Wednesday Bedtime Reading

It has been a terrible, horrible, no good very bad day!

Judith Viorst


Tomorrow will be better.

Kevin Henkes

You might want to avoid these subjects like the plague.

In addition to my novel in process, I have another kid book in the works.

In the following video, Darcy Pattison tells us 17 topics to avoid and WHY.  Let’s face it, some ideas have been done to death. Which makes me wonder if some of these topics might apply to adult fiction too. Hmm.

So, writer beware, proceed with caution.

17 topics to avoid unless you’ve found a new and unique twist.

  1. The first day of school
  2. Clean your room
  3. Tooth Fairy
  4. Halloween & Christmas
  5. I want a pet
  6. Dealing with a disability
  7. Hello, my name is…
  8. Grandma & Grandpa
  9. New baby
  10. Barnyard stories
  11. Bedtime stories
  12. Personal hygiene
  13. Monsters & acting un-monster like
  14. Going green
  15. I love you books
  16. I’m bored
  17. Baby bird learns to fly


What did you think? Do you agree?

Is there another topic you think has been overdone? Do tell.

Could some of these topics be overdone in adult fiction too?

Are you writing a book for kids or YA?

Did you learn anything new?


Twitter @jeancogdell, Facebook at jeanswriting   and

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



What do you know about KDP Select?

Next week I will release my long-awaited new children’s picture book.

A Reluctant Little Prince gray-ebook

But here is my dilemma. I’ve never participated in KDP Select and I wonder if it will be helpful.

Have any of y’all used the Select program with any success?

Is it complicated to use?

Was it effective in selling your book?

I’m filled with questions and wanted to hear from all of you before I enroll.

Here are the rules as I understand:

  1. Sign up is for 90 days.
  2. I can’t sell or give electronic versions during the Select period. One exception, professional reviewers. There are two promotions available.
  3. The digital format of that book available exclusively through KDP while it’s enrolled in the program. That includes my website!
  4. It will also be included in Kindle Unlimited (KU) and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL).
    • As a member, I read a lot of books through KU.

So what say y’all?

What do you think about this program?

Links to more information about KDP Select, so keep reading.

Does KDP Select Make Sense Anymore? By 

The Pros And Cons Of Exclusivity By

Is KDP Select Right for You? By Marcy Kennedy

PS: Check out my sale! offers

In honor of my new book release, I’ve put on sale for $.99, A Most Reluctant Princess and Tryouts for Ben. After the launch of A Reluctant Little Prince, the e-books will return to their original price.

I’d love to hear from you, let me know how you’re doing! Leave a comment or click the “write me” tab or look for me on Twitter @jeancogdell, Facebook at jean.cogdell and, stop by and say hey! The lights are on, and I’m waiting.

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

A Most Reluctant Princess by [Cogdell, Jean M.]             Tryouts for Ben by [Cogdell, Jean M]