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Christmas Picture books?? A good idea for a first book.

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Hi Everyone!
I was wondering what your thoughts were on having a christmas themed book as a 'first' Author/Illustrated book.
I have an christmas idea for a picture book but as christmas is such a specific market would it not be as likely to be picked up by publishers as its only really sold at certain times of the year and therefore won't make as much money? I don't know if christmas picture books sell a lot less that other picture books because its seasonal?
Or is it an asset, as a lot of picture books are sold at christmas?
I'd love to know your thoughts, if you think I should go for it? or would be better from a career/money standpoint to find a different idea for a first picture book and maybe use the christmas story when i'm more established.

Thank you so much for reading this,
Neil
#1 - March 31, 2016, 09:16 AM

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Hi Neil,

Welcome!

You're right on both accounts: Christmas PBs do sell well at Christmastime and there's a smaller window for them at other times. On the other hand, they tend to stay around longer (backlist), because Christmas comes each year.

As to starting off with a Christmas-themed PB, if you have a really unique spin/take on Christmas, it won't matter if it's your first book or your fifth. If it's new and captivating, it's as likely to get picked up as any other PB, in my opinion.

That said, if you're still learning the craft of writing (and illustrating?) PBs, you might find it easier to market a non-holiday book.

Clear as mud? :)
#2 - March 31, 2016, 11:23 AM
PRUDENCE, THE PART-TIME COW, A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK, BUSY BUS series, EMERGENCY KITTENS, and more!
Twitter @jodywrites4kids

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 :yup What Jody said. Zactly.
#3 - March 31, 2016, 11:41 AM

Do you think the publishers feel it's more of a risk if the first PB is a christmas one?
#4 - March 31, 2016, 11:48 AM

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A first PB means you don't have a track record of sales. That can be good or bad (If you'd published before but had bad sales, that might give publishers pause. If you hadn't published at all yet, they wouldn't be able to evaluate you one way or the other; they could only evaluate your project).

Given all that, as to the risk of one's first PB being a Christmas title, if it's a killer story, I don't think they'd think it was too risky. It all comes down to the concept and the telling. After all, if it's too risky, whether it's someone's first or fifth PB, whether it's a Christmas title or not, a publisher won't bite.
#5 - March 31, 2016, 12:37 PM
PRUDENCE, THE PART-TIME COW, A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK, BUSY BUS series, EMERGENCY KITTENS, and more!
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Do you think the publishers feel it's more of a risk if the first PB is a christmas one?

My first hardcover book was considered a holiday book (Halloween-ish) and I would say no.  Holiday books sell well.

Either way, you don't want to be a one-trick pony.  Write the Christmas book and submit it; and get to work on other books.
#6 - March 31, 2016, 12:46 PM
VAMPIRINA BALLERINA series (Disney-Hyperion)
SUNNY'S TOW TRUCK SAVES THE DAY (Abrams)
GROUNDHUG DAY (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)
among others

Thank you so much for these replies. I really want to put my heart and soul into developing it for a long time, I just don't want to have lost before I've started if you know what I mean.
#7 - March 31, 2016, 01:12 PM

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Neil, the worst thing that happens is you write it and it doesn't sell. If so, you write another book and then another until one does sell, and sell well. Then you look back and try to market the older manuscripts again. Just because now isn't the right time, doesn't mean there won't be a right time.

I think Christmas books are a hard sell because the competition is so tried and true. You'll be competing with The Polar Express and Jan Brett, but other books compete with them. The more unique yours is the better. I read about a ninja Santa last year. Write it and see what happens.
#8 - April 03, 2016, 09:05 PM
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