When my kids were toddlers and I was reading to them, I didn’t select wordy, lengthy picture books that took too long to read. My children lost interest when a book was too long. But for $17.99, I did expect some words, quite a few in fact. And…I expected a story .
As a writer, I know editors are looking for sparse, but as a parent and a consumer, I did and still do expect some words for my money. I love that the $17.99 I spent on a PB started out as a book that I read to my kids when they were 2, 3, and 4 years old. Then morphed into a book that we read together when they were 5 and 6. And finally culminated into something they read by themselves from 6 on. That’s what I consider a good Return on my Investment. My kids are 10 and 11 and they still enjoy reading picture books.
As a writer, this is something I struggle with. Yes, I’m a picture book writer, attempting to keep the word count down, but I’m also a book buying, book reading mom and I can’t help but think that the other book buying, book reading moms (and dads and grandmas and grandpas) want more for their money too. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating adding words so the buyer gets more words for their dollar. I know that every word must count. But there are plenty of fabulous picture books with a <600 word count that get read well after the toddler years. Maybe, if picture books had a few more words, consumers would look at them as an investment and maybe, just maybe sales would increase. $17.99 over 8 years – that’s ~ $2.25 a year and in my mind, that’s a bargain!