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Pages of a Picture Book

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Hi, All,

I working with a client who hired an illustrator. According to the illustrator the 32 pages of a picture book includes the book cover and back cover, leaving 30 interior pages for front matter, story/illustrations, and back matter.

Is this correct?

I was under the impression that the book cover and back cover weren't part of the 32 pages.

Thank you for your help,
Karen
#1 - August 15, 2018, 03:15 PM

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32 pages are pages (paper), which is actually derived from the old printing presses taking eight large pages which hold multiple book pages. So the covers are not included. Here are some references:
https://taralazar.com/2009/02/22/picture-book-construction-know-your-layout/
http://www.darcypattison.com/writing/picture-books/picture-book-standards-32-pages/
It could help to look at some published picture books to visualize this. (Some books are different, but usually still multiples of eight - e.g. 24 pages)
#2 - August 15, 2018, 04:27 PM
I've Got Eyes! - Amicus Ink

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A 32 page picture book is roughly 22-23 pages for the story if there are illustrated end papers (self ended). There are around 28-30 pages for the story if the book doesn't have end papers (solid color end papers). The count varies depending on number of pages for title and © copyright, usually 2-3 pages. Picture book page counting is weird.

The book is usually printed on a signature of 8 pages, which when folded = 16 pages. Two signatures = 32 page book. Many books these days are 40 pages, which is two and a half signatures. 

Tara Lazar has a good explanation with pictures on her site (link below) but only has a half page for © copyright and a half page for the title page. Many books have the title on a spread by itself and the © copyright on a separate page. Picture books used to have more front matter with a half title page and a full title page in addition to the © copyright page. Haven't seen that in a while.

https://taralazar.com/2009/02/22/picture-book-construction-know-your-layout/

If this is for a self published picture book, I'm not sure what the page count would be. That would depend on the way the book is printed. Not sure if it's the same for self publishing and trade publishing.

Cross-posted with JulieM!
#3 - August 15, 2018, 04:39 PM
« Last Edit: August 15, 2018, 04:51 PM by Stephanie Ruble »
Site - http://sruble.com
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picture book: EWE AND AYE (now available as an ebook!)

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Stephanie and Julie, thank you for your help. I didn't think the covers were included!

I read Tara's article and a few others. Some are actually contradictory, including the covers in the count. I also looked at a number of picture books. Just wanted to make EXTRA sure!

Thank you, again!  :thankyou


#4 - August 15, 2018, 06:35 PM

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Glad it was helpful!

p.s. The cover is not technically included, but it can be included when counting because the page has to be pasted down, so the pasted down side can be counted as the cover (even though, again, not technically the cover).

For example, I count page one (and the last page, either 32 or 40) as the covers so that I have all the pages and parts I have to illustrate accounted for when illustrating a book. I always design my books with illustrated end papers, even though the publisher may not want to do them.

If not doing illustrated end papers, I start the count as page one for the title page (1/2 title, not spread in this case, as the solid color end papers don't get printed on). Like Tara's example of a colored ends layout, but I switch the title and © pages. Then page 32 is a half page on the end with the other solid color page in the back facing it.

f I am writing and not illustrating, I start counting from page 6-7. Page 6 = © and page 7 = start of story in this scenario, though the publisher might change page count depending on how they want to design the book and where they want to put front/back matter.

Hope that's not too much info and helps to clear up the confusion!
#5 - August 15, 2018, 07:59 PM
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picture book: EWE AND AYE (now available as an ebook!)

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Thanks, Stephanie,

That does help explain why illustrators would include the covers in the count. As a writer, I worry about what's in between those covers and how many pages I have to actually work with. I've been working within 26 pages for story text and illustrations.  Even though most of my clients self-publish, I create a manuscript using standard publishing guidelines. Want to make sure quality flows into the self-publishing arena!

Thanks so much!
Karen
#6 - August 16, 2018, 06:50 AM

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That sounds like a good plan, Karen. Good luck!
#7 - August 16, 2018, 10:04 AM
Site - http://sruble.com
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picture book: EWE AND AYE (now available as an ebook!)

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