What Your Quiet Picture Book Needs

If you’ve ever tried to market a quiet picture book, you’ve probably heard the warning. “Quiet picture books just don’t sell.” And yet . . .

Babymoon by Hayley Barrett, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

Check out a stack of picture books from the library and you will almost always have at least one that is quiet. Last week, the quiet book in my stack was Babymoon by Hayley Barrett, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal.

For those of you who don’t know the term, a babymoon is the time period after a newborn is welcomed into the family. It is a time for mom and dad to spend quiet time with the newborn and get to know the new addition.

This book isn’t slapstick and funny. It isn’t character driven. There is no story problem to solve. It is in every way quiet.

But it is also easy to see why it sold. It has an obvious market. This book is an ideal gift for new parents and new moms.

And that is what your quiet book needs. A marketing hook. How will book sellers interest people in your quiet book? It doesn’t have to be an excellent baby shower book. It could be the ideal gift for blended families or families suffering a loss. Maybe it is a Christmas book or a book about self discovery.

The point is that your quiet book needs to have a specific audience. It has to have an easily identified market. People love quiet picture books and among these people are editors.

So what does it mean if an editor rejected your quiet book? It might not have an obvious audience or market. Or, it might have an audience that is served by an already popular quiet book like Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon. Write a quiet story for a market in need. Write a hopeful, heart-felt story, and you are much more likely to make a sale.

–SueBE