Top products from r/PubTips

We found 12 product mentions on r/PubTips. We ranked the 11 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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Top comments that mention products on r/PubTips:

u/justgoodenough · 2 pointsr/PubTips

Telling people on the internet what to do is what I live for!

First of all, you should go to a bookstore (not a library) and read a bunch of picture books they have on display (and then buy a book so you're not just using them for research!). You want to look at books that were recently published and are selling well (which is why the library isn't a good place for this exercise).

The most common thing I encounter when people decide to write picture books is they have no idea what the current market looks like. If the only picture books you can think of are Where The Wild Things Are and The Very Hungry Caterpillar you need to do some homework.

Fiction picture books are short these days. You're aiming for under 500 words.

The key to the low word count is minimal overlap of illustrations and text. There's a great Ted Talk by Chip Kidd and he talks about how you can show a picture of an apple or the word apple, but you never show the picture and the word together (because it's redundant). SAME THING!

So if you look at a modern picture book, they have almost no visual descriptions. They don't describe the character, facial expression, landscapes, anything. They don't describe body language and the description of action is minimal. You would never need to say, "Bobby put on his red shoes" because it will be shown in the illustrations.

Other stuff:

  • Your main character should be a child or child-like. There are some picture books with child-like adult characters, but they're very rare and you probably won't sell a debut with an adult character. Even if you do animal characters, it's a tough sell if they're adult-like.

  • Your main character should deal with problems children KNOW they have. You want children to connect with the story, they need to understand the problem and relate to it.

  • Don't go into it with the intention of teaching a lesson or creating a book parents can use to teach lessons. Those books are BORING and picture books are to entertain children. Yes, they typically have a nice message, but that's incidental. Your books needs to be fun or sweet or touching, not didactic.

  • As the author, you only have ownership over the text. As I said above, the majority of storytelling is actually done through the illustrations so you have to let go at a certain point. There's a lot of talk about "leaving room for the illustrator" which means that you don't try to control both the text and the art. If you envision a scene playing out one way visually, but it's not essential for the story to make sense, then you don't get to decide that. A lot of authors end up with books that are completely different from what they originally imagined and the book is better for it! One great exercise is to take a PB and type out the text and look at exactly what parts of the story are told through text and what parts are told through illustrations.

  • Your character should solve their own problem! You cannot have parents or coincidence save your character. Your character needs agency! They need to make decisions because watching a character make decisions empowers children to make their own decisions.

  • An extremely common PF format: Character has a problem. They try to solve the problem the "wrong way" three times and they fail each time. Something happens to give them an epiphany. They solve their problem the "right way" and everyone is happy. This is the standard for a reason. The rule of three is a really important part of the PB story arc and often a book that has space for the rule of three but doesn't use it, will feel lacking (that being said, not every book has it or needs it! It's just a tool to have in your back pocket).

  • Do not try to write a rhyming picture book.

  • Finally, my personal theory on picture book themes: You want the theme of your story to affirm a truth children already know about themselves or the world. Your goal isn't to teach children something new, but to empower them and affirm the feelings they have, but aren't able to put into words.


    If you read one book on picture book writing, make it this one.

    Kidlit 411- A collection of blog posts and articles on children's books.

u/jacobsw · 3 pointsr/PubTips

> 1: What works did you have in hand before seeking an agent? (E.g., one finished novel and a couple short stories.)

I've had two book agents.

The first one specialized in humor and non-fiction books for grownups. For him, my co-author and I had the completed manuscript for our first book. By that point, I had already worked on a TV show for a few years and been a freelance contributor to The Onion, and those two things were probably as important to him as the manuscript itself. In the non-fiction world, platform is a big deal. (And that was pre-social-media days, so Twitter or whatever weren't considerations when it came to platform.)

Then my humor agent decided to go to law school and stop being an agent, at around the same time I decided I wanted to switch to children's books. With his blessing, I looked around for other agents.

I sent my current agent a few picture books, which she liked, but not enough to take me on. Then I finished my MG novel, and got a revise and resubmit from her. I revised and resubmitted, and she took me on.

