Picture Book Format and How to Format Your Manuscript

Picture book manuscript format flummoxes a lot of aspiring children’s book writers because there is so much potential variety. In my career, I have seen hundreds of examples of picture book format. To help you stand out in the slush as polished and professional, I’ve developed a picture book manuscript template handout that I’ve used over the years to really streamline and clarify the process for writers.

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Click here to download my picture book format handout as a PDF. Feel free to share!

Picture Book Format

Picture book manuscript format tends to vary WIDELY. Some writers have it down. Others think they’re paginating correctly if they allocate a separate manuscript page to each line, resulting in a 32-page Word document that contains 300 words. What if a picture book manuscript template existed? It would certainly streamline things. As is, some writers include illustration notes, others stay far away. How do you paginate a children’s book? How do you format illustration notes correctly? This resources answers those questions (and here are more thoughts on illustration notes in your children’s book manuscript).

I’ve put together a handout that answers all these questions and more. No conference or webinar attendance required! Click this link to download the PDF.

How to Publish a Picture Book

Remember that picture book format is just one small component of a successful children’s book submission. You also have your picture book query letter, and, well, the most important thing: an awesome manuscript! Don’t focus so much on picture book manuscript format that you lose sight of character, plot, and writing style. Those are going to take you a lot further than a nice-looking, polished file … but the latter certainly doesn’t hurt.

That’s why I’m offering this picture book manuscript template tool to help you cross this concern off your list.

As a picture book editor, I work with writers on all aspects of the picture book craft, from creating a compelling children’s book manuscript (in proper picture book format, of course!) to nailing the query letter. Contact me for personal, actionable advice on your project.

5 Replies to “Picture Book Format and How to Format Your Manuscript”

  1. This is very helpful. Many thanks. Finally someone who emphasizes the need for a good manuscript. No social media presence, no awesome query letter, no critique group (imagine that), just a compelling story. Easier said than done, but just write it friends.

    1. I couldn’t possibly agree more! But writers want to believe that it’s easier to control and focus on a one-page letter instead of trying to turn out a really amazing 300 pages. (Or 300 amazing words, in the form of a picture book manuscript.) I get it. Human nature at its best. But the manuscript really is the end all, be all, at the end of the day.

  2. This is wonderful, Mary 🙂 It’s funny (and frustrating) how guidelines on these things can sometimes differ e.g., with page turns vs. without, etc. And I thought always double-spaced?

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