Publishing a Children’s Book? Read this first!

How wonderful! Here are some important things you need to know before you begin.

Where to begin!

Talk to an experienced children’s book designer or publisher

Hello! I have experience as a children’s book designer and publisher, and working with a number of illustrators and commercial children’s book printers. Here’s some helpful tips that you might find useful to get you started. If you would like more information, please contact me.

Before you hire an illustrator…

Not just any artist

There are certain abilities required in a children’s book illustrator that not all artists understand or have experience with.

The ability to be consistent is important. The artist will need to know how to keep a consistent style throughout the book. If the artist is drawing or painting the art on paper or canvas, the choice of paper matters, and all art should be created on the same size and kind of paper. Color palettes, hue, saturation, and brightness need to be considered and followed throughout the book. The artist will also need to be able to draw and redraw a book’s characters so that each character is distinct and recognizable throughout the book.

Working with an experienced children’s book illustrator will give you the best results. And having an illustrator who lives nearby so that you can meet with them in person is helpful, but not mandatory.

Size and page counts matter

It’s very important to determine the trim size of your book before your illustrator begins creating the art for your book.
Choosing the trim size will dictate the dimensions needed for the illustrations.

A visit to a bookstore or library to look at children’s books in the intended age group for your book is a fun outing and very educational. Take your ruler and take notes!

There are standard trim sizes and page counts for different age levels for children’s books. Keeping within standard trim sizes will allow your book to be easily printed by a variety of different vendors. Bookstores who will want your book to fit in and sit on the shelf next to other books of its age level and subject.

Young children’s picture books have specific page counts to consider. Standard page counts include a minimum of 24, 32, 36, 40, and 48. Standard practice usually requires a title page at the beginning of the book. At the beginning or end, you also might like a page or two for your copyright statement, ISBN, etc., and room for optional information, such as: About This Book, About the Author, About the Illustrator, Fun Facts, For Teachers or Parent, etc. Factor these into your chosen page count.

Make a “dummy” or “mockup” to help you.

You can take pieces of paper and rough sketch your ideas for what art you want to see on the same page as the text. Use stick figures, circles and squares — this is not the time for detailed drawings.

Have the rough text of the book in a Word document, put some extra space between each paragraph, print the document out, and cut into strips that can be used to help create a “dummy” or “mockup” of what you have in mind for your book. Take the strips of paper with your text on it, and paste it on the paper with your rough sketches.

Example of a dummy:

Finished pages:
final art

If the art is to appear as a “spread” — meaning visible on facing pages, crossing the binding, it will need to be created with that proportional dimension in mind, and knowing that the area where the art crosses the binding should not have any imaging pertinent to the story that might partially “disappear” into the bind.

Art should be created on paper larger than the book’s trim size, and proportional to the trim size. It can always be scaled down, and usually, when it is scaled down, the details of the art become crisper when printed.

There’s more! Contact me with any questions you have at the beginning of your project!

Happy Creating!