As a book illustrator or a publisher, we are all confused about the various children's books and formats that are available in the market. If you want to achieve success in book illustration and market your books, you should understand all the genres and formats that picture books come in. When you want to publish your illustrations, these vital points may be helpful when you submit your manuscript to the publisher. When you want to publish your work, you need to give your specifications regarding the format and genre of the book. Some of the tips given below might help you in choosing the right format for your book.
Board books for children
In the wide variety of picture books, board books are meant for babies and toddlers. These types of books are mainly for babies to play with them. So, they undergo a lot of wear and tear as the child may tear them, bite them, throw them as they please or dribble on them. So, these books are made of cardboard that is thick and ends up with a glossy finish to make them strong to overcome wear and tear. These books are smaller and sized square. These books are tough and strongly made. The book has ten pages or more and may contain 200 to 300 words, and this depends on the publisher. The subject matter for these books is kept very simple with a not so complex plot and setting as these books are meant to be used by babies and toddlers and young children. The illustrations are brightly coloured and attractive to captivate the child and keep him engrossed.
Picture books for young children (approx. age 3 to 8 years)
Picture books that fall into this category are for children in the age group of three to eight years. The child enters an early reading stage and is steadily developing his reading skills. The reader can concentrate more and can read it for extended periods. They contain more words that are placed approximately between four hundred to nine hundred range and longer sentences which can be understood by older children. The number pages for a standard picture book may be 32 or in the multiples of 8, since technically speaking the picture books are printed on single large page and then are folded and collected to form the pages of an illustrated book.
They are called picture books because illustrations may dominate text or may be equally placed like the text. The quality of picture books can be measured in terms of the proportion of text and images that are set; they should balance one another. Words alone would be insufficient to tell the story, so illustrations play an integral part of the story by relating the story by pictures. Picture books are written on a wide variety of topics and follow various styles. They are simple without any complex plots or sub plots and no twists and turns in the storyline. These picture books are written from the children’s point of view and have a single major character and they empathize with the child’s feelings.
Picture books for beginners and for easy reading
These picture books are meant for children from age six to eight, these children might be able to read the book on their own without the help of adults. They have about 3 to 5 sentences and very few chapters and each chapter are subdivided into one or more pages. The storyline is simple and very predictable, the grammar and vocabulary are simple too. The story is narrated with dialogue and action and the setting is simple with a description of characters. The themes that are covered are simple like pets, friends, family, animals, school settings etc. These books are full of colour illustrations to entice the child to view them. Illustrations in these types of books are not so vital to the story. This type of picture book assists the young reader to improve their reading skills and move on to more mature picture books that they can read when they grow up. The length of these books can be varied; large books have more than 1000 pages and small ones as low have 200. These books are customarily used in kindergarten until the third grade. Many publishers offer various brands of picture books with different reading levels to cater to the needs of several children. So, the teachers and parents can choose from a wide variety of books that are most suitable for the reading levels of children.
Chapter books belong to the category of grownups. Generally, these are meant for children around seven or ten years of age who can read it independently without the assistance of an adult. Children can really enjoy these books as they read them with a sense of pride as they enter the category of grownup books. These types of books, when compared to baby books or easy readers, are more complex with a greater number of words and bigger sentences. There are small paragraphs and the plot and setting are a little more complex. There is a small element of suspense and attractive images are used to sustain the interest of the child all the way to the end. The length of the book may vary from four thousand to ten thousand words or more. The book may contain about forty to sixty pages, but the publisher has the last word. Sometimes publishers publish a series of chapter books and most of them have become very popular and successful in the market.
There are also many other genres and formats that you can choose from. You choose what suits your needs best. If you want to publish your own picture book, it's better that you do thorough research on the internet and only then begin your work. If you are going to publish books that does cater to the masses then surely you won’t be able to market them successfully.