I wrote a book in one sitting last night.
No, I’m not any kind of superhero and I’m certainly not a speed writer (or speed reader for that matter.) But I did it.
But here’s the secret: The “book” in question was less than one thousand words long. In fact, at 950 word it’s still possibly a little too long.
You see, I stayed up last night writing a children’s picture book.
I’ve written and published in multiple genres, but this one was new to me. It’s a style unlike anything I’ve tried before, and I really have no way of judging whether or not it’s any good.
So why would I write such a thing?
This story was actually something I came up with telling the kids their bedtime stories. We try to read to them as much as possible, which isn’t always an easy thing to do when you’ve got three or four young kids, but we manage.
Over the last five years, I’ve read a ton of children’s books. And one of the best ways to learn something new is through experience. And even though they like it when we read to them, they still want us to tell them our own stories too. So one night after I finished making up a story for them I said, “Wow, that was pretty good. I should write it down.” And so I did.
Last night I wrote the first draft of it and, if I do say so myself, it seems to have turned out fairly well. I know it needs some work before I can officially do anything with it, but it is a first draft.
But “doing anything with it” is in a lot of ways more difficult than the actual writing of the story.
I know nothing–zero–about getting a traditional publishing deal with a children’s picture book.
Okay, that’s not entirely true. I know that, unless you’re a terrific artist with some street cred, you don’t need (or maybe even want) to provide illustrations. The publisher does that.
I also know that the word count should be around 500-800 words, at least that seems accurate from what I’ve read.
What I don’t know much about how to properly format it and how to query it. I’ll look both of those things up, but for now the formatting in particular is a mystery to me. What I have written right now is structured more like a short story. I wonder if when submitting you’re supposed to break it down into pages. And do you describe what type of illustration should go with it? Or do you just leave it in the short story formatted as is and let your agent guide you.
And speaking of agents, I have no idea where to begin trying to find one who takes these types of books.
So anyhow, I’ve proven that there is a lot I don’t know about something. But I’ll learn.
And I’ll share it here, along with any progress I make cleaning up and querying this thing.
By the way, the working title is “The Little Man and the Juggler.” It’s a fairy tale of sorts. Wish me luck with it 🙂
Until then, keep writing! And if you’re trying anything outside of your regular genres, leave a comment and let us know how it’s going!