Writing a picture book

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Chiquitta

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Picture Book

Hi there,
I used to write picture books when my kids were toddlers. They enjoyed reading them as much as I enjoyed making them. It is a great kind of writing/book that will always be in style! Good luck!


Chiquitta
 

Alpha Ralpha Blvd

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I have this question: I want to write First Readers, and they need to be very short. It makes sense to me for them to be 16 pages long, not 32, because at that level -- that of children who may never have read any book before -- reading is hard work and they need the reward of an ending PDQ. At least, it felt right with my own 5-year-old, and I think twice the length would have had his attention wandering. Will Dear Agent agree, or think, "Less than 32? Now that's just crazy for a new writer"?

I had thought of either putting 2 books into one, or someone suggested that one line of text can go across two pages. Or maybe I just send in an MS with about 100 words and 12-16 lines in it, and expect agent and publisher to be OK with it and know what to do?
 

coral

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I've read about the 32 pages for a book in a variety of sources - it just comes down to the number of pages you get when you stack and fold paper for a run - they print in sets of 8. That's separate from board books, which are printed differently.

The quote below is from Underdown, a website written by a children's book editor:
Author Larry Dane Brimner notes these basic distinctions among books for beginning readers:


  • Easy-reading picture book—32 pages (This is a picture book with easy-reader vocabulary and sentence structures.)
  • Easy (or early) reader—48 to 64 pages
  • Early chapter book—48 to 64 page.

Lengths vary from several hundred to 1,500 words.

They also talk about making a 'dummy' book - but you always leave a few pages for title, front matter, etc. In the middle of this page, Mem Fox talks about her process for creating her mock up.

You may already have what you need in terms of how the book can be laid out.

Hopefully this helps!
 

triceretops

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Dang it, I think I have a strange number for my first ever picture book. Agent loved it and sent out subs--she didn't get any back-lash. It's 18 pages and 1,300 words. What an odd ball. I could run some longer paragraphs and come out with 16, no prob. It's non-fic with some story elements. It is about the mysteries of the Rancho La Brea Tars Pits.
 

Tiggy

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All the advice I've had (UK) was that there will be 24 useable pages in a picture book. That's 12 double spreads. All my worked has been aimed at that length.
 

barnesCh

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I have found the book, "Writing Picture Books, " by Ann Whitford Paul very useful. After I read it, I sent her an e-mail through her site to let her know how much I enjoyed it. She replied. I even sent her another e-mail a short time later to let her know I had signed with an agent. She is really nice.
 

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