What you need to know about writing a children’s book?

Wow! Two years have passed.

Yes, it was two years ago this April, I finished the final touches on my first pre-school picture book.

Writing and publishing a picture book was a big learning curve.

Took me a year to finish this tiny 32-page book. Whew!

Maybe you have an idea for a children’s book, but like so many, you’ve put off starting because a picture book is a bit different from writing an adult story.

Let me speed you along toward your goal.

I’ve put together a list of 8 things I learned the hard way about writing a picture book.

  1. Buy a good PDF program. Yes, some people use MS Word but, trust me, it’s not worth the headaches. I finally settled on  Nitro Pro 10 Page Plus. It’s cheaper than Adobe and easy to use.
  2. Writers write and editors edit. Use an editor that understands children’s books. Yes, even small 32-page picture books need an editor. I found a great one by just asking around. LinkedIn and Facebook Groups are great resources. I found a wonderful editor, Margaret Welwood.
  3. Unless you can really draw, I can’t, find a good illustrator. Ask around. See #2.
  4. Decide on the size of your book. Go to the bookstore and library, look at other books for similar to your book. Me, I went with 8.5 x 8.5. Not too big or not too small for little hands.
  5. Download a photo editing program, I used Paint.NET, to help size the illustrations. Adobe will work too.
  6. Purchase an ISBN. That will help your books get into libraries.Who doesn’t want that, right? You can use the same number for IngramSpark and Amazon publishing.
  7. Use the cover templates provided by IngramSpark and Amazon or whichever publisher you decide. Each template is different.
  8. Order proof copies before you finalize and publish. Hard lesson.

My tips don’t apply to an ebook. No, this post is about producing a print picture book.

Me Let's Discuss - Jeanswriting.comDo you want to write a picture book?

Have you written one already? Do share your tips.

Did I answer some of your questions?


Want more? Click and read…

A Story Board

Free Picture Book Thumbnail Templates for Writers and Illustrators

Picture Book Dummy, Picture Book Construction: Know Your Layout

Picture book layout templates




How to avoid the dreaded over 140 warnings

Yes, we all get the red warning from time to time. 


Within Tweetdeck or Twitter, I use bitly  to automatically shorten my links. But, there are several to choose from such as Ow.ly, or TinyURL.com, all you need to do is to search for one that will work for you.

Everyone knows how to shorten your own post within WordPress. Use the Get Shortlink button!


But how do you shorten a link that is not yours?

What do you do when you want to share a link plus add comments?

I use goo.gl URL Shortener which is an add-on to my toolbar. Here is a few of features for the Google shortener add-on.

► Features
  • Official goo.gl API support
  • Official goo.gl history/dashboard support with OAuth
  • Auto copy to clipboard
  • Keyboard shortcut
  • Context menu
  • QR Code
  • Highly customizable
  • Incognito mode
  • Share with your default mail client
  • Share with many different services 100zakladok, AOL Mail, Baidu, Bebo, Blip, Blogger, Bobrdobr, Delicious, Diaspora*, Digg, Diigo, Evernote, Facebook, Formspring, FriendFeed, Friendster, Gmail, Google Bookmarks, Google+, Hatena, Hyves, Hotmail, Identi.ca, Instapaper, iWiW, Lifestream, LinkedIn, LiveJournal, Mail, Mail.ru, meinVZ, Menéame, Mister Wong, Multiply, MySpace, Netlog, NUjij, OKNOtizie, Orkut, Oyyla, Ping.fm, Plaxo, Plurk, Pocket, Reddit, Segnalo, Sina Weibo, Sonico, Springpad, studiVZ, StumbleUpon, Technorati, Tuenti, Tumblr, Twitter, TwitThat, TwitThis, Viadeo, VKontakte, Wykop, XING, Yahoo! Bookmarks, Mail, Yammer

(Hate to admit this but I’ve never heard of some of these.)frog-sad

Don’t want an add-on? 

Well, Google may still be the site for you.

Just head over to the Google URL Shortener web page. Bookmark this page and use it to shorten the links. Super simple.


Have you ever failed to share because the link is too big?

