meet your reading goals or to give a gift that is unique and keeps on giving; each book box contains 2 books and will be shipped to you on the first of each month for three months! That’s 6 books for less than $10 per book and when you subscribe for 3 months, you save $5!  Choose from the following selection: (Be sure to put your preferred choice in the comments!) Mystery/Thriller/Crime, Romance, Historical Fiction, Non-Fiction/Business, Young Adult, Fiction (any kind), Surprise Me (we choose the genre and will mix it up). Course available here: Mini-Course Crafting the Perfect Query – Pandamonium Publishing House
Book Box Subscription here: Book Box! 3-month Membership (1 Book Box/month for 3 months) – Pandamonium Publishing House

For the One Needing some Holiday CheerActs of Kindness-No matter how small, no act of kindness is ever wasted. This book is a collaborative effort among many authors to spread happiness and inspirational stories about the strength of the human spirit, honesty, bravery, friendship, and kindness. Cover art by Alex Goubar, published by Pandamonium Publishing House and written by collaborative authors. Available here: Acts of Kindness – Pandamonium Publishing House

For the Fashionista-Pants, Zoe’s Princess Pants-Did you know that there are many different types of pants? There are cranky pants, silly pants, ants in your pants and so many more! This fabulous book will have kids asking, “What type of pants am I wearing today?” Pants available here: Pants! – Pandamonium Publishing House
Zoe’s Princess Pants available here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/zoes-princess-pants-collectors-edition-cover/

For the Adventure Lover-DJ the Terrible, The Clouds Above Lamasol Island-This hilarious middle-grade novel will make you stand up and cheer for DJ the Terrible and her equally terrible cat, Godfrey. Djeaneauth (D.J) decides to go undercover with her sidekick Godfrey the Super Cat to assimilate with her new neighbours, AKA “The Borings”, gain their trust, then turn the town on its head!  The only thing is…blending in simply isn’t DJ’s strong suit. With her inventive, mischievous mind, wild hair, and clumsy demeanour, Terrible trouble follows this Terrible girl wherever she goes! DJ the Terrible is available here:
https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/dj-djeaneautha-the-terrible/
The Clouds Above Lamasol Island: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/the-clouds-above-lamasol-island/

For the Philanthropist-Adopt a School- When you purchase this collection, we’ll send TEN of our children’s book titles to local inner-city schools. We believe that literacy should be a right, not a privilege and that every school library deserves new books that will excite young readers. Please partner with us in this crucial initiative as 12 million Canadians are currently illiterate. This collection is suitable for young readers ages 4-8 depending on the reading level and includes themes such as teamwork, kindness, differences in ability, unconditional love, adventure, and friendship! The children will also receive a handwritten note from one of the authors talking about the importance of books while inviting them to participate in a virtual classroom author visit! Available here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/adopt-a-school-literacy-matters/

Thank you for your continued support of small businesses and Canadian authors, illustrators, and artists. Happy Holidays!

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DJ the Terrible!

May 18, 2020– If you haven’t read DJ the Terrible by Samantha Nemeth, illustrated by Nikki Ernst, you don’t know what you’re missing! Meet the Terrible girl with the Terrible name and her Terrible Cat! DJ decides to go undercover with her sidekick Godfrey the Super Cat to assimilate with her new neighbours, AKA “The Borings,” gain their trust, then turn the town on its head! The only thing is…blending in simply isn’t DJ’s strong suit. With her inventive, mischievous mind, wild hair, and clumsy demeanour, Terrible trouble follows this Terrible girl wherever she goes! The perfect book for the middle-grade reader in your life!

Here’s an excerpt from chapter 1:

Djeaneautha closed her diary with a thump and let her chair scrape the floor as she pushed herself away from her desk. She bounded over to the mirror and judged her reflection. “If we’re going to gather Intel on the locals, we’ll have to integrate and blend in with them, Godfrey!” She said as she examined herself.  

