The current publishing industry perception is that 500 words is the ideal length for a picture book. As a new writer, I have received this advice repeatedly. The reason behind the word count? Publishers believe that today’s busy parents want short titles to put their children to sleep quickly.
But there are publishers who prefer longer picture books, especially when a popular author is behind the title. Patricia Polacco comes to mind. Trinka Hakes Noble’s The Orange Shoes was my favorite picture book of 2007 and it easily breaks the 500-word barrier. And Flashlight Press wants manuscripts to be as close as possible to 1000 words. So it’s not the entire industry going wild for short.
Since I’m participating in the 21-day comment challenge with nearly 100 kidlit bloggers, I thought I’d ask you. Is length a factor when deciding upon a picture book purchase?
In our house, the story’s the thing. Short or long, as long as the kids love it and ask for it repeatedly, I’ll buy it.