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Do wordless picture books sell well?

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Nita9

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Hi!  :)

Over a year ago, I sketched out a rough idea for a wordless picture book. You know - a story that is told completely with pictures and no text. I've never gotten around to actually making a dummy of it because I had doubts as to whether wordless picture books sell well. Can you tell me your opinions on this?

Thank you!

 :thanks

Nita

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#1 - January 12, 2008, 08:20 PM

jeanne k

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Well, I don't know that much about it, but I should think that David Wiesner's Flotsam sold/is selling extremely well. I also know that the book, No David!, which has so little text, also is extremely popular.

I guess that, like everything else, it depends on the book. I imagine it must be very, very challenging to create a book that has no text. At the same time, I'm sure there are parents out there who would hesitate to buy such a book because they didn't know what to do with it. In other words, it might be a difficult sell to a publisher. Although, with the success of Flotsam, this might be a really good time to pitch a wordless picture book.

Not much information, I know, but those are my thoughts.

Jeanne
#2 - January 12, 2008, 08:44 PM

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Hi Nita,

As Jeanne mentioned, Flotsam has done very well.  I truly believe if you have a quality product that it will sell.  And remember, you only have to sell it once;)

Good luck,
Bill
#3 - January 12, 2008, 10:33 PM

I draw stuff for chocolates.
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Mr Weisner's other wordless book also sold well. That one is called "Tuesday".

As with any book, there has to be a good story. A bad story with or without words is still going to fall flat.

If you have a really tight story that can be told only with pictures, then I say go for it. You never know till you try.

I'd take a trip to your local library and enlist the help of the librarian to locate other wordless picture books to see how their story is told by page flow and dynamic picture compisition.

Good luck.
#4 - January 13, 2008, 06:22 AM
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cdb

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I adore the Carl books by Alexandra Day. (don't know how well they sell, but I think they are fairly popular)


         Carole
#5 - January 13, 2008, 06:34 AM

Gregor

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David Weisner has been called the master of the wordless picture book, he's won more Caldecott's than you can throw a wordless stick at...so his books have a built in audience.  The Red Book by Barbara Lehman, a Caldecott Honor book, was also wordless. So I think if the book is strong enough, it may sell.  I think it will be a tougher sale, but you never know unless you try.  Best of luck!!
#6 - January 13, 2008, 09:49 AM
« Last Edit: January 13, 2008, 01:47 PM by Gregor »

From an early elementary educator's perspective, there is an instructional bonus to buying to a wordless pb.  They're fantastic for teaching young children to look for the story in the pictures, to make inferences and predictions, and to match pictures to words.  Whenever I see a good wordless pb, I grab it up.  There don't really seem to be many good ones out there right now, but Tuesday is one of my all-time faves.  Did David Weisner also write the wordless version of The Three Little Pigs?  I also love the Carl books.  Awesome!

I think there is a market for these type of books, if you can find the right kind of publisher.  When you pitch it, you might want to include the educational implications, too.  Good luck!


buglady
#7 - January 13, 2008, 10:14 AM

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And don't forget Wiesner's Sector 7!
#8 - January 13, 2008, 10:24 AM

Nita9

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Thank you, everyone! I have seen the wordless book 'The Red Book' and I like it, but in some places I thought the differences between pictures were too subtle. That's why I didn't get it for my four year old. But I'll check out some of the other titles you've mentioned.

Thank you!

 :)

Nita

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Books, stories, activites, crafts and princess stuff for girls
#9 - January 13, 2008, 11:07 AM

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The Arrival by Shaun Tan
#10 - January 13, 2008, 11:17 AM

heartsandflowers

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Picture books are good either way, with or without pictures. As a preschool teacher its great to ask the kids what they think the story can be. PB with little wording like Books by Sandra Boynton called "moo baa lala" is great. another one is red shirt, blue shirt oops" by the same person.

A couple of other books that need a little help with picture. "being Me" by Julie broski. This books picture help illustrate more of the words. It would be helpful to read. Another great one is " I could eat you up" By Jo harper, the book need illustration to help the wording, its fun.

I know that was not what you were asking, but here are a couple ideas that would  :bighelp you with the no word PB.
#11 - January 15, 2008, 03:22 PM

Nita9

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Thank you!

