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Genres & Age Categories => Picture Books (PB) => Topic started by: jessica-whipple on June 26, 2018, 06:54 PM

Title: Formatting a PB manuscript re: page breaks and numbers
Post by: jessica-whipple on June 26, 2018, 06:54 PM
Further clarification...


Imagine that the below sample text appears all on one page of my submission. I'm asking if I should format it this way:


1
Johnny was a mean boy.

2
He was mean to everyone he knew.

3
He was even mean to people he had never met.



Or do the above without the numbers?
Title: Re: Formatting a PB manuscript re: page breaks and numbers
Post by: Schriscoe on June 27, 2018, 01:24 AM
Yes, that looks good. You can also place the word page in there as well. And if you see it as a double page spread you can list that as well.  The first and third are single page spreads. The second is the double.

Something like this:

Page Spread 1
Johnny was a mean boy.

Page Spread 2-3
He was mean to everyone he knew.

Page Spread 4
He was even mean to people he had never met.
Title: Re: Formatting a PB manuscript re: page breaks and numbers
Post by: dkshumaker on June 27, 2018, 10:46 AM
I think when writing it for yourself, it's good to do it by page spread so you can nail the pacing and page turns, etc. However, it is my understanding that most agents and editors do not want to see the page numbers when you submit it to them. So I would send a version to agents or editors without page numbers noted.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Formatting a PB manuscript re: page breaks and numbers
Post by: jessica-whipple on June 27, 2018, 11:34 AM
Dkshumaker, does that mean one option is to send as a long format body of text? Or break where pages are, but do not number the page spreads? Thanks!
Title: Re: Formatting a PB manuscript re: page breaks and numbers
Post by: Vijaya on June 27, 2018, 11:54 AM
No. You can do this for yourself and I always recommend making an actual dummy so that you can turn the pages. But when you submit, it should be a clean, double-spaced copy. That way the focus is on the story. Let the art director decide on the layout.

The only time I submit a ms with layout is when I've been asked to. Note that page 1 will be recto. So it's even-odd page #s for the spreads.

Revising Schiscoe ex:

Page 1 -- Recto
Johnny was a mean boy.

Page 2-3
He was mean to everyone he knew.

Page 4-5
He was even mean to people he had never met.

If you're giving art notes, specify them separately.
[Page 1 TEXT]
Johnny was a mean boy.
[Page 1 HALF-ART]

I hope this is helpful. Good luck on your submission. V.

Title: Re: Formatting a PB manuscript re: page breaks and numbers
Post by: Stephanie Ruble on June 27, 2018, 01:40 PM
Send like you would any story, with breaks for paragraphs and lines, but no page numbers. That said, the text can have lots of paragraphs from one line to several (with a new thought, or a different character speaking), or can have breaks every line when formatting a poem (if the story is in verse, whether rhyming or not). I tend to have lots of line/paragraph breaks, especially when I'm drafting. (I also add page numbers in pencil on the margins when I'm working on a dummy, but those numbers are just for me and don't get subbed.) Some of my line breaks get put together in longer paragraphs before submitting, some don't. Depends on the story and what it needs. Good luck with your story and submissions!
Title: Re: Formatting a PB manuscript re: page breaks and numbers
Post by: Debbie Vilardi on June 27, 2018, 06:26 PM
What the others have said. Your vision for how the text will be split up may not be what the editor, designer, art director, and illustrator decide to do. Your job is to give them something to work with. It's important for you to know that you can separate your text into the requisite 28 pages (of a 32 page picture book) and have each spread have a unique and interesting illustration but not to actually split it into those 28 pages. (Caveat: I've read interviews where some editors have liked this, but it isn't standard.)
Title: Re: Formatting a PB manuscript re: page breaks and numbers
Post by: Schriscoe on June 27, 2018, 07:01 PM
Agreeing with everyone here that it is standard to not include page breaks, but I also want to add in that I am one of those authors who does do this sometimes. In fact, my Early Reader that has the interest of an awesome house (still waiting on word!) includes page breaks. My agent seemed to like that and so did the editor. I also do this with some of my PBs. Not my rhymers, but most of my prose PBs have included page breaks and my agent is okay with that. I also have a couple of CPs who do page breaks as well. Both have sold to publishers with those page breaks included.

Also, if you are worried that the page numbers throw off the rhythm, yet you want to keep page breaks in, you can remove the actual words (page spread 1, etc.) and just leave that extra spacing. That's the way my editor for my most recent book that was sold did it before she sent it to the illustrator. PS, it had page breaks when we subbed it and she (the editor) loved that I could envision the book being illustrated.

So, I just wanted to give a thought from the other side. But again, it IS standard to NOT include those page breaks, but acceptable if you choose to.

 :goodluck
Title: Re: Formatting a PB manuscript re: page breaks and numbers
Post by: Stephanie Ruble on June 27, 2018, 08:11 PM
Yes to what Schriscoe said above. Which given my earlier statement seems like a contradiction, but ...

Also, as with any advice, do what works best for you and your story. Realize that there are reasons that the "rules" are in place. If your story (or formatting) breaks the rules but works,* then it works.

*If you know why there's a rule and know why you're breaking that rule, then it's more likely to work than if you're just making up your own rules or breaking established ones without knowledge of why they're there.

Good luck with your story and formatting!
Title: Re: Formatting a PB manuscript re: page breaks and numbers
Post by: kwlarson on June 28, 2018, 05:02 AM
Carol Hinz at Millbrook had an excellent post on this topic (pagination) recently. https://lernerbooks.blog/2017/09/paginate-picture-book-manuscript.html

I typically do paginate my stories, and have never received negative feedback from agents and editors. But there are some with strong preferences.

All the best,

Kirsten
Title: Re: Formatting a PB manuscript re: page breaks and numbers
Post by: Schriscoe on June 28, 2018, 05:27 AM
Great article,  Kirsten! Thanks so much for sharing!!