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PB Agent subs

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Hello everyone! I'm looking for a bit of advice on subs to agents for PBs. I've been in the comic book/graphic novel industry for about 5 years and have done my fair share of subing but I know the rules, do's and don'ts are quite a bit different for the PB industry. I've been doing quite a bit of research and, aside from following each individual agencies guidelines, I was wondering what advice you would give.

Is there anything I could put in the query to garner attention, such as I'm a member of the NCS, I've taught workshops at conventions, etc.? As I am a writer/illustrator should I submit illustrations along with the ms? And so on. Obviously the work should speak for itself but I would like to hear what you all think on any additions that might be good to include.

Thanks!  :bighelp

-Alex
#1 - October 30, 2012, 09:54 AM
« Last Edit: October 30, 2012, 10:12 AM by AJSchumacher »
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Hi Alex. I have been subbing PB's for only a short while. But from what I know so far is that it's for the best to follow their guidelines explicitly. And all those nice things to add in your bio (teaching conferences etc.), I think would be helpful.

I notice that many agents make reference to reviewing illustrations on a website or blog. Or they specify how to send them in their guidelines.

I really wish you the best! And how wonderful that you are an author/illustrator. One agent just wrote to me that she was looking for that specifically.

Take care!
#2 - October 30, 2012, 12:45 PM

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Hi Venessa. Thanks for the reply! Great info. How long have you been subing PBs?
I'm just beginning the journey myself and am glad to have such a great and supportive community!

I saw on your site that you've begun the process of learning to illustrate. Let me know if I can help in any way :)
#3 - October 30, 2012, 04:24 PM
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Thanks for looking me up! I have been subbing my pb's for only two months. My main genre is middle grade and that's been my main focus.  And although I have been writing picture books for many years, I haven't been all that confident about subbing them because I'm not an illustrator.

What I have learned on these BB's is that it isn't always necessary to be an illustrator, though it does seem to give you all a leg up. I've seen offers for agent representation based on text only ... so that gave me a little incentive to at least try.

So kind of you to offer to help me, I greatly appreciate it!  :paint If you have any suggestions, I am open to any and all critiques.

If it will help you, I notice that the agents I have queried seem to respond favorably to a short and concise letter that includes just a bit about the book and my bio.

If you get a query letter together that you would like help on, there's a wonderful section on this board that offers guidance in making it the best it can be - before you send it out.

And welcome to the BlueBoards! :bananadance :jump:
#4 - October 31, 2012, 10:23 AM

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That's a great idea to have the folks here take a look at a query letter before I send it. I'm sure I could get some great help from the boards! Thanks for all the info too!

I'm a self-taught artist so the best advice I can give is develop your own unique style. Study artists/illustrators that you enjoy and admire and learn from them. 2 books that I had growing up were the Walter Foster How to Draw Cartoon Animation (http://www.amazon.com/Cartoon-Animation-Collectors-Preston-Blair/dp/1560100842) and How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way (http://www.amazon.com/How-Draw-Comics-Marvel-Way/dp/0671530771. I still refer to both of them today.

If you'd like me to take a look at some of your drawings let me know  :yup

#5 - October 31, 2012, 02:16 PM
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Hi there - if you decide to pursue an agent look at Red Tree Literary. They just opened up to subs and they accept picture books only from author/illustrators (or so their website says). Just make sure your work fits what they are looking for first :)
#6 - October 31, 2012, 04:59 PM
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Thanks crookedbook! Funny enough, I actually found a thread earlier today with that information but I'm glad you posted because if I hadn't seen that thread I would definitely want to know this!
#7 - October 31, 2012, 05:07 PM
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Hi Alex,

I write and illustrate PBs as well. What I did when querying was to submit my text with a link to an online dummy. The dummy consisted of 3 or 4 color samples, and the rest were fairly polished pencil sketches. My site also contained pages where an agent could look at my other projects.

for more information on dummies, there is a good tutorial here : http://www.yellapalooza.com/tutorials/dummies.html

and here an illustrator has shared their process to give an idea of what a PB dummy might look like:

http://aaronzenz.tripod.com/dummies.html

A dummy is very helpful when querying, but many agents will also accept a link to an online portfolio or to attach 2 or 3 color samples, so it is possible to still query without one. But a dummy can show a prospective agent (and then editor/art director) that you really know how to carry a whole story and characters through an entire 32 page PB.