 :)

Nita

www.nineprincesses.com
Books, stories, activities, crafts, and princess stuff for girls
#12 - January 15, 2008, 08:59 PM

mrspilkington

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Just chiming in:  I LOVE both The Arrival and Sector 7, and Raymond Briggs' The Snowman.  Both Sector 7 and The Snowman are favourites of my 4 year-old.


I say go for it!   :thewave
#13 - January 20, 2008, 04:32 PM

Sarah Miller

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At the same time, I'm sure there are parents out there who would hesitate to buy such a book because they didn't know what to do with it.

That is absolutely true. A fair number of parents are very leery of having to tell the story themselves.

Teachers, on the other hand, regularly came into the shop asking for wordless picture books. They're also good for kids with delayed language skills, or non-English speakers.
#14 - January 20, 2008, 06:56 PM

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Mainly, though, it's just an incredible way to tell a story.  I don't think they need to be verbally interpreted for children.  Take The Arrival, for example.  It has such remarkable depth and subtlety to it.  It has characters, a story, plot development, resolution, everything is there, but it's totally visual.  No one has to open their mouth to tell anything, the story is beautifully crafter just as it is.  The same goes for the David Weisner books.  And the beauty is that with each "reading," more detail becomes evident.  Wordless books aren't just fore pre-readers any more, any age can pick up some of the more sophisticated examples and enjoy a very engaging story.
#15 - January 20, 2008, 07:47 PM

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I agree, 1846.  We were given Tuesday as a gift years ago, and when I would sit down to "read" it with my kids I struggled through it.  I didn't know what to say when I turned the pages.  But when Flotsam came out, I just handed it to my son in the bookstore and had him go through it on his own.  It truely doesn't need words or an explanation.  It is visual story.  When I look at worless picture books with my kids now, I may point something out, and say "Did you see this?" or "Wow, this is cool."  But I don't attempt to add a story to the visual experience anymore. 
#16 - January 21, 2008, 08:36 AM
You must be mad, said the Cheshire Cat, or you wouldn't have come here. -- Lewis Carroll

Gregor

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Nita9
Here's a link to an old interview with Davis Wiesner from the Bookpage website...

http://www.bookpage.com/9909bp/david_wiesner.html

It can give a little look into his creative process and maybe a push to try and finish your wordless story.
Again...Good luck!

Greg
#17 - January 21, 2008, 01:55 PM

Zuzus Petals

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One of my favorites, Mercer Mayer's, A boy, a Dog and a Frog is my all time favorite wordless book and the series that followed.
#18 - February 16, 2008, 07:08 AM

David Wiesner was a speaker at the SCBWI Conference in New York this past week and his books and vision blem everyone away! One of the things he brought up was how great wordless picture books were for reluctant readers, dyslexics and ESL students who were learning to read English -- his books were a great equalizer!

Go forth and draw!
#19 - February 17, 2008, 05:49 PM

SproutQ

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One of my favorites, Mercer Mayer's, A boy, a Dog and a Frog is my all time favorite wordless book and the series that followed.

Absolutely.  We love One Frog Too Many in our house.
#20 - February 17, 2008, 06:06 PM

Bobbi

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I am a special education teacher and I have to agree with the others.  The wordless picture books are great for children with expressive and receptive language delays.  I used the Carl books a lot in my Early Childhood Special Education Preschool class.  Sometimes, less is more.  I actually had a class write to Alexandra Day and we asked her questions about her Carl books.  She actually wrote us back!  It was great! 
I say go for it!
 :)
#21 - March 10, 2008, 07:37 PM

SproutQ

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My editor just sent my son Orange Pear Apple Bear, by Emily Gravett.  it is nearly wordless (uses only those four words plus one more) and just darling.  It's also a great example of how sparse a book can be and still tell a story, if you're still thinking about writing one yourself.
#22 - March 11, 2008, 10:11 AM

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Nearly wordless favorites in our house include Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann and Hug by Jez Alborough. 
#23 - March 11, 2008, 03:54 PM

SproutQ

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Yes, HUG!  I love HUG!  I can't believe I forgot it. 

There's also CLOWN, by Quentin Blake, which is more for older kids, but still have no words (so it's nice for older kids with difficulty reading because it doesn't seem like a baby book).
#24 - March 11, 2008, 04:47 PM

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