Why Write Picture Books?
One very good reason not to write a picture book: you’re hoping to retire on the royalties.
Let’s talk actual figures. The standard royalty paid to a picture book author in Australia is 5% of the full priced book. (The illustrator also gets 5%.) Hardback picture books sell for around $25.00, so that’s $1.25 per book. An average first print run for a title written by an unknown author is around 3000 (sometimes 2000). Assuming no books are remaindered/discounted /lost/returned/pulped you could make a maximum of $3, 750. That’s probably not going to pay for the Winnebago.
One very good reason to write a picture book: you love picture books and have a wonderful story idea.
The best books start with love. If you love the genre and love your idea then you’re probably going to write something with heart and meaning. If you’re already familiar with a range of contemporary picture books then most likely you have a genuine sense of their complexities and a natural feel for a few of the things that make them work. Write a picture book because you feel like you need to, you have to, you want to. Write a picture book because a story is speaking to you. Write a picture book because there’s nothing else you’d rather write more.
Tell us below why you love to write for children! We’d love to hear your motivations.
Katrina Germein is an Australian best-selling picture book author. Her first book, Big Rain Coming, has remained continuously in print for over ten years. Katrina’s most recent title, My Dad Thinks He’s Funny, sold out within a month of its release! Katrina will be running a workshop called Picture Book Possibilities this Sunday at the Centre.