by Rick Walton

Interior Book Design and Typesetting

Book Cover Design

Inside Scoop on Copyediting

Self-publishing Helpful Hints

11 Steps of Book Production

Setting Up Your Title on Bowkerlink

Brief Description of Self-Publishing

How to Maximize Book Expo America
by Jerry D. Simmons

How Can I Get an Agent?
by Rick Walton

Good Picture Books
by Rick Walton

Writing Tip for Children’s Books
by Eileen Spinelli

Tough Love: An Open Letter to Kids' Book Publishers
by Diantha McBride

Good picture books ...

  • Are about something the author is interested in.
  • Appeal to kids and adults.
  • Are unique, not cliché.
  • Have a plot.
  • Have a shape.
  • Are concise; don’t digress.
  • Have real characters.
  • Have limited description.
  • Show, don’t tell.
  • Don’t talk down to the child.
  • Aren’t dated.
  • Are unified in tone and style.
  • Don’t moralize.
  • Only use poetry if the story demands it.
  • Jump right into the story.
  •  Tie things up at the end.
  • Suggest plenty of pictures.
  • Keep moving.
  • Vary sentence and paragraph length; alternate narration with dialogue.
  • Use few modifiers.
  • Use all the senses.

These are rules of thumb. They can be and are often broken successfully. I break them all the time. But to break them successfully, you should know why they exist. And that will be the topic of future columns.

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Rick Walton is an award-winning children’s book writer with more than sixty published titles. He writes picture books, mysteries, poetry, activity books, articles and educational software. For more information about his work, visit

Posted with permission from Rick Walton.


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