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Picture book acceptances or lack there of

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CaroleB

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       I've been out of the loop for a few years, but I must say I'm saddened at the low number of picture books listed in the Good News section over this past year. ( just finished reading the whole year, whew!)
       Back when I was subbing (2007-2008) it was a tight market, but nothing like what I'm seeing today. Huge kudos to those who have acceptances. Well done!)
       So, how are all of you pb writers holding up? Just curious.

        Carole :goldstar
       
#1 - January 12, 2012, 12:48 PM

I don't think you're going to get many responses to this post.  People just don't like to discuss how bad things are.

Yes, the market for picture books isn't good.  In the past, I've always had personal rejections.  Now many of my manuscripts go out into the great unknown and I never hear anything again. 

On the other hand,  I know of two picture book authors who post regularly on this board who don't seem to be announcing their good news.  One has sold five pbs in recent months--some of these are work for hire, but others weren't.  Yes, the advances were paltry.  Another author has sold a couple of pbs to a big New York publisher and, for some reason, hasn't informed this board.  This person has an agent, so maybe the sales were/or will be announced in PW.

So there is some movement...but not much.
#2 - January 15, 2012, 08:28 AM

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I would not advise using the Good News section of the board as a reliable statistic on how picture books are doing.  There are too many variables.

I don't get the feeling as many Blueboarders are writing picture books as there were in the past.  That doesn't mean other people aren't writing them or that they're not selling or that they're not being published.

I obviously have done way better selling picture books than I have done with novels, which is what I started out writing.  But I am just one person.  Perhaps I am better at picture books. :)
#3 - January 15, 2012, 08:32 AM
VAMPIRINA IN THE SNOW (Disney-Hyperion, 2018)
BUSY-EYED DAY (Beach Lane Books, 2018)
GROUNDHUG DAY (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)
among others

LAC

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I sold a pb last year....and so did 3 of my friends!!!

Laura
#4 - January 15, 2012, 09:12 AM

Monica

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Writing pb is quite a rollercoaster ride.   :groan

I am honored that my first pb was selected for an anthology to benefit children's hospitols and will be available this month (Amazon).   Now,  I've sub my latest with 1 rej so far.   Congrads to those who make it because I know you earned it! 

Monica
#5 - February 10, 2012, 05:59 AM

Yes, we have no bananas today. The market is tougher. The tough still market.

I have had too much coffee.

 :ceilingdance eab
#6 - February 10, 2012, 08:37 AM

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I have had too much coffee.

 :ceilingdance eab

So has the elephant in your avatar, from the look of it!
#7 - February 10, 2012, 02:21 PM
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I sold a picture book last year.  I know of others on this board who also have had some success. Not everyone has announced their sales.  But it's true that picture book acquisitions are being pared back.  One or two of the bigger publishers seem to be buying, and a few of the smaller ones too.  Just today I got a letter from a smaller publisher (one with a strong pb list) saying they were "totally rethinking" their publishing program. Whatever that means...
#8 - February 10, 2012, 11:55 PM
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I agree with Anne Marie - the Good News section might not be as good an indicator of the current pb market - especially because in a tough market, I suspect people who are selling picture books are a little hesitant to be shouting good news when they know others are frustrated. I actually sold four picture books last year (two were follow-ups) but have been quieter about it just because I know that the market, overall, remains tough.

Publishers Marketplace might give a slightly more complete picture, though not everything gets reported there either. But hang in there and keep the faith - I really believe that we'll need picture books as long as we have kids. :-)
#9 - February 11, 2012, 07:58 AM
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OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW, Chronicle
MARTY MCGUIRE
CAPTURE THE FLAG
HIDE AND SEEK -Scholastic '13
WAKE UP MISSING- Walker, Fall '13

I really believe that we'll need picture books as long as we have kids. :-)

Absolutely! What Kate said.

It does feel like the market is tougher, particularly for non-illustrators, but if you love reading and writing picture books, don't let anything stop you from writing your stories.

#10 - February 11, 2012, 08:34 AM
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As an agency, we sold more picture books last year than any other category.

As an agent, I personally sold more picture books last year than I did any other category ... and I don't even specialize in picture books.

The market might be tougher, responses might be slower, but they are still a big part of the picture (ha ha) in kids books. 

Courage!

JL   :bunnyrun
#11 - February 11, 2012, 09:52 AM
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Wow, literaticat, that's interesting!

I didn't sell any pbs in 2010, but I sold 3 in 2011.

#12 - February 11, 2012, 10:23 AM
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As an agency, we sold more picture books last year than any other category.

As an agent, I personally sold more picture books last year than I did any other category ... and I don't even specialize in picture books.