Now, blending in is not something that came naturally to Djeaneautha, and there are a couple things you should know about her. Number one:  Everyone that she met said, “Djeaneautha? What a Terrible name and a Terrible girl.”  “I’m not Terrible, I’m just unique,” Djeaneautha would say, but no one ever heard.  Djeaneautha didn’t think her name was Terrible at all. It was created from herGrandmother’s names, Jeanneau and Dorothea. She was proud of her name and ignored all the teasing from the other children. They would scream and taunt her, “D-d-jeaneautha, D-d-jeaneautha, she’s Terrible it’s the Truth-ah!”  “It’s JEN-OOTH-AH! The D is silent!” Djeaneautha would correct them. But no one ever heard.  Number two: In most ways, Djeaneautha was like all the other girls her age. She liked going on adventures, art class, ballet and of course playing with dolls. But in some ways she was quite different; her feet were too big, her legs too short, her arms too long, her two eyebrows had grown into one…and her hair?  While the other girls had soft, smooth hair that their mothers could braid or pull into flowing ponytails, Djeaneautha had frizzy lion hair with a mind of its own. If Djeaneautha wanted it straight, it went curly, if she wanted it curly, it went flat. With every attempt at a ponytail, more and more hair would slip out of the tie and tickle her face. Every morning her mother would say, “What shall we do with the Terrible hair?” But no matter what they tried, every day, her Terrible hair sat smugly like a dust bunny on her head.
 
Djeaneautha, with her dust bunny hair and awkward limbs, spent most of her time with Godfrey, her best friend. The cat was rather round, his belly almost scraped the floor, and his grey fluffy fur grew in a tuft that decorated his head like a majestic crown. He had a sassy smirk, the mind of a genius, and was always ready for adventure. Djeaneautha’s favourite thing about him was that he refused to meow like all the other cats and would simply chirp like a bird. Godfrey also shared the love of Djeaneautha’s favourite snack: cheese.  Many days Djeaneautha would open up her bag at lunch to find that Godfrey had snuck into her backpack and hitched a ride to school. Much to her dismay, she’d also find that he had eaten all of her cheese!

and check out my interview with Samantha on our Pandamonium Publishing House channel on Podbean (available for download on Google Play and iTunes) https://www.podbean.com/eu/pb-xixvs-ba6201
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James Patterson Said it Best

May 6, 2020– Author James Patterson said it best, “There’s no such thing as a kid who hates reading. There are kids who love reading and kids who are reading the wrong books.” I agree wholeheartedly and believe that we can encourage our kids to read by doing the following things:

  1. Let them read whatever they’re going to read. Yes, this means comic books, graphic novels, magazines, newspapers, and anything else they can get their hands on. Reading is reading is reading, even if it doesn’t always come in the form of a book! Check out our collection of books for kids to see if there’s something that they might like: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/shop/
  2. Monkey see monkey do. Set an example and let your kids find you reading. It’s important to ignite a love of literacy within them by showing them your passion for books and the written word. Read together and find out what type of books your child enjoys most. Take turns reading chapters and talking about the plot, setting, and characters.
  3. Read the book, see the movie/play.  Yes, the book is always better, but the experience of reading the book and then seeing the movie or play opens up dialogue between you and your child; ask them what they liked most, what they liked least, what they would change, and if they thought the right actor was cast to play their favourite character-why or why not?
  4. Keep track and make it fun. Set up a reading challenge chart with stickers, markers, or whatever your creative mind can imagine to make reading fun. When children are challenged to reach a goal, they usually exceed it because it becomes a game! Seeing their progress can be the ticket to getting them excited about reading.

Literacy matters and studies around the world show us links between illiteracy, poverty, crime, substance abuse, and mortality rates. Reading is power, knowledge, and freedom. X LLB

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How to Get a Picture Book Deal…

February 1, 2019– Things come in waves around here and I think that it’s kind of funny; sometimes all I’ll receive is middle-grade manuscripts, then the next time I’ll receive sci-fi submissions, and lately everyone seems to be sending me their ideas for children’s books. Since I’ve had such an influx of kid’s book submissions, let’s talk about how to better your chances of getting a picture book deal with my house.

There have been a ton of incorrectly submitted kid’s book queries and manuscripts in their entirety sent to me as of late (we’ll talk about queries in another post) so I thought that I’d be very specific on what to submit.

