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Poetry Collection Manuscript Size

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Quick question: How many Microsoft Word pages should the manuscript be for a children's poetry collection?
#1 - October 04, 2014, 05:30 PM

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Hi Lily-Stejskal, I'd send a publisher 24 poems, each on a separate page, so they have a bunch from which to choose. I'd make sure all of them were centered around one theme. Good luck!

Jody
#2 - October 05, 2014, 03:48 AM
PRUDENCE, THE PART-TIME COW, A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK, IT'S YOUR FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, BUSY BUS!, THE WAY THE COOKIE CRUMBLED
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Jody's answer is good if you are aiming for a picture-book format collection, like Joyce Sidman's "Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night"--which in published form has 12 poems. But for older children, you could have considerably more. You've looked at what's out on the market, I assume? Is there a book you feel is similar to how you envision yours ending up?

There isn't one correct number of pages or poems. It really depends on your audience and the book format.
#3 - October 05, 2014, 05:47 AM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
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Thanks, guys.  I am currently envisioning a poetry collection for older children, and I am actually hoping to self publish it.  Does that make a difference in terms of how many poems/pages it should have?
I haven't looked at recent children's poetry collections.  The examples I've looked at are the collections of Shel Silverstein and Judith Viorst.  Where would be a good place to look for more recently published collections?
#4 - October 05, 2014, 06:12 PM

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You could argue that if you are self-publishing you can do what you like, but I'd argue in response that it's good to know what's working on the market, and in WHICH market. Children's poetry is a tough sell. Are you going to try to sell your book via online marketing, mostly to parents, or are you going more for schools and libraries, which will require you to have a distributor? Whatever you do, I'd advise against a general collection. Themed collections generally do better.

Have any of the poems been published in magazines such as Highlights or Cricket? That's a selling point if so.

Regarding finding more recently published collections, I'd suggest you talk to your local children's librarian and also dig through what's available at a good independent bookstore. There's not a lot being published, since there's not a lot of demand.

Good luck!
#5 - October 05, 2014, 06:31 PM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
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Thanks for the advise.  While I haven't published anything in Highlights or Cricket, I have been posting poems on my blog, which have been well received.  I might change this based on what you and other people tell me, but my tentative plan is to have some of the poems in my collection be from my blog and some of them never seen before, so both of those could be selling points.  I know only the basics of self-publishing a book, and I currently have no idea how I'm going to sell one.  I will look for advice on that both here and on the self-publishing message board.
I will try to make my self-published collection a themed collection based on what you said.  Thanks again.
#6 - October 05, 2014, 07:13 PM

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