The market might be tougher, responses might be slower, but they are still a big part of the picture (ha ha) in kids books. 

Courage!

JL   :bunnyrun
Love that cat^!
#13 - February 11, 2012, 06:32 PM
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CaroleB

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      Thanks for the additional input everyone. I didn't expect this post to be revived. Was just trying to get a picture (stealing that thought from Litcat, hah!) of the market concerning pbs and you've all helped me gain perspective.

        It's all very interesting.

        Carole
#14 - February 12, 2012, 05:04 AM

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Just wondering --- are there a lot more people writing and submitting manuscripts now? That's the part of the pb business that seems glutted to me. I read that publishers receive hundreds (or is it thousands) of manuscripts every month. That's going to result in a lot of rejections. Plus, with boards and posts and tweets --- we hear about rejections all the time --- none of that was really available in the not so long ago past. But, these are just things I wonder about --- I really don't know.
#15 - February 12, 2012, 02:14 PM
Legend of The Beaver's Tail '15
Schnitzel: A Cautionary Tale for Lazy Louts,  '16
Moo La La! Cow Goes Shopping, '17
Piece by Piece, '17

As an agency, we sold more picture books last year than any other category.

As an agent, I personally sold more picture books last year than I did any other category ... and I don't even specialize in picture books.

The market might be tougher, responses might be slower, but they are still a big part of the picture (ha ha) in kids books. 

Courage!

JL   :bunnyrun

This is encouraging news, JL. I'm curious if you can share if those sales were mostly author/illustrators or author only sales. Thanks.
#16 - February 12, 2012, 03:17 PM
THESE THINGS COUNT! award-winning nature series Albert Whitman
TWIGS (YA)  Merit Press
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Carole,
First of all... HELLO!!!!!!! *waving madly* Glad to see you! :0)
I have sold several pbs over the past few years. Four are out now. Two more hopefully by the end of this year and several in the que.
They are a hard sell, but I am a forever 4 1/2 year old so I'm stuck with it. ;0P hahaha.
Good luck and keep that chin up!
#17 - February 12, 2012, 08:40 PM

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I really think PB sales are picking up with my very un-scientific method of talking to author friends. Especially since I *think* publishers are beginning to realize that ebook/app sales of picture books are more likely to be an add-on purchase than a cannibalizing one. Parents who buy the print copy that their children enjoy will be compelled to buy an e-version for travel--on the phone, on a tablet.

So keep subbing, keep writing new books, keep going. We are about to begin an exciting new chapter!

#18 - March 22, 2012, 09:53 AM
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CaroleB

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Congrats again on all of you have sold...maybe the market is picking up a tad.

Betsy, I'm not surprised you sold another one.

Litcat, you know I'm thinking I must know who you are (in your pre-editor-life)...I left the board in 2008 and am thinking you were a poster back then like the rest of us. Hmmmm??? Congrats on your pb sales.

traceymcox, Such a nice howdy from you! Thanks, I remember you, too and CONGRATS!

StephanieShaw, I don't think things have changed that much with regard to rejections except folks don't get notified. I had quite an impressive pile of rejections back in 07-08, but there were more houses open to subbing then.

taralazar, a published friend told me how discouraging things are for pb writers. Said even published authors with agents are pretty discouraged and struggling. That's why I started the thread, to get feedback from others. Too bad folks who are getting published feel awkward about celebrating their success and not wanting to post. DOG-GONE ECONOMY!!!

Carole
#19 - March 30, 2012, 08:14 AM

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Carole, I think the business is still very difficult, don't get me wrong. But friends who had lackluster sales in 2010-2011 are now making deals, so that's what leads be to believe things are looking up. I've sold one a year in 2010 and 2011 (both agented)...hopefully one is coming soon in 2012!

I also think that what's on the rise are revisions on spec--acq teams expect the manuscripts to be near-perfect, so the editor might make a round or two of revisions before going to acq, where a few years back the offer would come first. Another very unscientific observation from talking to pubbed friends.
#20 - March 30, 2012, 01:24 PM
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I just read yesterday in PW's Bologna wrap-up that editors and agents noticed "encouraging signs" in the pb market.  Here's the link to the rest of the article

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-industry-news/article/51290-bologna-2012-trends-of-the-show.html
#21 - March 30, 2012, 03:13 PM
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I just read yesterday in PW's Bologna wrap-up that editors and agents noticed "encouraging signs" in the pb market.  Here's the link to the rest of the article

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-industry-news/article/51290-bologna-2012-trends-of-the-show.html

Not to take anything away from this article, which is very interesting -- the thing about it is, though, that it is specifically in reference to the FOREIGN market for AMERICAN picture books. Foreign markets have always been tougher for American picture books to break into, they simply react to different stories and different styles of art in other countries than here (same reason so very few foreign picture books do well in this country -- frankly, the art is often just plain weird!)  -- what I am saying, though, is that that doesn't affect how many picture books are bought/sold in THIS country.