  1. Time– Know that if you do get a deal signed with me, your book (any book) will take 2-5 years to hit the shelf. If this is too much time for you to wait then you have bigger problems and this industry will eat you alive. Patience is of the essence and great things take time. We are not in the business of rushing a book, throwing it on the shelf, and hoping for the best. Every single thing is calculated beforehand in terms of a marketing plan, securing the best illustrator for the project, editing the manuscript, obtaining dates for book signings, and cover design. If you’re not in this for the long haul and don’t have a ton of patience, you’re going to be in trouble.
  2. Word Count– Is your picture book between 250-800 words? My personal preference for this type of book is 600-800 words. I prefer this length because it gives us time to get the story across and create a compelling character without leaving any loose ends.
  3. Character– Is your story character driven? Is your character relatable? Does the character participate in a universal childhood experience? If your story is none of these or only one of these, it’s back to the drawing board for you. Don’t bother submitting because you aren’t ready and you don’t understand your market.
  4. POV- Which point of view is your story told from? There’s only one that matters and it’s the child’s point of view. Don’t make mom or dad the main character. Kids see the world from their perspective and not ours. This means that if they’re in a grocery store for example, they probably won’t be able to reach a box of cereal from the top shelf. Or maybe it’s a mass of people in the store and the child comes to eye level with everyone’s butts. You get the point (of view).
  5. Fresh-Is your story something new, fresh, and from a different angle? Let’s use the universal childhood experience again; picky eater books all read the same except for the very good ones. Dragons Love Tacos is a perfect example of a good one because it deals with foods that kids hate, but it puts a fresh and fun spin on it. Sure, making tacos for dragons may not be a universal childhood experience, but not liking certain foods is! Another awesome example of a fresh, different angle kid’s book is The Day the Crayons Quit. Talk about genius!
  6. Kids-And perhaps the most important question of all is, will your book appeal to kids? They are the target audience and if they don’t like it, you can believe that their parents won’t buy it for them. If you’re not writing with kids in mind, then you shouldn’t be writing for kids in the first place.

There you have it! Before sending in your work, know the rules above and I promise that you’ll better your chances of working with us. X LLB

LOVE THIS BOOK!
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Submissions Are OPEN!

March 24, 2018- Submissions are now open for Pandamonium Publishing House! If you want to submit your work, please follow the instructions below. If you do not follow the instructions, your work will not be reviewed or responded to.

I am now accepting submissions of fiction for all ages.

  • Please send a synopsis of your work (include the ending of the book) and please make it one page only. A synopsis is a brief summary of your book.
  • Please include the first five pages of your manuscript pasted into the BODY of your e-mail. I won’t open attachments unless they are from a trusted source.
  • Please allow 4-12 weeks for a response from me as this allows me the much needed time to accurately address your manuscript. I will send you a response either way via e-mail so remember to include your contact information!
  • Please don’t take anything personally. Sometimes I reject manuscripts for different reasons, maybe we’re at our maximum publishing quota for the year, maybe the story isn’t a great fit for our publishing house, perhaps there are too many errors within the manuscript. Whatever the reason, please don’t take it personally. Keep submitting and keep trying!

To send me a submission of your work following the guidelines above, e-mail me at pandapublishing8@gmail.com and include SUBMISSION in the subject line. I look forward to reading your submissions.

LLB

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Current Titles for Kids!

March 10, 2018- Here is a list of the current and upcoming titles from Pandamonium Publishing House for kids! Stay tuned for another page that will be directed towards adult reads.

Unfrogged, by Tamara Botting, illustrated by Christopher BottingHer parents are gone, she’s a klutz, and her cousin hates her. Plus there’s a weird frog! This is the story of Princess Meredith and her unforgettable adventure of courage, friendship and tea with three shakes of pepper and a pinch of hot sauce. This is definitely not a typical fairy tale!

 

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Unfrogged

 

Deer Diary, by Lacey L. Bakker, illustrated by Shamayal HayatHave you ever wondered what woodland animals do when there are no humans around? Follow Duncan, the deer as he writes in his diary about the crazy antics of all of his friends! Remember what happens in the woods, stays in the woods! 

 

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Deer Diary

 

Phillip Star, by Lacey L. Bakker, illustrated by Shamayal HayatWho better for a best friend than a giant purple elephant? You’ll have tons of fun with Phillip Star as you follow him on an adventure that you’ll never forget! 

 

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Phillip Star

 

Pants! (Coming 2018) by Tamara Botting, illustrated by Erin CutlerWhat kind of pants will you put on today? 

 

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Pants! 

 

The Old Farmer’s Treasure, Coming March 17, 2018, by Lacey L. Bakker, cover design by Shamayal HayatWhat would happen if you discovered that your family was hiding a secret? What if you found a clue that would change your life forever? What if riches beyond your wildest dreams were hidden right under your nose? 

