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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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Debbie Ridpath Ohi FAQ > Getting Into The Business > I just finished my picture book manuscript. What should I do now?

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This is a list of questions I am frequently asked. Here's a list of links to my more popular pages. Thanks for visiting! -- Debbie


Q. I just finished my first picture book manuscript. What should I do now?

My advice? DON'T send it out yet. 

Unless you're already very familiar with picture books and the picture book market, chances are good that your first manuscript is not nearly as strong or marketable as you may think. 

I advise you to put your first picture book manuscript on the back burner for now and write more. Go to the library or bookstore and read as many picture books as you can. Don't just skim -- read them SLOWLY.

The first time through, just read for enjoyment. Then go back and reread. Read each story out loud (um, you may want to do this at home rather than at the store/library). Look at how the illustrations and the text enhance each other. Study the rhythm, the page turns, the characters and emotions, how you feel at the end.

Remember: writing a picture book is easy. Writing a GOOD picture book that is strong enough to stand out in the marketplace is very, very hard.

If you send out your first attempt without doing whatever you can to make it as strong as possible, then not only are you going to get rejected, but you're also going to give the editor or agent the impression that you think writing picture books is easy.


Related FAQ entries and posts:

It's easy to write a picture book. It's much harder to write a picture book that will sell.

Ok, my story's finished. How do I get it in front of an editor?


Other useful info:

Picture Book Manuscripts and Illustrations - by Harold Underdown on The Purple Crayon

Last updated on November 28, 2016 by Debbie Ohi