ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Tales from a First-time Picture Book Author

A writer reflects on her experiences as the author of a children’s picture book, a genre that is often dismissed and misunderstood.

In 2018, I made my fiction debut with a nearly 500-word children’s picture book. Since then, I’ve had my fair share of bouquets and brickbats. I’ve been working in children’s publishing for over a decade, but my experiences as an author have been very different—both amusing and painful!

One remark from an uncle really got my goat. He said, “You wrote this book with a few hundred words, lots of pictures that you didn’t even draw, and you’re an author? Aren’t these books way easier to write than, let’s say, The God of Small Things? Yet, both you and Arundhati Roy are aut­hors?!” In a somewhat similar vein, a friend, who also works in publishing, “advised” me that if I wanted to be taken seriously as an author, I should write a paperback. “No one’s ­going to look twice at you as a picture book author from ­India. I mean, we don’t have a market that’s capable of producing and supporting a Julia Donaldson! Besides, a 28-page book with 500-odd-words is no gauge of literary merit.” Ouch!

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Updated On : 16th Sep, 2020


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