OK, I've gotta go get snacks for my kids. I will answer the rest of your questions when I get the chance but rather than make you wait, I'll post this one now, and then post the rest as I get parenting breaks throughout the evening.

u/ZenMasterMike · 3 pointsr/PubTips

I like the concept but the title is too vague in my humble opinion. For instance, the SEO may be hard to take advantage of due to the other book Gamer and movie Gamer. A tag-on like "the psychology of video game addiction" would help it stand out a little more, but a completely original title would work even better.

u/BetweenTheBorders · 1 pointr/PubTips

It's been fun. Spent too much time this week trying to fix my oven, but otherwise . . .

Book's set and out, print and Kindle, managed to get all the Amazon-related problems fixed, and am running a small ad campaign on Facebook and a giveaway on Amazon. Also offered some free copies to people in the field if they're so inclined.

As you asked me to let you know, here's the link to the book, the sweepstakes, and the website respectively.

I'm beginning to think books stop being work about six minutes after the author's heart stops. ;)

u/firewoodspark · 2 pointsr/PubTips

Oh, by the way: I started reading The Collapsing Empire yesterday from one of my favorite current scifi authors (John Scalzi) and he has an action-packed and fun prologue.

My opinion (not based on facts) is that if you're an established author, it's easier to have a prologue (or anything, really). You already have an agent and a fan base.

u/OlanValesco · 1 pointr/PubTips

So The Many Lives of Steven Leeds copy (Amazon link) only makes reference to the first novella. I wonder if its worth taking a cue from?

u/dangernoodle_9001 · 3 pointsr/PubTips

This is not a critique, just a comment:

There is already a best selling (as in USA/NYT) novel by this title in the SFF space. It came out in 2017.

There is nothing preventing you from using the same title, but you risk looking uninformed and unaware of major market happenings/trends:

PS: Agree this is not a very strong query. Have you read all of QueryShark?

u/Nimoon21 · 1 pointr/PubTips

Also, this came to me a bit ago. Have you read or seen this book? Check it out. Sounds similar.

u/Voice-of-Aeona · 2 pointsr/PubTips

> Like I can't think of a single reason.

Because Anthro/Xenofiction is a genre of literary worth no matter the age!

Because many of us and grew up with books like Maus by Art Spiegelman and Richard Adams' work such as The Plague Dogs and Watership Down. (As an educator I am surprised and saddened you are not familiar with these works.)

Because Mort(e) by Robert Repino is big enough to be reviewed by Slate and The Boston Globe and is popular enough to have garnered two published sequels: D’Arc and Culdesac.

And then there's the size of the furry community who is chock full of adults who will chuck money at this sort of tale. Thousands write this sort of tale. They make awards for this sort of tale including The Cóyotl Awards and The Ursa Major Award.

Furry/Anthro/Xenofiction is a viable and potentially lucrative field even in adult fiction. I am saddened to see an educator has fallen prey to the stereotype that “talking animals are for kids” when pieces such as Aesop’s Fables and Brier Rabbit and the Tales of Reynard discuss morality, evil, racial conflict, and other essential adult themes… Themes that if explored with fully human charcters we’d shy away from (see: why Art Spiegelman made Maus an anthropomorphic piece).




> Unless it is teenage boys through adult men who read sci-fi fantasy

As a woman I find this quite sexist. I have lady parts and I love some dang good talking animal tales! Why, I even got my "furry" fiction published in Writers of the Future...

u/Cdresden · 2 pointsr/PubTips

I would suggest you get someone else to write your blurb, someone who has read the manuscript. You can trade blurb writes with a fellow SF writer. Ideally, you can find a writer within your sci-fi subgenre with whom you can swap beta reads & blurbs.

FWIW, I've found Mary Buckham's guide on Writing Active Hooks to be invaluable. I had been writing for years and years before I finally stumbled upon the concept of hooks and how to manipulate them.

A reader's mind needs to catch on your hook; you need to apprehend their attention.

One way to use a hook is to set a time/space limit, like they had to make it across town and into the forest before curfew. It's like lighting a fuse. Now there's narrative tension burning in the back of your reader's mind for the rest of the scene.

Also, readers only care about people they've been introduced to. The Talerians lost more than a million lives in the war against the Tarelians. Ah, that's a shame.

People still think the forever war is going to last forever, but the Arek know this isn't true. What people? All people, some people? Hawaiians? Netflix subscribers? Anyone we could care about? What about the Arek, do they all know it isn't true, or just specific Arek? I think you want to personalize it and make it immediate and real. The Talerian refugees still think the forever war is going to last forever, but the cluster of blasters pointed in Ben's face made him realize that wasn't true.