☰ Menu

Donna David visits Picture Book Club for the Oh No, Bobo! Blog Tour

Fiona was one of the first people I met from the picture book industry so I’m so excited that she’s let me take over her blog today.

I didn’t really know any writers, illustrators, editors or publishers when I first signed with my agent. I wanted to learn from other people’s successes and experiences, so when I heard that there was a Picture Book Club (run by Fiona) just a few miles from my house, I signed up immediately.

My new friends at Picture Book Club quickly suggested that I join the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). SCBWI supports writers and illustrators at all stages of their careers which is exactly what I wanted. I went to some of their workshops and events and I treated myself to the annual conference in Winchester. Industry experts looked at my texts, gave me advice, asked for revisions and wanted to see more. I was convinced I’d made it!

Several months later, that elusive book deal still hadn’t come through. I’d read about bidding wars, multiple book deals, book launches and awards – but they always happened to someone else. It seemed that everyone was having success and I was being left behind. It was tempting to switch off from social media, mute my online groups and stop reading The Bookseller. And so, for a while, that’s exactly what I did.

I took some time out. I was still writing but I wasn’t looking over my shoulder to see what everyone else was doing. I wasn’t comparing myself to other people’s successes and finding myself coming up short. I was writing for myself.

Then Fiona got her deal with Tiny Tree Children’s Books and I realised that my big dream was possible. Something switched inside my head and instead of seeing other people’s successes as a sign of my failures, I saw them as signs of my potential. People like me were making it! I learnt that it’s possible to be over the moon for some else’s success whilst still wanting the same for myself.

I immediately threw myself back out there. I went to critique groups, I interacted on Twitter, I shouted loudly about other people’s successes whist all the time hoping that my own success was just around the corner.

And it was! It was at Fiona’s book launch that I started chatting to Ellie Brough, Quarto editor, about a picture book I’d written introducing the topic of consent to very young children. Ellie was interested. She gave me her email address and asked me to get my agent to send it over to her.

I’d love to say that things moved quickly after that, but this is publishing! It was a few weeks but, eventually, the email I’d been waiting for FOREVER finally came through! Quarto loved ‘Oh No, Bobo!’ and they’d made an offer. It was finally happening!

Whilst all this was going on, I was invited to the book launch of ‘The Colour of Happy’ written by Laura Baker and illustrated by Angie Rozelaar (I’d met Laura at the SCBWI conference). ‘The Colour of Happy’ is a beautiful book that explores emotions with very young children. It has such a low word count which is something I’d never really tried before.

As I left the launch, I decided I was going to give it a go. I found a scrap of paper in my bag, boarded my train and started. It was so hard! Getting a narrative arc in a hundred words is almost impossible! It took a few weeks and dozens of attempts, but eventually I wrote my shortest ever picture book – one hundred and twelve words long.

This text went out on submission in February 2019 and by the end of the year, I’d signed another book deal. I’ll be shouting about this book from the rooftops as soon as I’m allowed to!


So, for me, getting back out there and supporting the successes of my peers really worked out for me. It inspired me, introduced me to new people and gave me confidence to keep going.

As an aspiring author, sometimes I needed to take a break from the publishing industry, but ultimately, getting back out there, supporting my friends and colleagues, shouting about their books and celebrating their achievements gave me the ultimate success: confidence and self-belief.

‘Oh No, Bobo!’ is available to order in the UK here:

If you’re not in the UK, then order here: