Thursday, March 3, 2011
Why should a picture book be 32 pages?
Some people look at children's books like Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat and say, "I could write a picture book. How hard can it be?" True, the word count of a picture book is much less than an epic novel, but few people understand how much work goes into such a small amount of words.
In doing research for my own picture books, I ran across an excellent article that details the process of putting the physical hard cover picture book together. Because of the way a book is made, there are restrictions when it comes to the amount of pages the book can have.
Read the article here.
Basically, a book has to be bound in large sheets of paper that, when fastened into a book becomes the front and back and takes up 4 pages when read as a book. The sets of paper are usually bound in groups of 4 papers which equal 16 pages (called a signature). Books are often bound in 2 signatures which equals 32 pages. Adding a different number of pages requires more money which the publisher does not want to pay.
When I write a picture book, it helps me to know that after the title page and copyright, etc. I will have a certain number of pages in which to write my book. It's helpful to have restrictions so that I can plan accordingly and envision what the book will look like in a spread with illustrations.
Amazing what goes on behind the scenes of anything we do!