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Lift the Flap / Novelty Publishers?

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I have a MS that has kindly been rejected twice by traditional PB publishers - and I'm thinking it would be a good lift-the-flap  / novelty book. It's basically a long poem about playing hide and seek. It got good reviews - the editors liked the meter/language - but it was too short for a traditional 32 page book. Any suggestions on where to begin in terms of submissions? I have no clue where to start - does SCBWI have a section on this? Thank you
#1 - August 17, 2012, 02:11 PM
« Last Edit: August 17, 2012, 02:15 PM by crookedbook »
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It helps to just look at publishers' catalogues to see what kind of picture books they do. There are a lot that do this type of book. I have the Institute of Children's Literature market guide, and it doesn't have a separate listing for novelty books, but sometimes within the PB listings it was noted whether or not a publisher dealt in that kind of thing.

I know I've heard that BOARD books are often done in house, but I have no idea if the same holds true for novelty books.

Good luck in your search!
#2 - August 17, 2012, 02:26 PM
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Did someone say NOVELTY???  :eyeballs:  I've been alerted,.. and snuck out of my work cave to answer this question.

Katie,... I am an author/illustrator/designer of novelty books,...and I can assure you that a novelty market exists. But I can also tell you that publishers rarely acquire novelty-text only, unless you are a bestselling, well-known author. (I am not one of these... so I've never sold text-only to anyone!)

When I submit novelties, the entire package is created. In fact, I hand-build a dummy that looks like a finished, printed book so that the publisher can see, touch, and feel how well all three elements work together: the format, the art, and the concept/text.

Most publishers either create novelties in-house OR (more commonly), they are bought from book packagers who's already developed the novelties... and publishers simply get to choose from a catalog what they'd like to add to their list. This makes novelty acquisitions even trickier.

This is to say unless you have a complete vision for this book, it would be a very tough sell. Most novelty books are art and format driven... so art and format is KEY in making a decision about a novelty submission. Also, novelties are super expensive to produce,... BUT... they have to keep the retail price low... so the profit margins are much less than a traditional picture book. This means the expectations on a novelty (sales qty wise) is much higher... meaning,... it's a very tough sell.

Board books are a completely different animal. These are typically board-book editions of previous picture books. Many classic picture books have board book editions. If you see a 24 page board book (or longer), it was mostly likely a picture book first. If you want to go this route,.. you must sell your ms first as a picture book. And if it's age appropriate, it could have a life in board book edition down the line. But typically, a storybook doesn't go straight to board.

So... my advice is this. If you strongly feel this should be a novelty book, develop it that way! And show it that way. Even if you can't draw, put together a dummy and include the flaps, and do a rough sketch to show what's beneath the flaps... to explain the interactive experience. You can find the imprints that publish novelty simply by looking at published novelties, and see their info. Most major houses require agents.

Best of luck!!!

P.S. My experiences are only with the major houses (Scholastic, S&S, Random House, Macmillan, Penguin...)... so it may not apply to smaller presses. Perhaps smaller presses or book packagers take novelty ms? I do not know.

Back to my cave... :cheerleader
#3 - August 17, 2012, 03:13 PM

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What SYoon said, based on my experience in trying to market a novelty book about a dozen years ago.

It's all about book packagers and being an illustrator, and my pitiful dummy w/o the paper engineering didn't stand much of a chance.

Although, I actually did interest a book packager and we had what I thought was productive correspondence about it (this was back before email) and then he vanished. {goes off to do a google search; haven't thought about that for ages.}
#4 - August 17, 2012, 05:27 PM
« Last Edit: August 19, 2012, 09:10 AM by AnneB »

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You all just saved me a LOT of time. And that is why I love you.

SYoon - I really appreciate the detailed feedback.
#5 - August 19, 2012, 07:02 AM
MIND YOUR MONSTERS (Sterling, 2015)
HYPNOSIS HARRY (Sky Pony, 2016)
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