Just how far can you go?



Getting a book published can feel like a marathon hurdles race.

There are so many of the things to negotiate, and they are not formed in the nice neat regular row we see in the Olympics.

Often we receive picture book texts and illustrations that simply aren't appropriate for the intended age-group. Usually it's because the author or illustrator is thinking of a very specific readership - not the wider market. Sometimes they clearly haven't considered anything other than the story they're keen to tell. They forget that picture books are shared by teachers, parents, carers, childminders, grandparents, aunts and uncles who have to 'get it' too.

But even when we feel we have a story or illustrations which will capture a child's imagination, a book that will stand the test of being read multiple times, editors don't always share our confidence. We can hear the health and safety manual being pulled from the drawer, the intake of breath as the editor/marketing executive/sales person wonders whether such a book might require a 'Don't Do This at Home' sticker or a 'This Book May Unsettle Your Child' warning.

The Playing by the Book blog - always well worth following - tackles the issue of appropriateness in the most recent post here.

For all current writers and illustrators of picture books, and for those considering it as a career option - and after all this is the season of Degree Shows in our art colleges - it makes fascinating reading.

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