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Picture book or Chapter Book early Reader - advice needed

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Hello
I am looking for some advice/guidance on whether my 1700 long picture book is too long for the current fashions in PB and would be better as an Early Reader? Does anyone one have expertise in this area? Or a critique groups perhaps I could join? All advice appreciated! I am UK based.
#1 - July 30, 2021, 05:16 AM

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Hi Elisabeth,

In general terms, 1700 is considered too long for a picture book, with some exceptions for well-established authors or non-fiction.

However, it's also not the case to call a book an Early Reader just because the word count is too high for a picture book. Early Readers have very strict guidelines on length of words and sentences.

So, your best option is to decide what you want the book to be and revise accordingly. If you want it to be a picture book, revise ruthlessly, which is easier said than done. But cut out most descriptions on color and scene unless absolutely necessary to the plot of the book. Those things will be taken care of by illustrations. Focus your plot, make sure the main character has essentially one issue to solve. Find a critique group or post on the critique boards here. But 1700 words is too long to post on our boards as 1000 words is the limit. So see if you can cut 700 words or just post the first half. :-)

I also find it helpful to type up text of picture books I love and that have been recently published. Then print it out and compare your typed out text to the print out of the published book. You'll see how much the author left to the illustrator and how masterfully they used their words to set up tension and page turns, etc.

I hope this helps!
#2 - July 30, 2021, 06:47 AM
Freaky Funky Fish ( Running Press Kids, May 2021)
Tell Someone (Albert Whitman, October 2021)
Peculiar Primates (Running Press Kids, Fall 2022)

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Thank you for your swift reply - that was my feeling but I have been working with a mentor who publishes longer PB and she seemed to think the length would work, but now when looking for other potential publishers I have noticed they will only accept much shorter books.  I don't know where to be with it to be honest! I love the story and not sure PB is really for me as I love writing all the descriptive stuff. I wonder whether I could use it as a base for a longer book for 5-7 age then? Oh goodness I don't know. I wasn't aware there were critique boards - they sound really useful I will see if I can find one and perhaps post the beginning and see what reaction i may get! Thank you again.
#3 - July 30, 2021, 07:00 AM

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Here's a link to the Critique Boards:
https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?board=121.0
#4 - July 30, 2021, 08:47 AM
Freaky Funky Fish ( Running Press Kids, May 2021)
Tell Someone (Albert Whitman, October 2021)
Peculiar Primates (Running Press Kids, Fall 2022)

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I believe the chapter book market runs at 5000-10000 words per book, but sometimes you can find more adventures for your characters to fill out a story.  Good luck.
#5 - July 30, 2021, 06:17 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

I was under the impression that there were strict guidelines defining picture books- 700 words or under and 32 pages, counting the end pages- I’m sure there are exceptions though, especially for nonfiction or educational. 
#6 - August 01, 2021, 12:42 PM

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For print books, the page count must be divisible by four. This is because of how the paper is printed and cut. These lines are blurrier for e-books. But you'll still find 64-page picture books. (These are unlikely to be by first time authors, unless they are nonfiction made as part o an existing series, as they cost more to produce and illustrate.)

Word counts have varied greatly over time, but today publishers prefer books under 500 words. Non-fiction has more leeway as it's sometimes written for older readers. The age group for fiction PBs ends at 8, but for nonfiction, it sometimes goes to twelve or older. And there are picture books for adults, but that's a specialized market.
#7 - August 01, 2021, 06:19 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

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They are such different beasts, picture books and early reader chapter books. I recommend reading lots of each to develop your taste for what each entails. Plus free webinars on each pop up now and then, often via scbwi, which you could keep your eye out for.
#8 - August 01, 2021, 09:47 PM
Odd Bods: The World's Unusual Animals - Millbrook Press 2021
Tiny Possum and the Migrating Moths - CSIRO Pub. Nov. 2021

www.juliemurphybooks.com

Veni Sancte Spiritus!
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I was under the impression that there were strict guidelines defining picture books- 700 words or under and 32 pages, counting the end pages- I’m sure there are exceptions though, especially for nonfiction or educational. 

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” ― W. Somerset Maugham
This probably applies to PBs too. A thought--you can break any convention if your story is brilliant.

Elisabeth, as others have noted, PBs and CBs are different animals. And there's another category in-between: the EZ. Just like it sounds. Here, the vocabulary is more controlled and the illustrations are there to help with the reading itself. So often, we think we're writing a PB when it's more suitable as a magazine story or an outline of a novel. I also have some luscious PBs that are longer illustrated stories but almost all of them are older publications. Good luck as you figure out your baby, imagine where it would be shelved in the library, and then check out those sections to see who's publishing them.
#9 - August 02, 2021, 08:33 AM
Little Thief! Max & Midnight, Bound, Ten Easter Eggs & 100+ bks/mags
https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com https://bodachbooks.blogspot.com

Thank you.  I love the W. Somerset Maugham quote,  sounds like great advice!
#10 - August 02, 2021, 06:42 PM

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