There is no money in picture books for small children for a small, independent press. They are simply too expensive to produce; one can not compete. This is not so with novels, or even with beginners’ chapter books for slightly older readers. It is printing those big color pages that costs too much for small runs or print-on-demand.
I have one picture book, A MOUSE IS IN THE HOUSE, available through Arachis Press. It does not sell very well although I have almost no profit margin. Truly, I chose to put it out because the rhymes are also the lyrics of a song for the youngsters. Which I really should record someday, but that is another matter.
Anyway, I do not plan to bother with working up illustrations for another picture book. I do have usable texts for at least a couple books. I had more, at one time, but I chose to incorporate some of those into my book of children’s poems, AWFUL ALVIN AND OTHER PECULIAR POEMS (including the title piece). It is a better use of my time to write and put aside any projects requiring extensive illustration. I may be an artist of sorts but illustrating picture books is not really my forte---not that there is anything wrong with the pictures in MOUSE, you understand.
And I should face the fact that my rhyming texts tend to be sort of sophisticated. I consider that a good thing. Youngsters should be exposed to stuff that makes them think. I do not believe in ‘writing down’ for any age group. Or any group of readers, period.
I guess I should be more concerned whether the adults who read the books to children can handle the texts (including following the meter).
There is one good thing about the whole print-on-demand approach and that is that full color is no more expensive than the two or three color approach we might have used a few years ago to save on printing costs. That is no longer a consideration, as it is all done in one pass with ink jets, rather than several passes through presses, each adding another tone. But it is still way more pricey than putting out a book in black and white, which is what we shall probably stick to for at least the near future.
So, the next book after THE EYES OF THE WIND (coming July 15) will be another poetry collection, FIELDS OF SUMMER, almost certainly scheduled for release on October 1. We shall finalize that date shortly. Beyond that? Hard to say but there is a good chance of one more title before the end of the year. Ideally, in time for Holiday shopping!