Your picture book contains fewer than 1,000 words, but it wasn’t easy to write. In fact, some feel writing a great picture book is the most difficult task imaginable for a writer. Because every word has to count, and it has to be fun to read out loud. But writing isn’t the only thing to consider when publishing a picture book.
What else do you need to know if you’re going to publish a picture book?
1. You’re Not an Illustrator
You took some art classes in college. Have some basic understanding of colors. But you don’t draw often. And it shows.
Yet for some reason, you plan to illustrate your picture book. You think your illustrations will be good enough. That the pictures are for kids, and kids aren’t art critics. So what does it matter?
Well, it matters. A lot. Because while kids aren’t art critics, their parents are. And that’s who you’re selling to.
Besides, you worked like crazy to make your story sing. Do you really want to drag your book down with mediocre illustrations?
2. Mind the Gutter
If you plan to have full-spread illustrations, you need to be very mindful of the gutter. Don’t know what the gutter is? It’s where the left and right pages of a book meet. In a novel, the gutter is blank. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to read all the words on the inside part of the page.
When designing a picture book, the gutter is just as vital. So pay attention to it! Don’t put any important element in the middle of your images. That includes character faces, text, or anything else that is essential to the story.
Toss these things in the gutter and you may as well throw them in the trash, because they may not be seen by your audience.
3. Story Pacing through Text Placement
The third thing to consider when publishing a picture book is pacing. Pacing is the speed of your story.
Have a section you want readers to blast through? Put a big chunk of text on that page.
Want them to work through an idea slowly, plodding along and enjoying the illustrations? Put fewer words on the page.
As you move toward publication, read your book out loud, over and over. Take longer pauses between page breaks. This allows you to have the same experience readers will have.
Need things to speed up in a section? Want to slow things down? It all starts with text placement—how many words you put on a page and where you put them.
4. In Picture Books, Fonts Matter
Picture books are fun and easy to read. At least they should be.
To make sure yours is both, choose fonts wisely. Use a large font that is easy to read. Choose a font that uses the letter a, not a. (See the difference? The first has the shape that children learn to write. They’ll recognize this letter, making your book easier to read.)
Choose the wrong font and your book will miss the mark.
Yes, adults will purchase your book. Often, they’ll read your book to children. But little people will want to read your book also. Make it easier for them by using letter shapes they’re used to seeing.
5. One Last Thing to Consider When Publishing a Picture Book
Know where to find an illustrator? How to lay out your picture book? How to ensure your book will print properly? If so, you’re in good shape. Go get ’em!
If not, that’s okay. You’re a writer. Not a designer, illustrator, or publisher. And you don’t have to do it all on your own.
That’s why Argyle Fox Publishing was created. To help authors who need a little help getting to the finish line. To take great stories and turn them into published books.
So if you want help transforming your picture book manuscript into a physical book, we’re here to help. We’ll edit your picture book, lay it out, illustrate it just how you want, and publish it. Then you get all the profits.
The first step is simple. Just head to our Author Submissions page and submit your manuscript for review.