Writing Children's Picture Books


Have you written a picture book?

If so, we can help. We have two main picture book editors. Victoria Lee, was a senior manager at one of Britain's largest picture book publishers and Pippa Goodhart, a bestselling picture book author.

Pippa and Victoria now also work for the Writers' Workshop, passing on their mighty know-how to first-timers. Read on to learn more about what we offer. Or check out our Picture Books FAQs page for more.

See also:   Children's Home   |   Picture Book FAQs



The market

The market for picture books is - like everything in the publishing world - a very tough one. Publishers receive thousands of manuscripts, and will only accept a small handful.

Although picture books may seem easy to write, they must:

  • appeal to the values of contemporary parents
  • engage young children
  • bear frequent repetition
  • sound good when read out loud
  • be suitable for illustration
  • contain engaging, memorable characters

If you think that sounds easy, then we promise you it isn't.


What can we offer?

We offer a complete editorial service for writers of picture books and other books aimed at younger readers. We will:

  • Give you an honest assessment of whether your work is strong enough for publication
  • Identify any problems with your manuscript & offer detailed advice on how to fix them.
  • Assist with marketing (if appropriate)
  • Discuss all these things with you by phone.

Our aim, as with all clients, is to do what we can to help you get published.


Victoria Lee

Victoria has had a long career in children's publishing. At Reed Children's Books, she was Publishing Manager for Picture Books & Fiction, then Picture Books Editor. She has herself written a fair few picture books for titles conceived and produced in-house - so she knows the challenge involved in writing such things.

Victoria lives in a tiny sixteenth century terraced house in Warwickshire and, in her spare time, enjoys tending her cottage garden.






Pippa Goodhart

Pippa worked in the book world, selling, working as a publisher’s reader, and teaching young children before beginning to write books herself. Shortlisted for the Kathleen Fidler, Smarties, Young Telegraph Book of the Year, Blue Peter Book of the Year and Stockton Children’s Book of the Year, she has had more than fifty books published, ranging from picture books to early readers to novels. Picture books include ‘You Choose’, illustrated by Nick Sharratt and selected by Bookstart.

Pippa teaches writing for children at Leicester and De Montfort Universities, and also does lots of school visits to work with children.










Fees & submissions info

We would be delighted to work with you. The fees for our service are:


1-2 picture books

3-4 picture books



In return for this payment, we will:

  • Tell you if your work is strong enough to be marketed
  • If it is, we'll help you market it
  • If it isn't, we'll tell you what's wrong and how to fix it
  • Talk things over on the phone, and answer all your questions about your book, the market, and any other worries or concerns you may have.

Our aim, as always, is to get you published.


If you would like to go ahead, then please email your work to us at: info@writersworkshop.co.uk

Or mail it to us at:

The Writers' Workshop

7 Market Street


Oxon OX7 3PH

We can take payment by cheque (payable to the Writers' Workshop) or by mastercard / visa - please just call us on 0845 459 9560 to make payment this way.


Please also note ...

We receive many general queries about the picture books market. Most of these are addressed on our Frequently Asked Questions page. Do check it out for lots of valuable free info.

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The Festival Programme, 2011

This page provides a quick overview of the Festival Progamme.


Friday 25 March

14.00 - 18.00

Mini courses (optional)
Writing for Children, Julia Churchill & Michael Ford
Screenwriting Masterclass, with Ashley Pharoah
Finding Your Voice, with Debi Alper & Emma Darwin
Getting Published, with Harry Bingham & Helen Corner
Characterisation masterclass, with Kate Allan and Jane Lovering

14.00 - 18.00

Registration and collection of room keys
16.00 - 17.00 Afternoon tea
18.00 Bar opens (Roger Kirk centre)
19.00 Literary Networking
Come along to meet agents, editors and fellow writers.
19.30 Dinner
20.45 - 21.15 Authonomy Live
Your chance for a panel of experts to hear and evaluate your text. Terrifying, but useful. More details in the Full Festival Programme (from Jan 2011). Last year's winner ended up with an agent and a 2-book deal from a major publisher.

Saturday 26 March




Registration for Saturday arrivals

9.10 - 10.10

Festival Welcome & Keynote Address - David Nobbs
Author of 27 novels, and acclaimed as 'probably our finest post-war comic novelist', David is also a legend among screenwriters. He's written for countless comedy legends and created the Rise and Fall of Reginald Perrin from his own novels.

10.10 - 10.40

Coffee break & David Nobbs booksigning

10.40 - 11.40

Workshops - Session 1
See workshops for more info. When you book your Festival ticket, you will be asked to select your workshop choice.

11.50 - 12.50

Panel Q&As
Your chance to ask the questions you want answered. Choice of (no prebooking required):

  • Agents panel
  • Independent publishers' panel
  • Children's fiction panel
  • Writing societies panel
  • New authors panel



14.00 - 15.00

Key note address: The Agent & The Publisher
Carole Blake (of Blake Friedmann)
Patrick-Janson Smith (now of Harper-Collins)
Carole Blake is one of the most infuential agents in London. Former Transworld boss, Patrick Janson-Smith has long been one of the most interesting and influential publishers. In this address, they discuss their roles.

15.10 - 16.10

Workshops - Session 2
See workshops for more info.

16.10 - 16.40

Afternoon Tea - plus author booksignings

16.40 - 17.40

Workshops - Session 3
See workshops for more info.

18.45 - 19.15

Writers' Reception


Gala Dinner & Competition Presentations
After-dinner speech: Ashley Pharoah


Sunday 27 March




Registration for Sunday arrivals

09.10 - 10.00

Writers' News Festival Panel
Your chance to grill their experts

10.10 - 11.10

Workshops - Session 4
See workshops for more info.

11.10 - 11.40

Coffee break & author booksignings

11.40 - 12.40

Workshops - Session 5
See workshops for more info.



14.00 - 15.00

Workshops - Session 6
See workshops for more info.

15.10 - 15.50

Keynote Address with Kate Williams
Kate is a historian and one of the most accomplished biographers we have. Her Becoming Queen received huge critical acclaim and was televised as the Young Victoria. Her new novel, The Pleasures of Men, was purchased for a huge advance and will go on sale worldwide in summer 2011.

Also Festival Q&A
There will also be the chance to grill our panel of Festival speakers with any questions that you still need answered.

15.50 - 16.00

Wrap-up & farewells




To find out more ...

Check out our Workshops schedule here. All Festival delegates are given their choice of workshops, but do note that workshops are first come, first served, so do book fast to ensure availability.

All delegates to the Festival have the opportunity to pitch their work directly to top agents and editors. For more about how to do that, please just check out the details here.

Check out the Friday afternoon Mini-courses here. These can be a brilliant way to get up to speed with one crucial aspect of the art and business of writing before the start of the Festival proper.

If you love what you see and want to book your place, then please do so quickly. All events are first come, first served and places are limited. Click here to book your place.

We're bringing the best of the books world to York 2010, so make sure you're there to meet it!

Julia Churchill

Children's agent, Greenhouse Lit Ag.

David Nobbs
Novelist & screenwriter

Kate Williams
Historian, biographer and novelist

Carole Blake
Co-head of Blake Friedmann Lit. Ag.

Patrick Janson-Smith
Former MD of Transworld, now running his own Blue Door imprint at HC

Ashley Pharoah
Screenwriter and creator of Ashes to Ashes

Michael Ford
Author of bestselling Spartan Warrior series.

Haworth Parsonage
A typical local from Wuthering Heights country