Another Nail In The Coffin

I keep hearing that the picture book genre is dead. The one exception is books for very young children. That used to be defined as kindergarten and below. Now it seems it’s even younger than that: two and three year olds. The pressure is on to get those tots into the Ivy League. They don’t have time to waste on picture books. Get them into “real books” as soon as possible.

Something disturbing happened to me last week in regard to that. On around the holiday season I had an idea for a picture book story. I wrote it out. When I felt it was ready, I sent it to my agent Jennifer. Jennifer liked it alot. She showed it to an editor friend of ours with whom she was having lunch. The editor liked it to. After reading it, she suggested a few changes to tighten it up and make it even more fun.

Her suggestions were excellent. We worked on the story together for the next month. It kept getting better and better with each revision. At last my editor thought it was ready to take to an acquisition meeting. This is where the editing and marketing staffs get together to discuss books being considered for publication. It’s between “These are the books we love” and “These are the books we can sell.”

My editor reported back to Jennifer that everyone loved the story. However, they thought it would be more marketable if it were in the format of an early reader chapter book.

Isn’t that a sign of the times? When people who know and love children’s books tell you there just isn’t a market for picture books anymore, you start wondering what sort of future lies ahead.

One thing I’m certain about. Picture books as we’ve always known them won’t be part of it.

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