Do you think using one of these will make it easier to share?

Do you already use a link shortener? Which one do you like best?

Talk to me in the comments section, I’d love to hear from you! You can also click the “write me” tab or contact me onTwitter @jeancogdell, Facebook at jean.cogdell and Amazon.com, stop by and say hey! The lights are on and I’m waiting.

Please remember to share this post with your Twitter  peeps andFacebook fans.

How to sell your book with a target audience

On this subject, I’m totally clueless.

There I said it. They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Well, I don’t know about you, but this is a problem for me.

I’ve never been good at the sell!


One thing I’ve learned through this process. Targeting an audience begins with the title of your book. This is something I didn’t realize until now.

I’ve now discovered the audience for my upcoming book is preschoolers. That means my target audience is their parents or grandparents. Right? Because preschoolers can’t order books on Amazon at least not without a little help.

So, what’s next? I can’t lurk in the parking lot at Tiny Tot’s Preschool as parents drop off their kids. That might get me a lot of publicity but not exactly the type I need.

Step 1- my target audience:

  • Moms, Dads, and Grandparents
  • Little girls with big imaginations
  • Ages 1-5

Step 2 – where they hang out:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Online publications
  • Local Libary

Now what?

Y’all have any suggestions?

Talk to me, the lights on and comments are now open.

Keep reading great links at the bottom of the page!

You can find me on Twitter @jeancogdell, Facebook at jean.cogdelland Amazon.com, stop by and say hey! Please remember to click and share this post with your Twitter peeps and Facebook fans.

Do You Waste Time Marketing Your Book To The Wrong Readers? by

5 Tips on How to Identify Your Target Audience  by

How To Target an Audience (And Avoid Book Launch Flop) by

Do you know how to Vlog?

Continuing on with the A-Z Challenge:


I’ve always prided myself on having an open mind. Always ready to learn something new. But for the love of all that is holy! I just don’t know if my brain can hold much more.

Our family used to have a running joke, don’t ask Mom – she doesn’t remember. To which I would respond, “I remember the important stuff. Unimportant stuff, I delete from my mind to make room for new stuff. A person only has so much gray matter.”

Okay, enough ranting. Deep breath and back to the subject at hand.

Vlogging? What the hell is Vlogging?

I’m still struggling with Instagram and Facebook.

And don’t get me started on learning about formatting a book for IngramSpark and CreateSpace. Geeze, bleed area. Picky, picky. Understanding the terms and applying them are two different things.

Now a writer should know how to produce an infomercial about writing or what people are saying about writing or about books or….

A Vlog is, a short, entertaining commercial, that doesn’t look like a commercial. Click to tweet.

It’s all about subtle product placement.

What do you do on a Vlog for 1 to 3 minutes? Anything you want.

Talk, dance, read, go about your day, or write as if no one was watching. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you don’t bore people to death.

In this instant, YouTube generation, they will click on to the next video before you can shout, “Wait.”

Yes, this year, I made room in my ever shrinking brain for something new called a Vlog.

Here’s what I learned.

  1. Vlogs are located on Youtube.
  2. Make your Vlog easy to find. Link it to your blog.
  3. A Vlog should last 1 – 3 minutes.
  4. You and your books are the product in a Vlog.
  5. A Vlog, above all else, must be entertaining.
  6. It is another media to introduce you to your readers.
  7. Like a blog, you must update your Vlogs and post consistently.
  8. Make it fun. If you don’t enjoy watching your video, no one else will. 
  9. Last but not least, I learned I’m not ready for Vlogging.

Have you jumped onto the Vlogging social media train?

Do you think Vlogging is a good platform for writers?

Talk to me, the lights on and comments are now open.

You can find me on Twitter @jeancogdell, Facebook at jean.cogdelland Amazon.com, stop by and say hey! Please remember to click and share this post with your Twitter peeps and Facebook fans.

Great information dead ahead!

Vlogging Anyone? By Jennifer Wilkov

Vlogging For Writers By LEENA NORMINGTON

What’s a Book Vlogger? By Shari Stauch

Why Authors Should Be YouTubers – Vlogging Advice From Lindsay Mead