What is a picture book?
A picture book is written for children between two to eight years old. The best picture books can be considered beautiful works of art, where words and pictures work together to tell a coherent story. They require an author to have both an intuitive sense of child appeal and a strong command of language.
They are typically 32 pages, including cover pages. However, some have page counts of 24, 40, or 48 pages. Most picture books are below 1,000 words in length.
(I am aiming for 32 pages and 800 words; between 50 to 70…
Today, I attended the funeral and cremation service of the last of my grandparents. And I was there to pay my last respects, yes, but mainly to comfort my mother in her time of grief.
My aunts and my mother tried their level best to be strong, but at the final moment when the gates opened up and the coffin was pushed in, there was just a painful and immediate outpouring of emotions.
Even my relatives who normally appeared introverted and stoic cried bitterly.
Death was just so final. The ending underscored the message that we entered the world alone…
It is astonishing how some memories are bright, clear, and vivid, and can withstand the test of time, while others are hazy, blurry patches, like ghosts in mists.
Many years ago, I was a new economics tutor at a junior college. At the time, the term used to characterise such a role was the somewhat oxymoronic “student teacher”.
In this case, I remember clearly that I was teaching about how the intersection of the demand and supply curves was the market equilibrium, where quantity demanded equals quantity supplied.
This wasn’t some great economic insight or a ground-breaking teachable moment. It…
I remember the first time I saw my ancestor’s tomb at Grave Hill.
The hill was once part of his plantation along Thomson Road. My ancestor Seah Eu Chin had come to Singapore in 1823, settled down, made a fortune in the gambier and pepper business, and, after a life of public service, passed away in 1883. He was buried at Grave Hill. The area was considered the family’s traditional burial ground in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
But over a century, the location of Seah Eu Chin’s tomb was slowly lost to the mists of time. Luckily, avid…
Once, a Director with a somewhat theological bent related a story to us, his younger colleagues.
I call it “The Cathedral Story”, and it goes like this:
A priest was walking down the road one day. Several builders were hard at work.
“What are you doing, my son?” he asked the first builder.
“I am laying bricks, Father,” came the reply.
The priest blessed the first builder and continued walking down the road. He soon came across the second builder, a short distance away.
“What are you doing, my son?” he asked the second builder.
“I am building a wall…
When I was in St Stephen’s primary in the 1990s, every now and then a second-hand bookseller would come round to the school tuck shop. She would open up a huge cardboard box full of books and comics.
At recess, when we — poor pupils — were released from the clutches of our teachers, especially Chinese teachers, we would race down the stairs to the tuck shop.
The magical cardboard box contained worlds upon worlds of English books, ranging from fiction to non-fiction, serious to whimsical, and education to entertainment. …
Many people think of a blurb as a summary at the back of a book. But blurbs also refer to testimonials, endorsements, and praises (which may also end up at the back of a book). They are an important part of marketing: they help attract attention, signal credibility, and convince readers.
Some people think blurbs are “good to have”, but I respectfully differ. Today, with millions of books published each year, leading to incredibly stiff competition, authors must ensure their books stand out. Having great blurbs is one way of doing so.
To help authors (especially new ones, but even…
In the 1990s, my father, brother, and I used to watch aeroplanes taking off and landing at Changi Airport. It was both a simple pleasure and a cheap thrill. Those were simpler days, where an evening could be spent watching and counting planes. And these days I love visiting Jewel, one of the most attractive malls in the world, in Changi Airport, one of the best airports in the world.
So, you can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was when Dorothy Yuan reached out to me to ask if I would like to review her first poetry collection that was…
I have always loved poetry.
When I was in secondary school and junior college, I listened to poems in class by day and listened to poems in bed by night.
Some of my fondest memories were of bedtime when my brother would recite poems like Lewis Carroll’s “The Hunting of the Snark” and “You Are Old, Father William”; William Blake’s “The Chimney Sweeper” and “Auguries of Innocence”; and Walt Whitman’s “O Captain! My Captain!”. He was a dramatic reader and I loved to listen to his voice before I slept.
(These five particular poems stood out for me because my…
My first book was completely self-published.
In hindsight, I should have first thought through the issues and considerations laid out in this article. If I had known back then what I know today, it would have been a lot less painful.
But my painful experiences are your gain — I hope this article that sets out my thoughts, reflections, and pointers will help you in self-publishing.
In this article, I am going to assume that you are considering taking the self-publication route instead of crafting a successful book proposal and going down a more mainstream route (I hasten to add…