Children’s picture book is a huge area of growth for self-publishers. It’s like everybody’s got a grandmother that told a story or a great grandmother and the story’s been passed down and, you know, a combination of that story, plus an illustration, all of a sudden you have an illustrated book.
Chapter 7: Illustrated Children's Books
Where is page one in my children’s picture book? Not this, not this, not this. These are the endpapers. Your page one is here. It is a right-hand page. This is page one of your children’s picture book.
What kind of paper should I use with my children’s book, my illustrated children’s book? OK, the trade books, you narrow it…you know, you’re looking at it like the 50-pound…the offsets, your uncoated paper. The children book, you want to use a coated paper, OK?
What trim size should I use for my children’s book? That’s another question that comes up. OK, and just like trade books, the children’s book have standard sizes also. I mean you just have to really walk into the bookstore and take a look and you’ll see. Alright, you don’t want to…you want to stick with the standards. I mean there’s basically three different ones. There’s basically a square size which is 8 x 8 and there’s an upright size which is either 8 x 10 or 8 1/2 x 11 and there’s an oblong size which is usually 10 x 8, meaning that it binds on the 8-inch side.
What kind of binding should I use for my children’s book, my illustrated children’s book? Generally, you’d think that you would go to paperback first because it’s less expensive, OK? In this case, with the self-publishing, you’re much better starting off with the hard cover version, OK, and this the reason.
Endpapers, again, are the front of the book and the back of a book of a hardcover book. It is not the cover. It is not the inside of the book. They are four pages at front and back that hold the book together, OK? The front endpaper is a four-page item.
What are the parts of a hardcover children’s book? Let’s start with the outside. This is what we call a case and we call it a case and not a cover because it’s actually…it has a board, OK? It’s hard, unlike a paperback book which just has paper, OK?
Some children’s picture books do not have endpapers that are separate. We call these self-ended books. That means that if your book is 24 or 32 pages, page 1 and page 24 or 32 are glued down and you don’t see them. This is different than a hardcover book which has endpapers and it allows you to have four-color endpapers. It does look a little bit different but it does give you that option.
How do I count my pages on a self-ended children’s picture book? Unlike one with endpapers, you actually count every page inside the book. One is behind this page. It does not print. It glues down to the cover and that is page one. This is 2, this is 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, all the way to the end and you probably have 22, 23 and the last page, 24, is white. It does not print and it is glued down to the cover.
How can I make one-color endpapers look special? One color, which is printing in PMS, is usually a solid color but you can use gradations of that color as here or here and you have a visual that is more than one color. That’s how they can look special.
Should my children’s hardcover book have a jacket? I’m asked this all the time and it is really a very subjective answer. Some people think a jacket makes a book appear more valuable. It certainly does cost more. It costs more to do the design for it and you also have to manufacture it. Many parents tell me, “I buy a book with a jacket and the first thing I do is I take it off.” So it’s up to you but again, it does cost more to do it and you should just consider that when you’re making that decision.
How do I figure out my pages in my children’s picture book? Every page in a children’s book should four-color, first of all. You’re using all the pages you want and it’s typically 24 pages or 32 pages and the most important thing to remember is your book starts with a single right-hand page.
How do I put my endpapers together? An endpaper at front and back of a hardcover book is basically a four-page item, 1, 2, 3 and 4. The front endpaper, one who’s down to the board and you do not see it, 2 and 3 will print and four will be blank, facing the first page of your text. On the back endpaper, the reverse is true. Page one, which is blank faces the last page of the text, 2 and 3 are printed and page four, you do not see is glued down to the case.
As for copyright pages on children’s picture books, they can go on one of two places. They will be following the title page or they could be the very last page of the book and that’s usually page 24 or 32.
How do I count my pages in a children’s book? Same as in a regular book, all books start on the right-hand page and all books end on the left-hand page. All books are in even number of pages. Children’s books are usually 24 or 32 pages. So if you have a book, you will start with a right-hand page. Remember, in a hardcover, you are not counting the endpapers and then you will end on a left-hand page, not counting the endpapers.
This is Ron Pramschufer, and welcome to Publishing Basic Radio, where, weekly, we try to help you navigate the self-publishing minefield. Before we get into our main topic, I read a statement that I think I saw on the web site that thousands of people have written children’s picture books that will never be published. Nothing’s wrong with the books; many are very good, but the barriers are too high. Just what are these barriers that these authors face?