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It Takes Time

November 17, 2013

By Lola Schaefer

Everyone thinks that writing a children’s picture book is something that can be accomplished in one hour. Typically not. Oh, there are those rare “gift” books that come in one sweep and an author’s hands can’t type fast enough. After a few revisions, they are ready to go. But as far as I can tell, those happen maybe once or twice in a 20-30 year writing career. Usually, it takes an author 3-6 months to craft a picture book that is marketable. Why?  Because every single word must hold meaning. It’s more difficult to pack an emotional turning point into two sentences rather than two chapters. It’s more difficult to show character growth in three spreads, rather than three chapters. But it can be done. It just takes reading – lots of reading of other picture books, and lots of practice – writing each and every day. Combine those two with a never-give-up attitude and one day, sooner or later, a writer becomes a published author of picture books.

About Lola:


Lola M. Schaefer has published more than 260 picture books including Lifetime (Chronicle Books, 2013), Just One Bite (Chronicle Books,2010) which was a 2011 Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12, listed on the New York Times Children’s Books 2010: 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, and received the Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award 2011 for Beginning Nonfiction, and the series of six I Can Read books about Mittens the kitten for HarperCollins. Many of Lola’s titles are now available in Russian, Swedish, French, Korean, Japanese, and Spanish. She enjoys visiting schools as an author in residence, as well as a writing consultant to teachers.

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