When people ask questions about writing for kids, two questions pop up over and over. Author and writing teacher Darcy Pattison says, “People want to know what to do about illustrations and how many pages in a children’s picture book.”
Writing for Kids Means Art
If you’re writing for a traditional market, you don’t have to do anything about the art. In fact, you hurt your chances of getting published if you try to provide art. The art director and editor at the publishing house choose the artist. They match up stories with illustrators who have a proven track record of selling well, which pulls the books sales up. Seldom will they match an unknown author with an unknown illustrator because that’s bad business. So, if you show up with your wife’s neice’s husband’s art – you’ve cut your chances of selling in half. The editor must LOVE the text, and the art director must LOVE the art. If that nice fella does indeed have a professional portfolio of artwork and is just making the jump into children’s books, you might be in luck. But I doubt it.
Instead, write your story. Format it in a standard manuscript format (typed, double-spaced). And submit it through the usual channels.
Writing for Kids Means a Strict Format
Children’s picture books are almost always 32 pages. This is because of the way paper is folded and how most printing presses are set up. With the advent of ebooks, there is more flexibility. However, if you want to convert easily from print to digital, you’ll still want to stick to the 32 page limit.
Need answers to more questions about writing a children’s picture book? Award-winning author, Darcy Pattison, walks you step by step through the process of writing, editing, and submitting a picture book story to a publisher. This book is only available as an ebook.