 

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The Old Farmer’s Treasure

Panda the Very Bad Cat, by Lacey L. Bakker, illustrated by Jason BaghirThis hilarious children’s book is based on the antics of a real-life cat named Panda. Join Panda the Very Bad Cat as he gets into all kinds of mischief and causes chaos for his human. Panda the Very Bad Cat is fun, funny, and beautifully illustrated. Anyone who has ever been owned by a cat will want to own this book!

 

Front Cover
Panda the Very Bad Cat

Trouble with Trolls, The adventures of Milan and Friends (A Halloween Tail!) Coming Fall 2018, by Lacey L. Bakker, illustrated by Alex Goubar- Milan the golden retriever and his friends are all dressed up for a night of Halloween fun, but a mean troll won’t let them cross the bridge that leads to the best candy!

 

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Trouble with Trolls

 

 

 

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The Old Farmer’s Treasure

December 12, 2017- The Old Farmer’s Treasure is a middle-grade novel that will be coming out sometime in 2018-beginning of 2019. Here’s a tiny excerpt from the book:

“What do you mean there’s something in the box?”

“I mean he’s keeping a secret, I know what I saw.”

“If you’re right, our entire lives are about to be changed…forever.”

I can’t wait for you guys to get your hands on this book-it’s a page-turner that’s for sure!

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Coming in Spring 2018! Introducing Phillip Star

December 8, 2017- Hi Friends, I’m really excited to share a little piece of a book that our very own Shamayal Hayat is working on as we speak! It will be released in the spring of 2018, and the title of this children’s book is Phillip Star. Phillip Star is larger than life and I can’t wait for you to meet him! Stay tuned for more updates and new releases from Pandamonium Publishing House. We have some really exciting things in our lineup for the next 2 years not only for kids but for adults too. Remember to follow us on Facebook!

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A Couple of Things I learned in London!

November 30, 2017-Well, it took me long enough! After visiting the London Book Fair, the largest book fair in the world, in March of this year, I’ve finally decided to share a few of my notes. The presenters were phenomenal, and I learned so much. I’m happy to say that at Pandamonium Publishing House, we are constantly trying to implement these ideas in our works. Here’s just a taste of a seminar I attended titled, Children’s Picture Books, Today and Tomorrow which was presented by Christine Baker…she’s the person who introduced Harry Potter to France!

  • Visual and aesthetic changes based on what is coming out of Europe
  • Core is sharing a story between kids and adults
  • Globalization of illustrative talent
  • Smaller publishers=different esthetics, different graphic styles, RETRO styling and online media influence of graphic styles
  • The changes currently are in regards to children’s books polarization in how to sell to people in the market. Books about food (donut on the front or about a shopping trolley sell insane amounts of books in supermarkets)
  • There is a large spectrum of illustrations, and a slightly alternative style is forthcoming
  • DIVERSITY IS HUGE. Be willing to take risks and be experimental, this will open a lot of doors. It’s good to see things from other countries because that itself lends to diversity. The Gruffalo is a great example of this.
  • Rhyming books can be hard to translate, and books for kids don’t always need to rhyme, but rhyming is fun if you do it right!
  • Non-Fiction Narrative is up and coming in this market
  • Unusual measurements-BIG HUGE books are popular
  • Push the boundaries of art
  • The scale is almost furniture size for up and coming picture books. A couple of kids gathered around a huge book as they read it in front of the fireplace on the floor. ­­­
  • Digital content-This is not so important to have books in an app because there isn’t really a demand for it.
  • Non-fiction books can have illustrations rather than photographs. Eg. Great White Shark
  • Screens and tablets can never replace books
  • Physical touching of a book is best, kids with their parents turning the pages, sitting on laps
  • Apps are only good if what you’re doing is interactive. It must be intelligent because apps are difficult to sell.
  • Heavily illustrated early reader novels (5-8 years) are here to stay!
  • Kids always read up!
  • Cross over books are books between picture books and middle-grade novels
  • Tons of writing is told in the imagery
  • Be untraditional, non-traditional, odd, with a different style. Don’t look like everything else in the market! Stand out!
  • Define and describe new categories illustratively
  • Your book is a work of art, be unique and interesting.
  • It’s all about fantastic stories, adventure, characters kids care about that they want to share with their parents, intriguing covers make you want to know what the book is about.
  • The US is the biggest market for books right now, but the UK is the biggest market for picture books.

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