back matter

Do I Include Back Matter in My Picture Book’s Word Count?


Dear Editor…

Should the factual back matter and references be included in the word count when I submit my picture book manuscript to editors?

Count on Me

Dear Count on Me…

I’m a fan of back matter. Bonus goodies like timelines, activities, and “More About ___” can truly enrich a book. I’m also a fan of separating the back matter word count from the main text in order to give the editor a heads up regarding the structure and balance of the project. A common way to handle that on the manuscript is to list the overall word count and then break that down in parentheses: 850 words (Main text 500, Back matter 350). Some people skip the combined number and just list the two parts. Include your references in the back matter count.

Happy writing!
The Editor

The Editor, Deborah Halverson, has been editing books for over 25 years and specializes in Middle Grade/Young Adult fiction and nonfiction, New Adult fiction, and picture books. For her editorial guidance in making your manuscript ready for submission to agents and publishers or for self-publishing, click Editorial services.