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Genres & Age Categories => Picture Books (PB) => Topic started by: WhatAmIDoing on January 28, 2015, 11:06 AM

Title: New to Board and Questions
Post by: WhatAmIDoing on January 28, 2015, 11:06 AM
Hi Everyone,

I'm new to this message board (and, really, all internet message boards so please let me know if I am committing any etiquette breaches!).

I am working on my first picture book and I have two questions for which I haven't been able to find any answers and would love some insight.

(1) I am not an illustrator and am planning on submitting my transcript without pictures, however, I am relying on some of the illustrations to advance the plot.  I have been working with PowerPoint and have been including 'illustration notes' and crude drawings on each slide.  How could I go about including this illustration information on the manuscript that I submit?

(2) My story has end notes (I realize this sounds insane but there is a reason).  As I am not an illustrator/graphic designer, I don't have a sense of the best way to incorporate the end notes.  Should I just include the end notes at the end of the manuscript and trust someone else will sort it out or will an agent or publisher find the end notes to be so objectionable that they immediately reject the manuscript without further consideration?  Could I include the end notes as something of a separate FYI in the submission materials without comment as to the fact that the end notes are expected to be part of the book.  I realize this is all very vague and mysterious but I think the end notes will be considered a strong selling point for the parents purchasing the book and include information that I would like the agent/publisher to be aware of when evaluating the manuscript.

Thanks in advance for any help!  I'm very excited to be a part of this community!
Title: Re: New to Board and Questions
Post by: Honeysmoke on January 28, 2015, 11:39 AM
Hi,

Everything I've read suggests that if you are not a professional illustrator that you should not send pictures of any kind. Even illustrator notes should be used sparingly, one or two per manuscript. 

I'm not sure what you mean by end notes.

Monique
Title: Re: New to Board and Questions
Post by: WhatAmIDoing on January 28, 2015, 11:48 AM
Thanks, I originally posted this in the wrong board and the admin moved it here so I didn't see the sticky post about illustrator notes at the top of this board. 

If I have dialogue that is more appropriate for a speech bubble (a la the Magic School Bus books....you can read the main book without reading all the speech bubbles and thought bubbles until your child is able to read well enough to know that you are skipping...) is there any way to denote that in a manuscript without it being overly 'illustrator notes-y"?

By end notes I mean that I have information that the parent may value that I do not want to be part of the story itself.  I want to include it somehow without it detracting from the story....The only example I can think of that is not exactly what I'm talking about, is that I have a book called "I'm a Big Sister" and on the last page of the book it has tips for parents about introducing a new baby into the house.  Different from that example, however, my end notes would make the story itself more interesting to the parent, though not necessarily the child.  I'm wondering if I could include the information in the cover letter or as an addendum to the cover letter and let the publisher/agent sort out whether or not to include it in the book. 

I am just starting to read information about submissions so this may be an obvious no-no for the cover letter....
Title: Re: New to Board and Questions
Post by: Artemesia on January 28, 2015, 11:53 AM
Hi there! Welcome to the boards!

When you submit a story without illustrations, but some illustrations are needed to understand the text, you can insert an art note. These are usually in parentheses like this (Art note: brief description here) An art note is a brief description of what happens in the illustration. You should use these sparingly, and only where it is important to understand the text. But be careful to not dictate to the illustrator things like what color you want your character to be wearing (unless it is integral to the plot). For submitting you'll want to have your manuscript (you'll see that abbreviated on this forum as ms or mss for plural) formatted as a Word document. Some agencies/publishers will ask you to paste it right into the body of an email when submitting, some will ask you to attach it as a Word doc. You will not be able to submit a Power Point presentation. Do not include your sketches.

As for the end notes, without knowing what your story is about or the nature of the end notes, I'd suggest your story should be able to stand on its own without them. If you are 100% sure they should be included as part of the book, then just include them at the end of the ms labeled as End Notes. But it is not a common thing, and I am not sure what a publisher's or agent's reaction to them would be.

Take some time to read through the threads on this board. You'll find a lot of information. If you are looking for specifics, you can use the search feature.

Check out our member Harold Underdown's site. He covers a lot of the basics, including how to format a manuscript for submission: http://www.underdown.org/basic-articles.htm

I hope that's helpful!
Title: Re: New to Board and Questions
Post by: Artemesia on January 28, 2015, 11:58 AM
crossposted with Honeysmoke and WhatAmIDoing

Speech bubbles are really something that the Art Director would decide about when the book designed. When formatting the ms I would just write it as regular dialogue.

As for the end notes...if your book is meant to be non-fiction or a book for dealing with issues (such as the new baby) then additional information might be okay, but that's not my area of expertise and someone more in the know might chime in.

