Q. Should I write a picture book or a chapter book?
A. There are two factors to consider:

1. the main character’s age
2. the length of your story.

The main character’s age is the first item to check.

  • If the main character is a preschool child, then a picture book is the best choice for your story.
  • If the main character is age 6-8, you can write for either format. There are picture books for ages 6-8 and there are chapter books for ages 6-8.

Q. If I am writing for ages 6-8, how do I choose between a picture book and a chapter book?
A. The length of your story for ages 6-8 will determine whether you are writing a picture book or a chapter book.

The ideal word count for a picture book is less than 500 words. (Some picture books are as long as 800 words.) In a chapter book, 500-800 words only fill ONE chapter and most editors want to see TEN chapters.

Sometimes it’s hard to figure out where your story idea fits best. If you make it shorter, it could fit into a picture book. And if you make it longer it could fit into a chapter book. (Been there, done that!)

The real question is, how much detail do you want to add? Can you tell the story with just a few key details? That fits into a picture book.


A chapter book is often TEN times longer than a picture book. If you have multiple scenes in mind, the chapter book format will give you the room you need to add all of the details and all of the scenes you envision.


Still can’t decide? Read new picture books and new chapter books just like your book. One format isn’t better than the other — it’s just a matter of finding the right place for your story.

Copyright © 2016 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.