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Writer's Room => Picture Books (PB) => Topic started by: Meg707 on April 30, 2013, 06:24 AM

Title: PB Manuscript Format for Illustrators
Post by: Meg707 on April 30, 2013, 06:24 AM
I am a professional illustrator and while I've been pretty successful in other areas in the field, my goal all along has been to break into children's books! I have a few solid scripts, with roughs pages and even a few completed pages, but before I go any further I want to make sure I'm not getting ahead of myself and skipping important steps.

I've been combing the web looking over advice and formats for manuscripts, and a lot of it has been really helpful! However, the one thing I can't find anywhere is a clear example of an industry standard (or near enough) PB manuscript containing illustrations. How exactly do you submit illustrations? Not originals of course, but I read somewhere that they should be black and white when submitted? and is there a standard size/proportion for the illustrations that editors like to see (8.5x11,10x10 etc)? I've also read some places that you should submit one complete page spread along with sketches, and others say no no no absolutely not!

It's all very confusing...

I'm also wondering if the nature of my books puts me at an advantage or disadvantage. I'm a very visual person so of course all of my wips have very light scripts (150 - 200 words at most) and rely heavily on bold and colorful visuals. I'm positive that the few words I do have are really good, but will this hurt me in this submission process..?
Title: Re: PB Manuscript Format for Illustrators
Post by: Abracabarbara on April 30, 2013, 10:20 AM

I'll be brief as I am almost out the door...

If you work in color then send in color art samples. Send what you need to get all of your characters identified, send different angles and poses of the characters, send what you need to get your place(s) identified, send one or more of action. And send a few that you think are very exciting!!
Visual storytelling is key. As is expression.
Sketches (I believe) are not necessary at this stage but others may disagree.
A dummy may help but I think if they are interested they will request. Plus there will probably be so many changes it might be worth the wait.

I now send 8.5 by 11. I don't think that it matters.... but if it is really big it can be cumbersome to show around to others.

Regarding your last comment: I've heard so many times that if they love your art that has to come first. That does not mean that they will publish you. And it also means that they may not think you are the right illustrator for the MS that you wrote.

Lots of variables... just send your very best.


Title: Re: PB Manuscript Format for Illustrators
Post by: SYoon on April 30, 2013, 10:49 AM
Meg, Abracabarbara is right that there are lots of variables, and not just one-way of submitting.

I used to submit traditionally (by snail mail/fed ex mostly) when I created hand built dummies. Now, I create digital dummies (create web links or PDF files) for submission and it saves me a ton of time (since I'm no longer building multiple dummies), and lots of money (no more FedEx).  But I realize not all editors will accept digital dummies. If you have to snail mail it, then I would create a dummy since you have a ms and sketches.

Even if some of the spreads were left blank, the dummy itself helps them to see the pacing and page turns of your story with the text in the blank pages. If you are established with lots of art samples on your website, you'd need less art samples. If you are not established,... you'd need more art to show. (at least 3 finished art samples, and the rest could be sketches with complete text, for a submission dummy)

Short ms is not a problem! Plenty of PB's that have word counts in that range.  Even wordless books are popular. You have an advantage if the work is good! A disadvantage if it is not. Has nothing to do with word count.... though PB's over 800 words are harder to sell these days, I hear.

Good luck!

ETA: One more thing. As an illustrator (who also writes), I've never submitted my ms in a text-only form... like Word. (only after a book's acquisition, and the text needs to be formatted for the editor) But in submission stage, I've only designed the text into the art/sketches so it can be read as a book).
Title: Re: PB Manuscript Format for Illustrators
Post by: Meg707 on April 30, 2013, 11:22 PM
Thank you, both of you! That's really really helpful, and encouraging to hear =D
Title: Re: PB Manuscript Format for Illustrators
Post by: Wendy Martin on May 01, 2013, 05:49 AM
Meg, I created an e-book that answers all your questions and then some.

Good luck with your dummy!
Title: Re: PB Manuscript Format for Illustrators
Post by: Meg707 on May 07, 2013, 07:16 AM
Thank you Lyon! That's just what I needed, I went ahead and ordered it just now =D
Title: Re: PB Manuscript Format for Illustrators
Post by: Wendy Martin on May 08, 2013, 06:06 AM
 :love5: Good luck! :gogirl
Title: Re: PB Manuscript Format for Illustrators
Post by: Julia K. on May 08, 2013, 07:21 AM
I know it seems like there is a certain set of rules you need to follow- but honestly, all the AD's I have heard talk at conferences or looked at their guidelines, all they are really wishing for is a story and art that totally wows them- printer paper, rough, mostly sketched out, maybe one finished spread, other samples of your finished work- for snail mail- same as a PDF if sent online- what they do not like is a dummy that looks more like a finished book- since there will be changes, there are always changes. ADs and Editors rarely toss something out because the "formatting" is not correct.
Title: Re: PB Manuscript Format for Illustrators
Post by: Debbie Ridpath Ohi on May 11, 2013, 05:11 PM
On the topic of word count: the picture book I illustrated (I'M BORED, by Michael Ian Black), only had 250 words.

Not much I can add to formatting comments; the advice people have given so far is great. :-)