Writing a picture book manuscript

How to improve your craft WK 1: Writing "up" to kids rather than writing down to them. You can access it anytime.

Writing a picture book manuscript

Perhaps for this reason, many people are confused about how to submit a picture book manuscript. I receive a constant stream of questions on topics such as how to include illustration notes with the manuscript, how to find an illustrator for a manuscript, and how to present a "package" of manuscript and illustrations.

The comments that follow should answer the most common questions that come up in this difficult area. This article can be read as a whole, or just by scrolling down to the questions that interest you.

Do I need to find an illustrator? No, the publisher selects the illustrator. Even though picture books end up with text and illustration seeming to be inseparable, many of them start out as manuscripts, and stay in that form until after a publisher offers a contract to the author.

Only then does the publisher select an illustrator, who will typically receive half of the royalties for the book. The publisher works with the illustrator through sketching, layout, and final illustrations, and may not involve the author much in the process.

Authors are often unhappy about that, but it's done to let the illustrator develop his or her own vision.

For more on this, read this article, written by an illustrator: Publishers generally do not expect or need illustration notes or suggestions to accompany a picture book manuscript. Editors are used to working with these manuscripts in unillustrated form, and can visualize how they would be illustrated, and the book laid out, without any help from the author.

In fact, since they are used to working with such manuscripts, they are likely to be better able to visualize a given manuscript than that manuscript's author. Any illustrator who may be assigned a manuscript will also be able to think about it visually. Authors and illustrators bring different skills to a picture book, and just as a writer does not need writing suggestions from an illustrator, an illustrator does not need illustration suggestions from a writer.

writing a picture book manuscript

Above all, the illustrator does not need descriptions of a setting or a person; though the author may imagine them one way, it is the illustrator's job to bring them to life. The result can be both surprising and pleasing to the author, as the illustrator takes the illustrations beyond what the writer had been able to imagine.

There are occasions when notes to the editor or illustrator may be necessary. If the story relies on visual irony, for example, with the text saying one thing, and the illustrations showing the reality, a writer can say so--but it is best to do this in a cover letter, and to resort to a note in the manuscript only if absolutely necessary.

There may be surprises revealed when a page is turned, for example, in which case a short bracketed note may suffice.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

In final manuscripts, double parentheses are traditionally used for notes, as they mean "DNS" or "do not set. In a folktale or a story with an historical setting, objects or clothing unfamiliar to today's readers may appear.

There is no need to describe them in the body of the text, or to include a lengthy note to the illustrator: This point leads into the next question: Can I include visual reference materials? For historical fiction, nonfiction picture books, or folktales, visual references can be helpful.

If a writer comes across potentially useful materials while researching her story, she should make a note of the source, or even make copies.Many books, websites and newsletters for writers can give you advice on formatting your manuscript.

Formatting means how your manuscript appears on the page--what it looks like to the reader. Your formatting need not be elaborate. Online Self Publishing Book & eBook Company - Lulu34,+ followers on Twitter. Writing a picture book is easy.

Writing a good picture book is hard. Yes, they are short — the majority of picture books published today have fewer than 1, words.

Search this site

But picture books are an art form. Writing a good one requires as much attention as any serious piece of fiction. Picture books meld text and illustration: in a successful picture book, it's hard to imagine one without the benjaminpohle.coms for this reason, many people are confused about how to submit a picture book manuscript.

Picture Book Formatting Checklist. 12pt Times New Roman, black, regular. (I know ZERO editors who prefer Courier! Place your contact details on the upper left of first page: Your name. Your address. Place the word count at upper right. E.g.

Leave inches, or cm, between your details and the title. The only difference between a board book or picture book submission and a chapter book submission is that you add a centered chapter header under the title on the first manuscript page, and on the first page of every subsequent chapter.

Picture Book Manuscripts and Illustrations