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Writer's Room => Picture Books (PB) => Topic started by: Doreen Nagle on September 07, 2021, 12:55 PM

Title: Length of PB?
Post by: Doreen Nagle on September 07, 2021, 12:55 PM
Hi! I have stories that could be picture book or early readers and Im not sure how to determine which it is before I start illustrating. The first story I am focusing on is 1300 words. Is that too much for a picture book? Also, I understand the "Early Reader" category is dead, according to a recent post I saw on Sub It. I need direction and clarification. Suggestions?

I am willing to edit the stories down if needed. Afterall, isn't writing just more editing?

Thanks so much in advance
Title: Re: Length of PB?
Post by: David Wright on September 07, 2021, 01:19 PM
There's a bigger difference than just word count. Early readers are reader=child (possibly with an adult helping). PBs are reader=adult (at least for the first couple times :) )

Generally, PBs are under 500 words.
Title: Re: Length of PB?
Post by: Doreen Nagle on September 07, 2021, 01:24 PM
Thanks! Is Early reader still a genre anyone is interested in publishing?
Title: Re: Length of PB?
Post by: dkshumaker on September 07, 2021, 01:42 PM
I agree with David, there is way more of a difference between early readers and picture books besides word count. Early readers have very specific rules for types of words that can be used, etc. And often come in a series, I think. They aren't dead.

With just a quick google search, I found this website that defines the various categories of books for kids:
https://www.luandbeanread.com/childrens-book-formats/

1300 words for a picture book does seem long. Have you had the story critique by other PB writers to help you possibly cut words and revise before you start illustrating?

Title: Re: Length of PB?
Post by: JulieM on September 07, 2021, 03:18 PM
I recommend reading lots of both genres to get a feel for the kinds of stories they deal with and how they are written. You'll see varied advice "out there" such as "early readers are dead". Therefore it's best to read widely from many sources - publishers, editors, bloggers, reviewers, authors and illustrators, and make up your own mind. I had a picture book manuscript deal cancelled by a small publisher about 15 years ago because the publisher was advised by one contracted editor that "e-books were the future and picture books were dead".
Title: Re: Length of PB?
Post by: Vijaya on September 07, 2021, 05:29 PM
What David and Deb said. You needn't control language for a picture book--it should be rich because it will be read aloud by a parent or teacher. Early readers need to be simple to read with the illustrations supporting the text. And they most certainly are not dead! Kelly Starling Lyons has a new series and Cyndi Marko had a series as well and I believe she wrote a prequel PB. Check them out. I like to get a pile of PBs and EZs and just read through them to get a feel for what works. Also, I type them up to see what the text looks like on the page. Good luck as you go forward with your story!
Title: Re: Length of PB?
Post by: Doreen Nagle on September 07, 2021, 09:48 PM
Thanks, everyone, for being so helpful
Title: Re: Length of PB?
Post by: JodyJS on September 08, 2021, 04:27 AM
Yes, people are still publishing early readers! I currently have a series with Highlights Press. It is not word-controlled via a word list, but it is leveled for those just beginning to read. Go to your library; check out 100 recent (last five years) books in the genre you'd like to write. Learn all you can. Have fun!
Title: Re: Length of PB?
Post by: dkshumaker on September 08, 2021, 05:44 AM
Go to your library; check out 100 recent (last five years) books in the genre you'd like to write. Learn all you can. Have fun!

Great advice. Reading the current market is the best way to learn.
Title: Re: Length of PB?
Post by: Doreen Nagle on September 08, 2021, 08:53 AM
Thanks for your suggestion in re Highlights.
Title: Re: Length of PB?
Post by: HaroldU on September 08, 2021, 12:45 PM
You've gotten some great advice so far! I have just one thing to add. To learn the differences between the different types of children's books, I always recommend A Family of Readers (https://www.underdown.org/family-of-readers-review.htm) (link takes you to a review of it on my website). It's set up as a guide for parents but it's also a good guide for writers wanting to understand picture books and easy/early readers and chapter books and so on...
Title: Re: Length of PB?
Post by: Doreen Nagle on September 08, 2021, 01:05 PM
Thanks!