General guidelines for children’s books
Editors and agents prefer you submit your manuscript in 14 point Times New Roman.
Target age: Birth to 8, with many aimed at 6-year-olds
Protagonist’s age: the age of your reader, or a year or two older
Length: Usually 32 published pages (i.e., your manuscript should be 5 - 7 typed, double-spaced pages)
MIDDLE GRADE CHAPTER BOOKS:
Target age: 9 - 11 (4th - 6th grade)
Protagonist’s age: 11 to 14
Length: Page counts range from 96 to 200+
YOUNG ADULT NOVELS
Target age: 11 - 14 (6th - 9th grade)
Protagonist’s age: 15 to 16
Length: Pages range from 100 to 400+
A word of advice
Whatever kind of children’s book you’re writing—Picture books, Middle Grade chapter books, Young Adult novels—read lots of them! Read the classics, but also read the books that have been published recently. Go to bookstores and scan the shelves. Find out what publishers are publishing now!
Resources - Books and Websites
Children’s Writers and Illustrator Market - 2007 edition
A must-have for any children’s author. Contains over 700 children’s book publishers and magazines for children, submission guidelines, and much useful information such as how to compose a query letter.
Writer’s Market online
The constantly updated online version of the comprehensive list of book publishers and magazines. (By subscription)
SCBWI (Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators)
A professional organization for writers and illustrators of children’s books.
About: Children’s Books
An excellent resource for reviews and information about current and classic children’s books.
ElfmanWorld - The Official Website of Eric Elfman
My official fan site. Find information about my books, as well as weekly “Gross Nuggets,” “Scary Morsels,” and “UFO Tidbits”!