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DIY publishing: Doing it for the kids

How to create a DIY picture book by Chris Glithero

Have you ever read a picture book to your child/grandchild/niece/friend’s child and thought: ‘I could do better than that’?

I did, and last month I finally handed the world’s only physical copy (for now) of the resulting book to my goddaughter. In this article I’d like to show you how you too can create a children’s picture book from scratch, whether you want to create something for one particular lucky child, or you plan on trying your hand at self-publishing.

Types of picture book (clockwise from top left): Dear Zoo board book, Superworm story book, Giraffes Can’t Dance and Alphabet Ice Cream concept books

Starting out

As with any writing project, the first step is to have a well-formed idea about what you want your picture book to be about and what its purpose is. Some important questions to ask include:

• Where is the book set? At home? At a chocolate factory? At the zoo?

• Who is the book about? Paddington Bear, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Cat in the Hat – most bestselling children’s picture books have vivid central characters, and so too should yours.

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