That said, I still stick by my post from before -- sure, everything is slower than it was some years ago, but picture books are still definitely being acquired.

I also think that what's on the rise are revisions on spec--acq teams expect the manuscripts to be near-perfect, so the editor might make a round or two of revisions before going to acq, where a few years back the offer would come first. Another very unscientific observation from talking to pubbed friends.

^^ agreed


Litcat, you know I'm thinking I must know who you are (in your pre-editor-life)...I left the board in 2008 and am thinking you were a poster back then like the rest of us. Hmmmm??? Congrats on your pb sales.

Oh, I've been a poster since then - and I'm still like the rest of you!  (agent, not editor).  I'm Jennifer Laughran, from ABLit.  :bunnyrun
#22 - March 30, 2012, 07:16 PM
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Great thread!

I am so excited to have sold my first pb last year (It will be out in Sept with Flashlight Press!) and several of my critique group members sold PBs last year, too. I am just as excited for them!

I just think it's slow right now b/c of the change in the way books are being sold, marketed, etc. I know they are expensive to create, but they are worth it. When I see my kids carrying the pbs they got for Christmas with them everywhere, I KNOW t's worth it.

And I think agents and editors who know their stuff believe it is worthwhile, too!

 
#23 - March 30, 2012, 09:38 PM
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With more and more Illustrators working digitally, I can't help but believe the lower costs of printing, for the Publisher, will result in more PB sales, as the years go by. Where once a publisher would have to pay for shipping of original art, both from the artist then to the printer, then back to the artist again after use, the extra printer costs of scanning and/or using the old drum roller, colour separation, etc, the Illustrator has, inadvertently, replaced it all (at no extra cost by the way:( ) by sending  digitally transferred, finished art.
Also, with the perfecting of interactive apps, colour readers (iPad) and the wonderfully high resolution available on these, to show case the Illustration, Publishers will be realizing more and different ways to earn from one PB.
#24 - March 31, 2012, 04:43 AM
"Penelope and the Humongous Burp"
"Penelope and the Monsters"
"Penelope and the Preposterous Birthday Party"

Thanks for putting the article in perspective, literaticat.
#25 - March 31, 2012, 08:28 AM
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Oh, I've been a poster since then - and I'm still like the rest of you!  (agent, not editor).  I'm Jennifer Laughran, from ABLit.  :bunnyrun

[/quote]

Googled you, and am thinking I mixed you up with someone else in my mind. AB loves their Jennifers, eh?
Okay, I'm a little slow and just now saw that you agent Bick and I just finished reading Ashes! My hubby and I both read it and totally enjoyed it. I even dreamed about zombies while reading it. Looking forward to reading the next two.  :grin

Um, that first sentence (up above) is supposed to be a quote. Sure looks goofy. Not sure how I did that.
#26 - April 01, 2012, 05:15 AM
« Last Edit: April 01, 2012, 07:02 AM by CaroleB »

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Carole, so glad you liked ASHES!  It sure is a gripping one...  :bunnyrun
#27 - April 01, 2012, 07:36 AM
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Personally, I agree. Weird (at least to many of us used to North American PB Illustration) is a pretty accurate word:)
A link below to some of the Award winning Illustrations at Bologna.

http://www.bolognachildrensbookfair.com/en/archivio2011/boaward2011/
#28 - April 01, 2012, 07:41 AM
« Last Edit: April 01, 2012, 07:44 AM by christripp »
"Penelope and the Humongous Burp"
"Penelope and the Monsters"
"Penelope and the Preposterous Birthday Party"

CaroleB

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     JL - YES! Enjoyed Ashes a lot. Don't want to say too much and risk spoilers, but you know I'm seeing it as a movie (mind's eye) and um, wow what a clliff hanger and it's the first book ever that made me dream! (dream was kind of creepy,)  I'm feeling all big now talking to you about it, hah! I'm a little dorky.

#29 - April 01, 2012, 07:49 AM

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Personally, I agree. Weird (at least to many of us used to North American PB Illustration) is a pretty accurate word:)
A link below to some of the Award winning Illustrations at Bologna.

http://www.bolognachildrensbookfair.com/en/archivio2011/boaward2011/


Sorry we got off topic there for a minute --

Thanks so much for this link -- Cristripp ... and YES.  Weird is the word. Pretty!  But ... weird.  :-)
#30 - April 01, 2012, 07:57 AM
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