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Writer's Room => Picture Books (PB) => Topic started by: Tadghthepom on January 03, 2013, 02:06 PM

Title: Picture book page quantity
Post by: Tadghthepom on January 03, 2013, 02:06 PM
Hello Everyone,

I had a quick question about picture book length. I saw the sticky posts about length in terms of word count, I was wondering about rules in terms of page numbers. I know that there is an earlier post that says that 32 is the magic number, but it sounded like there was lee-way.

I am trying to write and illustrate my own story so am thinking in terms of page numbers as well as word count. I currently have 16 double page spreads total. Do I need to change my plan to another multiple of 8 to be able to include title and printing pages, or try and squish the scenes down to have 14 double page spreads leaving pages for titles/acknowledgments in a 32 page print?

I hope that that makes sense!

Tadgh
Title: Re: Picture book page quantity
Post by: Joni on January 03, 2013, 02:29 PM
Squish, if you want the book to seem standard or if you're hoping for traditional publication. 32 includes title page and end page, typically. But if you're publishing yourself anyway, 40 works, too.
Title: Re: Picture book page quantity
Post by: KatyD on January 03, 2013, 03:01 PM
If you're submitting to traditional publishers, I'd shoot for 32 total pages, so you'd probably be better off going with the fourteen double page spreads, but there are variations. Some pbs end on a double-page spread while others end with a single-page. Some have more or less front and back matter than others. Pbs are almost always printed with pages in multiples of eight, with 32 pages being most common. The best thing you can do is check out a lot of currently published pbs from the library and study them to help find out the best layout for your book. Good luck!
Title: Re: Picture book page quantity
Post by: Tadghthepom on January 03, 2013, 03:08 PM
Thanks Katy and Joni, that's really helpful! Back to revisionland for me...
Title: Re: Picture book page quantity
Post by: Tadghthepom on January 03, 2013, 05:45 PM
OK, so I am trying to work this out with my MS and am having a brain-frozen moment....

Exactly which page would 'page 1' count as?! Would it be the first page on the right-hand side (the first full page spread being pages 2-3 and so on)? Or would it be the 1st page on the left-hand side that is not the inside of the cover?

this is basically getting me to decide whether my full page spreads will be on pages 2-3, 4-5 etc or on 3-4, 5-6 etc.

Does that make sense?! And is it one of the things where you can decide yourself? I think I may be thinking about this way too much! Definitely taking Katy's advice and heading back to the library tomorrow morning for a good old fashioned page count...

Thanks again,

Tadgh
Title: Re: Picture book page quantity
Post by: TanjaW on January 03, 2013, 08:51 PM
I've seen this link posted in another thread, but it might give you an idea of page count and spreads for a picture book:
http://taralazar.com/2009/02/22/picture-book-construction-know-your-layout/ (http://taralazar.com/2009/02/22/picture-book-construction-know-your-layout/)

Also, John Rocco's process might give you something to consider...he posts the thumbnails and rough sketch process for a book dummy:
http://blaine.org/sevenimpossiblethings/?p=2143 (http://blaine.org/sevenimpossiblethings/?p=2143)

Hope that helps! :)

- t
Title: Re: Picture book page quantity
Post by: Bobi Martin on January 03, 2013, 10:19 PM
Thanks for sharing these links, Tanja!
Title: Re: Picture book page quantity
Post by: Tadghthepom on January 04, 2013, 05:25 AM
Tanja those links are absolutely perfect and have answered my question and then some!

Thank you so much!
Title: Re: Picture book page quantity
Post by: Jean Reidy on January 04, 2013, 10:27 AM
Tadghthepom -

I'm just chiming in here to say that I'm a huge believer in thinking about page turns and layout as you write and revise a PB. That said, unless you're an author/illustrator or self-publishing, once you have your story within reasonable boundaries with enough scene variety and a payoff for every page turn to fill a 32-page PB, I wouldn't worry too much about hitting the page-count number exactly.

PB designers at the publishing houses do a magnificent job of laying out the book. Often, illustration backstory is shown on the title page. Or the story might extend onto the endpapers. I think it's always wise to consider PB structure and layout to make sure you have a viable PB, but then let it go, don't overthink it and get it into hands of a wonderful editor!

Good luck!
Jean
Title: Re: Picture book page quantity
Post by: Bobi Martin on January 04, 2013, 09:34 PM
Over-thinking has killed many a fine story and sapped the creative energy of the writer in the process. You can make yourself a little crazy (or crazier!) trying to get it "just right."  Do the best you can with your story and then send it off and let the illustrator and designers work their magic.