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Illustrated PB dummy comments/ideas/critique?

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Iceartist

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If this belongs in the critique area, mods please move it....but this situation is a little unique & I'd like other illustrators' thoughts. I have a picture book almost ready to send. I'm the author/illustrator. Because the book is really about the art, & less so about the text, i've dummied up the entire thing to show one possibility of how it could be handled. However, i need to make clear in my query that i'm just showing the concept, and not trying to show an intended layout (unless they like it), and that my layout is for demo purposes only. If they like the concept but not the layout that's fine. I also want to express that, although the pages are complete (for a 32 page book), i'm still very flexible & willing to change/replace any of the pages if they want them different.

Would anyone here be willing to take a quick look at the dummy & give some feedback? It will be more clear then. I know it's not really the conventional way of doing things, but this is a different kind of book. But if it will hurt my chances or look unprofessional, then I'll have to figure out another way to send it.
#1 - February 20, 2013, 06:09 AM

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Generally, when submitting a dummy, you include only two finished pieces, and the rest of the pages will be tight pencil sketches. The publishers assume a competent artist will take art direction to improve the book. Sending a completed book will, in all likelihood, relegate your to never get off the slush pile since a lot of self-published authors do send their already printed books to publishers and in my experience, the publishers don't bother looking at such books.

I recently gave a webinar for Mark Mitchell's picture book illustration class about picture book dummies. You can access a playback here: http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=PXP46&m=3k2e1nqqAimGyon&b=IZeDEtPvwH.B6ICA0mXzkA
#2 - February 20, 2013, 06:44 AM
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Iceartist

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Thanks, I think that might work, sending all the pencils. I appreciate your feedback! My worry was, sending only the text would make no sense in this case.
#3 - February 20, 2013, 07:25 AM

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Listen to Lyon. Also, re: this:

If they like the concept but not the layout that's fine. I also want to express that, although the pages are complete (for a 32 page book), i'm still very flexible & willing to change/replace any of the pages if they want them different.

Expressing that will just make you look like an amateur. :) They will assume that if there's something they like (your style, the concept, the text, whatever) that they can talk to you about moving forward with one element and changing everything else. I know many, many illustrators who got their first publishing credits by sending in dummies using their own stories/text and being hired first to do art for some other book(s) and then later as author/illustrators on their own.
#4 - February 20, 2013, 08:12 AM
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I definitely agree with Joni (and Lyon). An agent or publisher will assume you are open to revision and direction, so you don't need to say so. That also goes with only sending in a couple finished samples and the rest pencil sketches, as if you submit a completely finished book, they may think you will not respond well to having to do it over if there is an element they want changed.

One other caution is that it put a bit of a red flag up for me that you say the book is more about the art, not the text, even tho you've written text for it. Text and art should work together, and enhance the other. I'm an A/I as well so I understand the importance of both elements being strong.

If you are getting ready to send to agents (or editors, most of the following info can be used for subbing to eds as well) there are a couple of threads that you might find useful, and they have some useful links in them.

There is a good thread on creating digital dummies:

http://www.verlakay.com/boards/index.php?topic=65680.0

and this one on subbing PBs with art to agents:

http://www.verlakay.com/boards/index.php?topic=65052.0

Good luck!
#5 - February 20, 2013, 09:12 AM
« Last Edit: February 20, 2013, 09:13 AM by Artemesia »
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Lyon is absolutely correct. The general rule is 2-3 completed art samples plus tight sketches in a dummy is all you need. Funny thing is I actually never go by this rule for myself. I tend to complete or near-complete books... but I never encourage this crazy behavior!  It's not industry standard.

But if you were asking about my personal experience...I tend to decide on a book by book basis on how much art I'd like to have for submission. This may mean the entire book... or just half of it. That's just me, though. And I tend to work very fast,... so... it doesn't kill me if I have to scrap it. I consider it a learning experience.

I'd be happy to take a look at your dummy. You can just PM me. I've done more than my share of completed submissions. In fact, my current sub has about 32 pages completed (for a 40 page pb)... including end papers, cover/backcover, title page. But my last PB acquisition had the entire book complete at submission. The few others before these were also more complete than not. (text is always 100% complete in my dummies)

I was told it was very helpful... but this is *NOT* helpful if the work is not what the publisher wants.

My very first acquisition with a major house was a 10-page novelty dummy. 100% complete, art and text, cover to back.

Long story short: Present your book in the best possible light. If this requires more samples (than the standard rule) to showcase how unique your book is, then do it!
#6 - February 20, 2013, 09:38 AM

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Salina, I don't think Iceartist can send PMs yet. Can you send a PM and provide a way to contact you?
#7 - February 20, 2013, 09:54 AM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

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Thanks, Arty!
#8 - February 20, 2013, 10:10 AM

"Long story short: Present your book in the best possible light. If this requires more samples (than the standard rule) to showcase how unique your book is, then do it!"

DITTO. Sometimes, dummies are not required (or accepted) initially. Or not ready... but the rest gives the publisher enough juice.
#9 - February 20, 2013, 04:51 PM
What's for pudding, Mimmy?

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I agree with AE.

I know I had more than 3 pieces of finished art in the dummy for my first book because I was brand new and learning and wanted to really nail down the color palette and style myself.  Once I acquired my agent, almost all of that was revised.  Revision is part of the process.  Professionals know that.  Now I usually submit 3 pieces of finished color art and the rest are pencil sketches - the norm.

Just try to present your absolute best work.

This is all really great advice.  (Not mine - I mean, the other posts int he thread.  :) )

GOOD LUCK!!!
#10 - February 21, 2013, 06:22 AM

Iceartist

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Thanks so much to everyone for their comments! And a special THANK YOU to SYoon, who took a look at the dummy & had some really great insights on how to improve it! Still working away on it, & it will be ready to go out (stronger & better) very soon. :)
#11 - February 21, 2013, 07:11 AM

stacebee

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Of course in typical blue board fashion you have already received brilliant advice on here but I still wanted to say good luck with your dummy Iceartist !
#12 - February 21, 2013, 08:44 AM

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