February 05, 2019
Who I Think About When I Write … It’s Probably You: A List of Questions to Ask Yourself About Audience as You Write
I find it really challenging to write a picture book without imagining its audience. In whose hands will the finished book end up? What will make them pick it up? Will they find my story satisfying? To ...
December 17, 2018
"I Learned That Writing Could Be Hilarious" Naseem Hrab on the Books that Shaped Her Writing Life
Acclaimed picture book author (and beloved Open Book columnist!) Naseem Hrab knows a thing or two about friendship, and she captures that magic in her Ira Crumb series, the newest instalment of which ...
November 22, 2018
Calling All Aspiring Authors: Never Ask an Illustrator to Illustrate Your Picture Book for Free
A few weeks ago, I was in a local tavern with some friends—a few of them are professional illustrators. They were drinking overpriced mocktails and commiserating about the emails they get from aspiring ...
October 23, 2018
Bad Reviews and Broken Hearts: How to Deal with All the Feelings
First: Spend several years working on you—I mean, a manuscript. Revise each draft based on feedback from your therapist—I mean, editor. Get Tinder—I mean, get publishing deal. Agonize over each ...
October 01, 2018
Why Does It Take So Long to Make a Picture Book?: Or, How To Get Really Good at Waiting
I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t prepared for all the waiting I’d have to do in life. And when it comes to writing, you do a lot of waiting. Waiting for inspiration to strike. Realizing that ...
August 27, 2018
An Open Letter to the Stranger Who Asked Me, “How Did You Write That Book for Children If You Don't Have Children?”
Dear Stranger,I realize that writing a book is kind of a self-important undertaking. When I write, I sometimes imagine that there are people out there who might actually enjoy reading my words and letting ...
July 25, 2018
How to Make $3000 a Month Writing Children’s Books: A Case for Day Jobs
When I was a teen, I thought that every children’s author got to sit at home alone and undisturbed, joyfully tapping away at a computer all day and night. Before I went off to university, I learned ...
June 27, 2018
Why Do We Keep Picture Book Authors and Illustrators Apart? - or How to Play Well With Others
I completely underestimated how emotional the whole process of creating a picture book would be. When my first picture book was being published, I became a horrible self-involved troll-person. I couldn’t ...
June 14, 2018
Father's Day at Open Book: Six Unforgettable Fathers in Literature
Just as in real life, there are no two dads exactly alike in literature. From the terrifying to the brave, the disinterested to the inspiring, father characters have been some of the most interesting ...
May 29, 2018
What I Wish Every Aspiring Children’s Author Knew About Publishing
It seems like book publishing is a mysterious, captivating industry to many people. It barely gets represented in pop culture and when it does get featured (Elf and Fatal Attraction come to mind), ...