You’ve got a great idea for a picture book.

You sit down and write it out.

You give it to your children to read. They love it.

You give it to your mother. She corrects a grammar mistake but otherwise dubs it “perfect.”

You give it to your neighbor. She thinks it’s wonderful and offers to illustrate it for you.

You buy a copy of The Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market.

You print out a copy of your story, attach your neighbor’s illustrations to each page and mail it out to every publisher in CWIM.

Congratulations!

You’ve just made every beginner mistake in the book.

Just because picture books are short—and for kids—doesn’t mean writing one is easy. Like any profession, children’s writing requires time educating yourself on the craft, refining your skills, and researching the market.

Stay tuned for tips on what to do with that idea. In the meantime, keep writing!