All about children's bookS

Children's books come in many sizes, but for the majority of children's books they are usually hard cover books, 24 or 32 pages in length, and are usually 8" square, 10" square, 8" x 10" or 8.5" x 11", the two latter in either horizontal or vertical format.

Note: It is worth noting that some US printers do not have the equipment to bind an 11" wide book. They can bind a 10.75" book. The width is the determining factor, so find out what your printer can do.

 
 
The books shown are two in a series, both have dust jackets and have been designed in a similar way to indicate branding and the fact they are a continuing series. The header above is the printed endsheets for both books.

The books shown are two in a series, both have dust jackets and have been designed in a similar way to indicate branding and the fact they are a continuing series. The header above is the printed endsheets for both books.

Children’s books are usually too thin to have head and tail bands. When considering a designed hard cover make sure to get a template for the cover from the printer so that the printer can show you the thickness of the spine on the template. It is very important to NOT have any ascenders or descenders going beyond the spine width or those elements will spoil the cover if they appear along the edge of the spine. If you have a 24 page book make sure your printer can handle that number of pages. He may suggest a thicker paper to increase the width of the book block.

Finally remember to include the ISBN number on the back cover of the book and also on the copyright page. If you are also making a digital or ibook you will need a unique ISBN number for that and it should be listed in the copyright page information. The same applies if you print both a hard cover and soft cover at the same time, requiring two ISBN numbers.

Some views on dust jackets

Most children's hard cover books have a printed cover protected with film lamination. Glossy film lamination does not scratch as easily as matt film lamination and sticky hand prints will wipe off easily. Dust jackets are often thrown away by schools and libraries, but those seeking awards usually include a dust jacket with the book. A dust jacket gives the author or publisher more room to highlight the story of the book. On the back flap the author and/or illustrator are highlighted, while the front flap is usually reserved for a synopsis of the story and a compelling hook to entice the reader to purchase the book to find out more.

The books shown are two in a series, both have dust jackets and have been designed in a similar way to indicate branding and the fact they are a continuing series. The header above is the printed endsheets for both books and represents “branding” for this series of books.

 


Ways to make a splash

You should consider branding your book if you are intending to print more than one in a series or you want your books to stand out. They should look like a set either by all being the same size, or by the way they are designed. Branding can include the fonts used and the design of the covers, the use of colored endsheets or designed endsheets, and special treatments to the cover, such as spot varnish or foil stamping. You can even decide on a set of colors to be used in all your covers. Branding also includes your logo.

The book illustrated has spot varnish on the cover to emphasize the design.

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Six important editing and design considerations

1. Make sure your cover is compelling. The image should make the potential buyer want to see or know more. Use type that jumps out.

2. Use very readable fonts for your target audience. The younger the audience, the simpler the fonts, with the use of simple text boxes. Don't run the text all over the page for a young reader.

3. Use vocabulary appropriate for your target age. Teachers will be looking for age appropriate vocabulary.

4. Make sure you use a professional editor, and that the final book is proofed before submitting to a printer and proofed closely again during proofing. Reread your proof completely before giving the final OK. Always check for consecutive pages and/or page numbers.

5. Make sure you have the author's name and the illustrator's name spelled correctly. Easy to overlook.

6. Use professional story editors to make sure the story is compelling and appropriate and not filled with unnecessary detail. Story editors can make the difference between a good book and a great book.

This is a book cover I designed, using an illustrator for the figures. I also had a coloring book printed, and used the same cover for branding the pair (coloring book below).