If creating a dummy interests you, go to the library and read as many PBs as you can to get a feel for how art and text work together, and how a PB is formatted and how the story flows, etc.

I hope this helps. If you have any questions, I'll try to revisit the thread and see if I can answer any of them!

#8 - October 31, 2012, 05:31 PM
« Last Edit: October 31, 2012, 05:36 PM by Artemesia »
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Also a good resource for researching agents is the Literary Rambles blog. They have compiled profiles on a large number of kidlit agents.

http://www.literaryrambles.com/

you might also want to check out Query Tracker, which has a searchable database of agents and publishers, and let's you keep track of the queries you send out: http://querytracker.net/
#9 - October 31, 2012, 05:41 PM
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That's a TON of great infromation! Thanks Artemesia!

 :broccoli :carrot
#10 - October 31, 2012, 06:02 PM
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No problem!
#11 - October 31, 2012, 06:04 PM
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You give EXCELLENT advice, Arte!!!  I back everything she says, 100%!
#12 - October 31, 2012, 07:19 PM

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aw, thanks, Salina!  :hug
#13 - October 31, 2012, 07:30 PM
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Arte, thank you for that information! I am so very far away from being an accomplished illustrator but I'm going to work hard and keep practicing and give it a good try. I read and reread those links that you provided and they were so helpful.

My mom received a scholarship at the New York Institute of Art and Design in highschool and she is a beautiful illlustrator. Now that she has arthritis, she is not able to draw pictures for my stories any longer. She did it only for fun, but I miss having them.

I'm glad to see that Salina agreed 100% ... she's great too!

Take care,  :star2 :flower
#14 - November 01, 2012, 11:50 AM

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One question about dummies:

Is it ok to produce half the book as a dummy to show samples or if I'm going to create a dummy should it be the entire book where as samples would just be the spot illos?

I suppose only doing half the dummy may look lazy...
#15 - November 01, 2012, 01:20 PM
« Last Edit: November 01, 2012, 01:32 PM by AJSchumacher »
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Venessa, sorry to hear about your mom's arthritis. My mom has gone through the same thing. She's had several joint replacements and other procedures on her hands now, and can't do the artistic activities she used to enjoy.

I'm glad you found the links helpful! There are also some threads here on dummies, and a search might uncover some more useful information as well.

Alex, I'm really not sure about your question. I haven't heard of anyone submitting half a dummy, so I don't know how it would be received. But my instincts say better to submit a finished one, but maybe others will chime in?



#16 - November 02, 2012, 10:43 AM
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I trust your judgement and instinct Artemesia so I'll go with the entire book. In my research I had just found several mentions of submitting full or partial dummies and was wondering if that was possibly what they were referring to.

Thanks and now I'll be getting back to this:  :paint
#17 - November 02, 2012, 05:26 PM
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Well, the only cases of this I know of personally are when a multi-published author/illustrator submits to a publisher they have already worked with, and the holes in the dummy have at least an art note. I'm not sure if a debut PB AI would get away with this. My thinking on this when I was subbing to agents is that a full dummy has to be done at some point in the process anyway, and the more information I can provide to help an agent/editor picture a finished book, the easier it is for them to imagine it on the shelves. But again, this is just my experience and my own reasoning, and others may know differently.

#18 - November 02, 2012, 05:37 PM
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You make great points and I'm definitely doing the full!

Thanks!
#19 - November 03, 2012, 06:52 PM
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