Writing a Series: Picture Books

By Gloria G. Adams

If you have ever thought of writing a picture book series, here are some thoughts on building one.

1.       Have a theme that will tie them all together. 

2.       Have a purpose. If teaching something through non-fiction, is there enough material for multiple books? Do you offer kid-friendly activities in the back matter? If it’s fiction, what is the reason you think kids will benefit from getting to know your characters? 

3.       Setting: Is this a place to which kids will want to return in every book? 

4.       If it’s fiction, is your character the right age for your story and target audience? Do you have enough (very short) stories to make a whole series? Does your character learn things over the course of each book to which your readers can relate? 

5.       Will you self-publish or pitch to traditional publishers? There are pros and cons to both. Learn all you can about them before you decide. 

6.       Research the market; is there a similar series out there that’s been recently-published?* 

7.       Whatever you decide, make sure you read as much as you can so that you know your market and your competition.

The two picture book series I wrote this year are Boost My Reading Skills and Backyard Biomes.
Boost My Reading Skills is a color concept series with back matter that teaches how to use these books to help kids boost their pre-reading skills. It also includes a page of resources for parents about reading.

Backyard Biomes is about…biomes! It includes colorful pictures of plants, animals and geology for Forests, Oceans, and Deserts. Back matter includes information on the specific biome and a page with directions for children on how they can make a book about their own backyard ecology.

Both series are in rhyme and were vetted by a reading teacher. They are targeted at grades K and 1 but will also work well as library story hour books for 3 and 4-year-olds. They are published through Slanted Ink, www.slantedink.com, and are for sale on Amazon.

*I researched Backyard Biomes two years ago but failed to double check again; after my books were published, I discovered that a series with the same title had been published in 2017. Make sure to keep checking the market, especially if you are not publishing traditionally.