Nancy's Books

Sunday, March 8, 2020


Writing tips, continued:

 A picture book story may be simple with a short timeline, such as bedtime, or longer and more complex. Consider the age of the audience. Concept books about colors or numbers intended for the preschoolers are often more simplistic and shorter than books written for those in the K-2 group.

            Text should be child-focused, with the perspective from the child’s point of view. Characters can be people or non-human, but the story should resonate with the child. A child under the age of two probably would not be interested in a school-based setting, because that is not part of their world.

            Keep the text short. A 2,000- word picture book will not get published in today’s market. Most are 500 words or less. This is where thinking visually comes into play. Leave out descriptions that can be shown in illustrations. In fact, if your book is published, you might be surprised at how the illustrations reflect your words but tell the story beyond the text. Picture books are 32 pages, but only about 27 or 28 pages are illustration and text. Title page and end notes take up a few pages.

            Picture books are a series of page spreads. Ten to fourteen double-page spreads complete the book, so there is no room for a ton of text. Make sure every word counts.

            In my next blog, I’ll continue with tips for writing picture books.

Call for Submissions for Young Writers:

Skipping Stones is a multicultural literary magazine that publishes work by writers of all ages.

Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:

FUN FOR KIDZ We are looking for lively writing that involves an activity that is both wholesome and unusual. The Ideal length of a FUN FOR KIDZ nonfiction piece is up to 300-325 words for a one-page magazine article or up to 600-650 words for a two-page magazine article. Articles that are accompanied by strong high-resolution photos are far more likely to be accepted than those requiring illustration.

Submission guidelines:

Nancy Kelly Allen has written 40+ children’s books and a cookbook, SPIRIT OF KENTUCKY: BOURBON COOKBOOK. Check out her blog at

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