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Manuscript that is highly dependent upon illustrations

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Hello. I'm feeling very stuck!  How do I know that the agent or publisher that I send the MS to  will know what s going on without numerous art notes? Is it ok to add them where necessary?I've heard it's ok, but I just read a post here stating that it's not good to add art notes. Without art notes I'm afraid the MS won't make much sense in certain parts.

Thank you for your input!

Sarah

#1 - December 06, 2020, 04:58 PM

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Hi Sarah, I'd absolutely add the art notes if they're essential for clarity. If it's something that relates to the whole MS, you could put a note at the top; alternatively you could add notes throughout as needed. As long as the narrative is clear and you're still leaving room for the illustrator to work their magic, I think you're fine. :)

If your story has an unusual structure or conceit, it might also be worth making a note about that in your cover letter so potential agents or editors are primed for what follows.

Best of luck with the MS!
#2 - December 06, 2020, 06:01 PM
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Agreed.

If the story will make no sense without art notes, i.e. the opposite thing is happening on the page than the text states, etc., then include the notes. I've read a blog post somewhere where the writer states that she considers art notes more like "action notes." What agents and editors don't want to see are notes indicating a color of something if it's not essential to the story, how the character looks, etc.

Just be absolutely sure your notes are ESSENTIAL for the story to make sense. And be sparse with them. Agents, editors, and illustrators are professionals and they can probably understand the story more than you think. :-)
#3 - December 06, 2020, 06:33 PM
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As said above simple clarifying notes are fine. It's when the notes prescribe the art that there is a problem. For example: {Note: Hen is sheep in disguise} vs {Note: Oversized hen is actually a black sheep in disguise}. The first contains unnecessary info. The illustrator will figure out what size a sheep dressed as a hen would have to be and the sheep's color doesn't matter. If it did, it should be in the main text or a note up front.
#4 - December 06, 2020, 08:17 PM
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You've received good advice. If you want to see an example, Linda Ashman has several examples on her website. Her book RAIN is such a delight. See how she wrote it here: https://lindaashman.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/RAIN_Submission.pdf
Over on Picture Book Builders blog, many authors and illustrators generously share how their books came to be: https://picturebookbuilders.com/
Happy reading and writing.
#5 - December 07, 2020, 06:16 AM
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Thank you so much! I appreciate the feedback. Very helpful.
Sarah
#6 - December 08, 2020, 06:54 AM

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