Speaker – Janet Lawler

JanetLawler head shot

Writing Picture Books that Sing and Zing

With the markets for picture books shrinking and word counts falling into the low hundreds, writers who want to craft a successful picture book text must truly understand that 1) every word matters, and 2) art helps tell their stories. Whether you intend to self-publish or submit to trade publishers, you can increase the likelihood of success with your picture book if you continually refine your skill as a wordsmith while embracing and leaving room for illustrator contribution. Keeping these two maxims in mind at all stages through publication will help authors tell, refine, and sell stories that sing and zing.

Specific examples from other authors’ published books will highlight ways that established authors write text to allow illustrations to add to story. Examples of text revisions of some of Janet’s published work will model how authors can revise and improve picture book manuscripts.

Janet will also present information from several editors on the interface of author and illustrator. She will have participants engage in a brief revision exercise to highlight key presentation points.


 Janet’s books have been published by major, specialty, and mid-publishers. Two have been Children’s Book of the Month Club main selections, and two have been licensed into the Scholastic Book Clubs. If Kisses Were Colors has been published in three editions and translated into Spanish, Japanese, Hebrew, and Korean. Five of her books have sold into B&N for retail stores nationwide. Her most recent credits include Ocean Counting (National Geographic, 2013 (NSTA 2014 Outstanding Science Trade Book )), Love Is Real (HarperCollins, 2014), and Rain Forest Colors (National Geographic, 2014).


oceancountingcoverJanet Lawler


CAPA-U Writers, Publishers, Marketers Conference