Designing a children’s book is not that easy. Online printers such as Amazon and Bol have special programs for this that you can download. But when you start with the self publishing process it can be a pain. This is not what you had in mind when you wanted to write a children’s book. Below I share a few tips that may make it a little bit easier and less stressful for you.

Choosing the right format for your children’s book can be a challenge. When you publish at Amazon or Ingramsparks, you are of course stuck to their fixed sizes. But even then they offer many different sizes. With a printer you can choose your own size but then the cost will play a role in your choice. How do you choose the best format for your book? Start in your local library where you can find different sizes of books. Pick a few books from the shelf and see how it feels, how it looks, how it weighs in your hand. The choice also depends on the age category, the type of book and the story. Perhaps a vertical format works better with the story you have written than a horizontal format. I’m always a big fan of a square format but that is only because I feel that a square format is in balance, it is something personal. A square format can disappear back into a bookcase while a horizontal format sticks out above it and a vertical format sticks out at the front (or is put on its side).

When you made your choice about the format, you can now get started with a storyboard. Each box, on this A4 paper, stands for a page in your book. A standard children’s book consists of 32 pages. By using a storyboard, you can enter per page which text and illustration will appear on the page so that you can check whether it is going smoothly. If you have set up your storyboard perfectly from the start, it will save you a lot of time and frustration for later. Also for your illustrator.

Download an example of a 32 pages storyboard here.

When you want to design your book yourself, the choice of font is also an important aspect to dig into. Which font fits your book, how big should it be and what is the lining? A few examples are: Arno Pro, Palatino Linotype, Book Antiqua, Georgia, Goudy Old Style, Adobe Garamond Pro, Bookman, Century Schoolbook. Or maybe you like a more playful font. Take a look at these fonts: Sassoon Primary or Tuffy Infant.

The illustrations that you make for your children’s book, or that your illustrator has made for your book, should also be taken into consideration when you make your storyboard. Text and illustrations must be perfectly coordinated to ensure that the story runs smoothly. A good children’s book illustrator knows that the illustrations are an addition to the story and not so much a repetition of what the text says. The illustrations provided by your illustrator, or that you have made yourself, must have a high resolution of at least 300 dpi and are CMYK, making them suitable for printing. A good book illustrator knows these requirements.

In the end all elements are coming together; the story, the illustrations, the fonts and the layout, together in the design of your book. Now it will become clear whether all the preliminary work has been done properly and you will see whether the book will be as you had in mind. Before you upload everything to Amazon or send it to a printer, make a dummy of your book so that you see how the final result will be. Do not forget to make the front and back cover in a separate document. A cover must draw the attention from a distance because books are simply judged on their cover. I will tell more about this in a next blog. Are you completely satisfied? Then create a certified PDF with three millimeters bleed and upload your book or send the document to the printer.

Are you not sure about the steps? Then ask for help! I can offer you all sorts of assistance during this proces designing your children’s book!

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