I feel like there comes a point in a lot of picture book author’s writing journeys where they’ve been writing picture books for a while, they understand picture book structure really well, they’re using picture book language, and they understand art notes – but they’re still having a hard time finding representation.
And usually, I think that comes down to some of those other factors for a successful picture book (re-readability, etc), but a lot of times it can boil down to concept. So if you’re finding that you’re getting a lot of compliments on structure, voice and language, but still getting a lot of general “not for me” rejections, consider the following questions:
- How would your picture books stand out from the thousands that are already on the shelves?
- Are you bringing something new and fresh?
- Do you follow your concept through to the biggest, best, most surprising and/or most poignant conclusion?
- Can you push the concept farther? How?
- Is there enough in your concept for a child to relate to?
- Is there another way to twist the expected into something unexpected?
I hope this helps – regardless of where you are in your writing journey!