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PB parody?

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I got an idea yesterday about a possible PB parody I could do of a very popular PB (not a fairy tale.) I think it would turn out sort of Wierd Al style if you know what I mean. Is this worth doing? Would the end result be publishable? Would I need to get permission from the original author (or publisher?)

Thanks
#1 - September 08, 2011, 05:11 PM

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Is this worth doing? Would the end result be publishable? Would I need to get permission from the original author (or publisher?) Thanks

--it's impossible to tell if it's worth doing. People do parodies all the time. If it's done well, and touches a nerve, it might be.
--it could be publishable, but there's no telling at this point.
--you would not need permission, if it's truly a parody, though any potential publisher would run it by its legal department...
#2 - September 08, 2011, 06:22 PM
Harold Underdown

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--it's impossible to tell if it's worth doing. People do parodies all the time. If it's done well, and touches a nerve, it might be.
--it could be publishable, but there's no telling at this point.
--you would not need permission, if it's truly a parody, though any potential publisher would run it by its legal department...


Hi Harold, thanks for your reply! By "worth doing" I meant if it's a legal no-no, then it won't be worth the effort.
Based on your advice, I just may go ahead and put this thing together!  :music:
#3 - September 08, 2011, 06:31 PM

Jenn Bertman
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It might help your book have a higher chance of being marketable if there is another angle besides the parody. I'm thinking of the parodies Goodnight Goon and Goodnight Bush. I'm thinking the parody + other niche market (Halloween, political humor) helped give those an edge versus a parody idea like, say, Goodnight Spoon.

#4 - September 08, 2011, 07:56 PM
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It might help your book have a higher chance of being marketable if there is another angle besides the parody. I'm thinking of the parodies Goodnight Goon and Goodnight Bush. I'm thinking the parody + other niche market (Halloween, political humor) helped give those an edge versus a parody idea like, say, Goodnight Spoon.



True. I think I'll write it up and see what happens.
#5 - September 08, 2011, 08:00 PM

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I wrote a parody of WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE called WHERE THE WHINY THINGS ARE.  I even got a rather well-known illustrator to do a couple of sketches for it.  Then I heard that Maurice Sendak did not have a sense of humor about such things, so I gave up on the idea.  

I still think it was a good manuscript.

You have to consider whether the original author (or his/her publisher) might take offense.  If so, is it such a good idea that you're willing to offend someone powerful in the business?  If you think the author would get a chuckle out of it, go ahead.
#6 - September 09, 2011, 08:29 PM
« Last Edit: September 09, 2011, 08:32 PM by Betsy »
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You get the Medal of Bravery for even thinking of tackling one of the picture books world’s sacred cows, Betsy.

My three-cents’ worth about parody is that it needs to be more than clever, more than funny, more than ‘aren’t we enjoying sticking it to _,’ because this is too easy. It needs to add a whole new dimension and operate on at least the many levels of the original and more. This- even if it’s just for entertaining friends and family.
Then, if you’re thinking of the broader market, it needs a target audience also.
#7 - September 10, 2011, 10:18 AM
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Well said, 217.
#8 - September 10, 2011, 03:09 PM
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Thanks, guys. I don't want to give away too much here, but I was reading one of the classics to my son and suddenly thought, "You know what this reminds me of?"

After spending the day plotting the book out in my head, I banged the whole thing out in about 20 minutes. I just have to re-work the final line. Once that's one I will send to my agent. I'll let her decide if it's possible to sell it or not.
#9 - September 10, 2011, 04:07 PM

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Just sent the MS to my agent. I will update this thread with what she says.

I banged the whole thing out in about 20 minutes after spending the day thinking about the exact wording/plot.

Don't worry, I am not trying to "stick it to" anyone. It's more of a science book than anything else... :snail
#10 - September 11, 2011, 12:13 AM

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Come on, Wonky, spill the beans. What are you parodying? THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR? THE GRUFFALO? Tell all.
#11 - September 11, 2011, 06:07 AM

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Come on, Wonky, spill the beans. What are you parodying? THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR? THE GRUFFALO? Tell all.

You said it, not me!
#12 - September 11, 2011, 06:45 AM

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My agent el-rejecto'd.

She liked the idea but didn't think kids would really understand the parody. (It's not really something that would appeal much to adults.)

Oh well.
#13 - September 13, 2011, 05:37 PM

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I think as long as you change everything 20%. I know this is a weird percentage. Look at the OBEY stuff. Shepard pushes some limits. Be careful with using copyrighted material. Good luck.
#14 - November 16, 2011, 08:57 PM

Personally, I would ask for permission if the work is not public domain.

I'm working on an affectionate parody too. It's tough stuff because when you create something like this it will be undoubtedly compared to the original. In a way, it gets critiqued 'twice'; unlike someone brand new.
#15 - June 27, 2014, 02:04 PM

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You have reminded me of GO THE ****TO SLEEP, Wonky.  That was definitely not for kids, but (many) parents loved it. Perhaps you could consider a different market (i.e. other that children's) - novelty?
#16 - June 27, 2014, 04:13 PM
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You might try contacting Rick Walton for more information.  He’s the author of Frankenstein by Ludworst Bemonster.  It’s a parody of Ludwig Bemelmans picture book, Madeline.  He seems like a very friendly guy and would probably give you some helpful advice.

I blogged about his book here:

http://kimberlylynn1020.blogspot.com/2011/11/monstrous-parody.html


#17 - July 02, 2014, 09:11 AM

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I've noticed that recent replies on this post are responding to a question that was asked three years ago--so perhaps it's no longer relevant.

Anyway, FWIW, I wrote a parody of a very popular children's book once and was told by editors that it wasn't totally out of the question, but probably wouldn't be published because:

1. In order to sell, three and four year olds have to "get" the humor, and therefore must be familiar with the original. So many kids aren't even read to that it's a pretty high standard.

2. Yes, the target audience could be adults in which case your book would be a novelty item, not a true picture book. Most traditional pb editors wouldn't know how to fit it into their publishing program.

3. The original author (in the case of my particular story) was noted for being a bit prickly and probably wouldn't give permission. Yes, it isn't necessary to have permission in this kind of a case, but because she was much, much better known that I am, any publisher would think twice about offending her.

So for all those reasons, I gave up on the idea.


#18 - July 02, 2014, 10:00 AM
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