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Submitting with links to online portfolios--is that "published"?

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Hey, Everyone!

I have another question as someone illustrating a book for the first time.

I've learned as a writer that editors generally won't consider any submission that's already been published, and many define that as having appeared ANYWHERE, including on one's own social media.  I'm assuming this applies to agents too, for obvious reasons. 

But my research tells me that the definition of "published" can vary widely these days.

I'm preparing to submit my illustrated book, and I plan to include (along with a few samples) a link to the full manuscript, which I think will help sell the book.  So I'm looking at online portfolios like Behance and FlipSnack.

The free tiers of those platforms, however, don't allow you to send a link unless you've made your project public.

So my question is, can I stay with the free tiers and "publish" my manuscript on that platform so I can send a link to agents/editors?  Will agents/editors accept it as "unpublished"?

Or should I pony up the dough so I can send a link to a private version of the manuscript?  The monthly fees aren't SUPER expensive, but they'll add up.

Since artists and illustrators commonly have online portfolios, I thought this whole thing might be different for illustrators as opposed to writers.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

Tim Myers




#1 - July 19, 2020, 02:47 PM

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I am not an illustrator, but I have been following these things for a while. Anything that is publicly accessible is published. When an editor or agent looks at the portfolio of an artist, some of which are password protected, they are looking at style. They are not looking to buy the specific piece. The art they commission will be different from what they saw in the portfolio unless they ask for a book based on a character seen in the portfolio, but even then only the one piece was already published, not the whole thing.

It is possible to create your own website and have parts of it be password protected. I don't know if that's a better option than the places you're looking. Hopefully an illustrator will stop by shortly with more info on what they do.
#2 - July 19, 2020, 06:20 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

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Thanks so much, Debbie!  Your thoughtful response is very helpful--you've got me thinking in new ways about this, and I'm grateful.  Generous of you!
#3 - July 19, 2020, 10:01 PM

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I am not an illustrator either, but my understanding is that author/illustrators submit their written manuscripts in the usual ms format with an attached dummy. If the agent or editor is interested, they will request more. My understanding of illustrator portfolios is the same as Debbie's. They include samples of the artist's style and range. You would not post actual illustrations for a specific ms there.
#4 - July 20, 2020, 10:23 AM

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Thanks so much, Pons!  I appreciate your time and trouble, and your points are illuminating!
#5 - July 20, 2020, 01:34 PM

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Pons is correct. Usually you submit the manuscript and a sketched dummy with one or two finished spreads. You don't want to finish the whole thing because an editor or art director may ask for changes to the text (which changes the art) or to the art.
#6 - July 20, 2020, 06:24 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
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Tim,  I wouldn't post the manuscript on a public site like Behance. Illustrators on-line portfolio's display samples of their art, either previously published or created specifically for promotion. But they can create a private page in that site, post their dummy to that page and sub the link to the Agent/Editor, when submitting the query/manuscript. I'm also wondering if subbing a link to dropbox, to your dummy, would work as well?
What many Agents who rep Illustrator/Authors allow is an attachment of one or two Illustration samples with your query.
#7 - July 21, 2020, 04:05 AM
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Thank you, Christrip and Debbie--it's wonderful that people in the know would be so helpful as I navigate these waters.  I realized I had to take a much closer look at agents' specific requirements.  Between that and all this great advice, I can see my way more clearly.  It's a good example of what "doing your homework" can mean, I think.  You all have saved me from some errors--and I'm very grateful for that!
#8 - July 22, 2020, 12:53 PM

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