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40 page, 32 page, any page

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I have been wondering about this for a while.

I know that typical PB lengths are 32, 40, 48 (in descending order - the "8's" because of the signatures). I can see benefits of my book at both 32 pages and 40 pages - although I would be eager to show the 40-page version as well.

As a debut author & illustrator, I am wondering if I should submit/query both a 32-page and 40-page version (in the same query, with dummies included). I know a 32-page would be the "safe" bet. I'm worried about, wondering about, would a debut author submitting only a 40-page PB instantly be turned away. Or, to "compromise" if submitting a 32-page and 40-page version in the same query would be odd.

Thanks!
#1 - April 05, 2019, 04:23 PM
« Last Edit: April 05, 2019, 04:25 PM by austin-diamond »

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Hi Austin,

I'm concerned that you think the book works equally well in both formats. My guess is that one actually makes for the stronger manuscript. Submit the stronger version. Do not submit both at once.  I think it would come off as amateurish, be asking the editor or agent to do what you should be able to do yourself, select the better version. Perhaps you can have some critique partners help you decide which version is strongest.

You can also post the manuscript in the crit boards here https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?board=121.0. I hope this helps.
#2 - April 05, 2019, 06:44 PM
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OK, as a corollary, then, do you think a debut author/illustrator would be instantly turned away (or at least looked at with significantly more scrutiny) if they submitted a 40-page PB, instead of 32?
#3 - April 05, 2019, 08:46 PM

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Without having read/seen the story, I'd go with subbing the more common 32pg as a new Author/Illustrator. 40 pgs are more expense for the publisher and you don't want to give them any unnecessary reason to say no :) If accepted, you can always let the editor know you have a second version, should they wish to see it.
But I'm with Debbie about getting the opinions of any critic partners. It sounds like you think the 40 pg is telling a better story? If so seriously examine why and what you think the 32 is lacking. It might be that subbing the 40pgs is worth the risk.
#4 - April 06, 2019, 03:15 AM
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I agree with Debbie that you should only submit one, and submit the one that's the strongest. I don't think 40 pages would be a deal breaker if they liked the book. Sometimes a PB needs 40 pages for pacing. It you can wedge it into 32 pages, but the story is better in 40, then submit the 40 page version. A lot of PBs these days are 40 pages. Plus, the number of pages to tell the story for a 40 page illustrated endpaper book and a 32 page self ended book aren't that different. Just make sure you count right! Tara Lazar has a good guide for pages and picture book dummies on her site.
#5 - April 08, 2019, 08:46 AM
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Austin, you've rec'd great advice. Go with your strongest version. I remember Fiona Bayrock's Bubble Homes and Fish Farts--I believe she subbed it as a std. 32-page PB but it's a whopping 48 pages with excellent back matter. Beautiful and fun book. Publisher is Charlesbridge.
#6 - April 08, 2019, 10:15 AM
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