Guidelines for Authors and Simplifying Texts

The Narrative

Aim for between 50 and 300 words.

Books with more text (e.g. 400 words) can be divided into chapters.

A page of text should have between one and four sentences.

Each page of text should be accompanied by an image.


Use this simple word order: subject, verb, object

Do not join sentences.

Try using single-word sentences in dialogue.

Inflectional morphology

Write in simple present tense.


Avoid them


Avoid personal pronouns such as ‘he’ and ‘she’ and instead use names.

Don’t use pronouns without semantic content such as ‘there’ and ‘it’.

Adverbs and Adjectives

Don’t use these. Find other ways to show time and to show attributes.  

Nouns and verbs

Use words you know or think beginning readers already know.


Use short words with one or two consonant-vowel-consonant syllables.


Use words that do not contain silent letters and whose spelling is regular.

Guidlines for Artists

In most cases, images can and should be added once the book’s text is in its final, post-edited version.

The role of images in simple fiction books for adults   
  • To enhance the text
  • To add details not in the text such as a clock to show time
  • To support the text, e.g. by showing the story’s characters
Don’ts for images in simple fiction books for adults
  • Avoid telling the story that’s in the text
  • Not childish
  • Not old-fashioned
  • Not like images in informational brochures
  • Not as complex or abstract as images for those who are highly literate
Dos for images in simple fiction books for adults
  • Professional
  • Creative and artistic
  • Colourful
Layout considerations
  • Unified style within each book
  • On facing pages, text with several sentences on one page and image on the other
  • Incorporating a text in an image.
  • Use just part of a whole or zoom in
Sources of images

(Simply Stories can’t use what’s under copyright unless you hold copyright)

  • Out of copyright paintings
  • Other non-proprietary images
  • Photographs you take
  • Use photoshop, etc., to mask identity of people and/or for various effects
  • Simply Stories can’t use images under copyright (unless you hold the copyright)
Don’t forget the cover  

Simply Stories logo will be on the cover along with an image, title of the book and author and artist names