How to Write Your First Picture Book in Five Steps

Step 1: Read

Read a number of picture books published within the last five years to get a sense of the market and the language of contemporary picture books. For suggestions, check out the list of ALA Notable Children’s Books and books from debut picture book groups, like the Picture Book Scribblers.

Step 2: Brainstorm

Think about the feelings and questions you had as a child and what you loved most about your favorite books. To kickstart your brainstorming, try joining Tara Lazar’s Storystorm for a month of brainstorming prompts!

Step 3: Develop

Pick your most interesting idea from your brainstorming session and develop your concept.

Ask yourself:

  • What will today’s child reader love about this idea?
  • How can I twist or push this idea further?
  • Has this been done before, and how is my idea different?

Step 4: Draft

Write your first draft.

For more on this blog about writing picture books, check out:

Step 5: Revise

Find a critique group and work with other writers to polish your story. If you’re looking for a critique group, you can join SCBWI and/or look for their regional and national conferences, get involved with the Highlights Foundation to meet other writers and/or put the word out on social media that you’re looking for a critique group.

Repeat step 5 until your story shines!

Chicken Wants a Nap by Tracy Marchini

"A surprising gem." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Chicken Wants a Nap is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and your favorite independent bookstore!

Preorders now available for Princesses Can Fix It! on Amazon, Barnes & NobleIndiebound, or you can add the book to your Goodreads. (Link to Bookshop.org coming soon!)

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