Picture Book Basics

As has already been stated, writing a picture book is not easy. However, it can be such fun! Here is some info about picture books for the beginner.

Most picture books consist of 32 pages. However, only 28 of those will be text. That means you have only 28 pages to tell your story!

Your readers will usually be in the 2-7 year old bracket.

Some picture books are written for the child to read but most picture books are  read to a child by an adult.

Each page will have illustrations. As you write, you must visualize how your words can be illustrated.

Most picture books are 1000 words or less. There are some picture books for older children that may contain more text. 

You are not responsible for illustrations. DO NOT send in illustrations with your manuscript unless you are an exceptional artist. The publishers hire their own illustrators.

Write considering the age of the child. Writing a picture book on thermal dynamics is probably not a good idea, although I’m sure someone could do it!  Best stick to things a child that age has interest in.

Picture books have to tell a story just like longer manuscripts. A beginning, middle and ending are necessary.

It’s hard to write what you don’t know. Go to the library. Get a coffee at Barnes and Nobles and read. Ask, what are the stories about? How do they phrase words? How many words in a sentence? Really dissect the book. After you have done all this work and you still feel this is the type of book you want to write, start writing!

Wishing you great success in writing those picture books, Gloria


2 responses to “Picture Book Basics

  1. marilyn donahue

    Thanks for those good reminders! Especially the one about reading lots of picture books. That’s something I keep putting off, but now I think I’ll take your advice and get started.


  2. gloriastockstill

    Marilyn, have fun reading all those picture books!


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