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I have created a picture book with illustrations. What to do next?

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Hi,
I have created a picture book and worked with an illustrator for the same. I am new to the process and want to know what will I need to do next.  Do I need to get copyrights and ISBN before sending out the manuscript to publishers?  How does a picture book manuscript look like, if I also have my own illustrations? I see a lot of discussions around these topics but I am still not sure what is the correct order of doing things in my case. Any information in this regard will be very helpful. Thanks a lot in advance!
#1 - December 14, 2020, 04:30 PM

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Poonam, the steps depend on the route you want to take. If you're going the trade route, you need only submit your story, illustrations are not required and can even work against you if they aren't a professional quality. Also many editors and art directors prefer to choose their own that they think will be the best match.

If you are intending to publish it yourself, then yes, you need to get an ISBN and learn how to format your manuscript and art for publication.

See here for more information: https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?action=faq;sa=show;faqid=8

Darcy Pattison is a wonderful writer and teacher who has a wealth of information on her website on both trade and SP and all aspects of the craft of writing: https://www.darcypattison.com/ 

Best wishes on this writing journey.
#2 - December 14, 2020, 04:43 PM
Little Thief! Max & Midnight, Bound, Ten Easter Eggs & 100+ bks/mags
https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com https://bodachbooks.blogspot.com

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A couple of smaller publishers might be open to submissions that involve a partnership between an author and an illustrator, but most publishers only want to see the text, no illustrations, and you should include art notes only if they're necessary for the story. (If you're both an author and an illustrator, you can submit both, but this doesn't apply in your case since someone else did the art.)

Some publishers accept submissions directly from authors, but many only accept submissions from agents, so if you want to reach them, you'll have to query agents first. Most people recommend having at least three polished manuscripts before you start querying agents. You don't need an ISBN at this stage, and you don't need to register the copyright before you submit, either.

If you decide to self-publish, everything is different. You need to supply the art, so you can use the art you have, and you'll need to register the copyright and get the ISBN, along with formatting, distribution, marketing and everything else.  I'm not completely sure on the order, but the next step would probably be to decide which self-publishing platform you're going to use (IngramSpark, KDP, etc.) and see what their process is.

If you're hoping to sell the manuscript to a traditional publisher, this probably isn't what you want to hear. You might consider separating the text from the art and submitting the text only. (As long as you have the full rights to do so. I'm not sure what kind of arrangement you have with the illustrator.) Alternatively, you might try to look for a small publisher who accepts author/illustrator partnerships -- it's far from the norm but I've heard of it once or twice.

There's a lot to learn when you're starting out, but you've come to the right place. Good luck!

#3 - December 14, 2020, 05:55 PM
STORY MAGIC (Jolly Fish Press 2020)
DEAD BOY (Crown BFYR 2015)
MONSTER, HUMAN, OTHER (Crown BFYR 2017)

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You have great info above. Here are two things to think about and some more ideas.

Have you had your manuscript critiqued?

Is the illustrator a professional artist?

These are important if you plan to publish traditionally. We all have blind spots that make us see our work as perfect. Here's a great website to visit to learn the basics of this business: https://www.underdown.org/.

You might also join SCBWI (who owns this board) to learn more. They are the professional organization for people who write and illustrate for children.
#4 - December 14, 2020, 06:14 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

Thanks everyone for your responses. I have worked with a professional illustrator and would not want to separate the artwork from my book.
If not acceptable, I will go the self-publish route.
If I have to keep my own illustrations, what should be included in my manuscript?
#5 - January 19, 2021, 12:22 PM

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You and your illustrator are free to submit together as a team. Your packet should contain your cover letter, the manuscript, 1-2 pieces of finished art, 3-4 sketches, a dummy that shows how you've laid it all out. Good luck.
#6 - January 19, 2021, 04:29 PM
Little Thief! Max & Midnight, Bound, Ten Easter Eggs & 100+ bks/mags
https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com https://bodachbooks.blogspot.com

Thanks a lot Vijaya for your inputs. Can you elaborate a little bit more on what is the difference between finished art and sketches? And what should each contain? Will Manuscript be the only the entire text of the book? (In my case it will just be 10 lines).
#7 - January 20, 2021, 04:36 PM

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Finished art means just that--finished, with color. And sketches are roughs, usually in pen or pencil. I hope some illustrators chime in. And yes, manuscript is your entire text and if it's 10 lines, it's 10 lines.
#8 - January 20, 2021, 05:16 PM
Little Thief! Max & Midnight, Bound, Ten Easter Eggs & 100+ bks/mags
https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com https://bodachbooks.blogspot.com

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The dummy should contain the text along with sketches of the art and two completed spreads. This shows the publishing house how the story will be laid out and gives them a sense of what the finished art may look like but does not make it seem like you and the artist won't be open to changing things.
#9 - January 20, 2021, 06:07 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

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Google, "picture book dummy", to see a number of examples of different ways to lay one out. The roughness of it being pencil sketches demonstrates, as Debbie says, you and the Illustrator understand that most likely the text will likely change and thus so will the art, if the manuscript is acquired.
 
#10 - January 21, 2021, 04:35 AM
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This is all terrific information and I'll be using your links. I'm looking to put out the 2nd edition of my self-published picture book. Since launch time is a factor I'd like to pay someone for editing and would rather have the money go to someone within this organization than a larger company if possible. Regardless, do you have any recommendations?
#11 - February 14, 2021, 10:17 AM

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I think you'll find a few thread in the work for hire area where someone has posted seeking an editor. I'm on a deadline tonight or I'd search for you, but I know they are there.
#12 - February 14, 2021, 05:58 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

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