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M.S. format for board books with very few words (when you are the author)

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Hi everybody,

Does anyone have any personal experience with subbing a board book (or board book series) idea that has very few words, when you are the author not the illustrator? An example of what I mean is the wonderful BabyLit series by Jennifer Adams, where each page has only one word or short phrase.  When I look at the m.s. it is so sparse. However I do not think I need (or want!) to include illustration notes. This is a concept book and the concept can be explained in the cover letter.  So in other words I am left submitting a m.s. with fewer than 20 words, plus a cover letter. It feels strange. Am I just over-thinking this? Should I go ahead and submit? I have this hunch that books of this nature are often driven by the publisher rather than submitted in the slush pile. And yet I think I have a fun and unique idea.

Thanks for your been there/done that tips or just your input! 
#1 - July 03, 2019, 04:13 PM

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Christine, I don't have personal experience, but if you explain the concept in the cover and the editor can see your vision, I don't see why it won't work. Go for it! :clover
#2 - July 03, 2019, 05:48 PM
BOUND (Bodach Books, 2018)
TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces

Write the text of your story like normal, even though it's only 20 words. 
[Include illustration instructions in brackets so they aren't confused with the text.  Don't be shy about using illustration instructions because what is obvious to you may not be obvious to the editor or illustrator.  Without instructions, your vision may not translate and the editor may not see why your 20-word story is worth taking up.]
#3 - July 03, 2019, 06:01 PM
Karen B. Jones

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Board books are often written in house as you suggest, but there are publishers who take them. You may want to put the explanation paragraph on the manuscript as well as in the letter. This will help the person reading envision the story without having notes. Write it as a single note up top, under the title.

Good luck.
#4 - July 03, 2019, 06:26 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
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Yay, Christine! Board books are so fun!

I agree with all that's been said by Vijaya, Karen, and Debbie. Like Karen, I suggest putting illustration instructions in brackets [italics, too, just to make them stand out even more]. And while my board book experience has been with an educational publisher, I do know of other houses who accept unsolicited subs (Blue Manatee Press first comes to mind).

Best wishes!!!
#5 - July 04, 2019, 06:47 AM
« Last Edit: July 04, 2019, 06:49 AM by carrots »

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Yay, Christine! Board books are so fun!

I agree with all that's been said by Vijaya, Karen, and Debbie. Like Karen, I suggest putting illustration instructions in brackets [italics, too, just to make them stand out even more]. And while my board book experience has been with an educational publisher, I do know of other houses who accept unsolicited subs (Blue Manatee Press first comes to mind).

Best wishes!!!

Carrots, I appreciate how you confirmed the words of others and also shared from your experience.  Mentioning a press that does take unsolicited manuscripts as well is very helpful. Thank you.

          ~ Becky
#6 - August 22, 2019, 01:03 PM

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