QUESTION: I would like to submit a children's book manuscript for the WV Writers contest. How are such manuscripts formatted? I don't have an illustrator, so do I need to describe the illustrations I would like? How many pages should it be? Help!
ANSWER: Great question. You may have a great idea for a children's picture book, but unless you do some research, you may not know how to format it. To answer this question, I've turned to award-winning children's book writer Anna Egan Smucker.
To answer your question, children's picture books are submitted as just the words (unless someone is also an extremely talented illustrator like Chris Van Allsburg). The major publishers are the ones who find the illustrators for their books. With a good picture book manuscript, the editor will be able to "see" the pictures in the author's words.
An excellent and quite comprehensive site for information on writing for children is www.haroldunderdown.org . In the following link Underdown explains the following genres Picture Books and Easy Readers Other links on the site deal with the middle grade and young adult genres.
Hope this helps!
All the best,
Again, if you have an illustrator, you're welcome to send photocopies of the art for your book along with your entry. But traditionally with major publishers, as Anna points out, art is not accepted and is therefore completely optional.