 
Title: Re: New to Board and Questions
Post by: WhatAmIDoing on January 28, 2015, 11:58 AM
Thanks!  That was very helpful.  I realize the end notes are a risk and I will have to work out whether it is worth it to include them or not....the story can stand on its own without them, however, I think the end notes would make the story more interesting to the parent that has to read the story 10,000 times....I"ll have to think on it when I get closer to submitting.

Title: Re: New to Board and Questions
Post by: Artemesia on January 28, 2015, 12:03 PM
Keep in mind that if your story is acquired by a publisher, you can always offer the additional information then. My books are chapter books, and the publisher included a page at the end of the book that had discussion/comprehension questions for the reader. I had no input as these were created to comply with Common Core standards. So it is possible for something extra to be included, but keep in mind your audience is really the child. As a writer I try not to pander to adults, lol.
Title: Re: New to Board and Questions
Post by: WhatAmIDoing on January 28, 2015, 12:23 PM
That is a good suggestion.  I am considering putting a single line in the cover letter that provides the information that would otherwise be included in the end notes (without attaching the end notes) and then the inclusion of the end notes in the actual book could be a subject for later discussion. 

I realize this would be a lot easier if I just said why the mysterious end notes are important but I 'm still in the "concerned that negative feedback about my idea might derail me" stage so I am wary of disclosing my idea until I have entered the "well, I did all the work already so I am going for it even though I will know I will be receiving negative feedback" stage. 
Title: Re: New to Board and Questions
Post by: Artemesia on January 28, 2015, 12:49 PM
Don't be too worried about whether including end notes are a risk. If the publisher or agent really likes your writing or the story, that will matter more than whether they consider the end notes to be extraneous. They would just ask you to consider not including them. Just make your submission the best you can make it and follow the submission guidelines as best you can. But if your story stand without them, then they probably aren't really necessary.

Also, be sure to keep writing! Especially if you are writing a picture book, a lot of agents will ask to see 3 or 4 mss before offering you representation. Read a lot of picture books that were published in the last 2 to 3 years to get a feel for what publishers are putting out. And don't be discouraged! It can take years for your craft to get to publishable quality. I didn't send a query for 4 or 5 years after I started focusing seriously on kidlit as a career, (though most people don't wait as long as I did). And it was another year after getting an agent that I got a book deal. You just keep writing. Find a good critique group or partner, we have boards here to help with finding critiquers, and places to post queries and parts of mss for critique. Having feedback on your work, and learning how to give it on others', is a huge part of learning your craft.
Title: Re: New to Board and Questions
Post by: Arona on January 28, 2015, 01:56 PM
I understand how you feel about negative feedback, but there's a difference between constructive and destructive critiquing. On this board, you'll receive constructive feedback, though maybe not always what you hope to hear. But we all need to hear it. We're too close to our work to be objective. And because we look at it, read it, sleep with it, dream about it and agonize over it all the time...we can miss even the most simple mistakes.

Keep in mind, too, that some--though not all--feedback is subjective. I might suggest you change the name of your MC because (insert reason) while someone else thinks it's fine.

When you are ready to put yourself out there, you couldn't find a more supportive board than this one.

And welcome!
Title: Re: New to Board and Questions
Post by: Verla Kay on January 28, 2015, 05:18 PM
The "end notes" you are talking about sound like an Author's Note to me. My published books have all been historical and each one has had an Author's Note attached to it with additional information for older kids, parents and teachers that makes the books more valuable to libraries and schools. I submit the manuscript and then after it has been accepted, I write up the Author's Note and my editor and I work with it until we feel it is the right information and right length to put in the book. In your cover letter you can say something like:  There is an Author's Note with more detailed information about (insert subject here) if you are interested. Or just include the Author's Note on a separate page at the end of the manuscript if you feel it will help with the sale of the manuscript.
Title: Re: New to Board and Questions
Post by: dewsanddamps on January 28, 2015, 07:50 PM
WhatAmIDoing, I don't know anything about this, but you're in exceptional hands with Artemesia and Verla.

I just wanted to say that I love your user name.  :snowski
Title: Re: New to Board and Questions
Post by: WhatAmIDoing on January 29, 2015, 08:06 AM
The "end notes" you are talking about sound like an Author's Note to me. My published books have all been historical and each one has had an Author's Note attached to it with additional information for older kids, parents and teachers that makes the books more valuable to libraries and schools. I submit the manuscript and then after it has been accepted, I write up the Author's Note and my editor and I work with it until we feel it is the right information and right length to put in the book. In your cover letter you can say something like:  There is an Author's Note with more detailed information about (insert subject here) if you are interested. Or just include the Author's Note on a separate page at the end of the manuscript if you feel it will help with the sale of the manuscript.

Thanks, Verla, that does sound like what I'm talking about and that is a great suggestion!

And thanks everyone else for the comments!

And dewsanddamps, hopefully after hanging around here for a bit I will change it to "ITotallyKnowWhatImDoing"!