Tracy WANTS A NAP Marchini - *on Hiatus*

@TracyMarchini

Literary Agent at @BookEndsLit | Author CHICKEN WANTS A NAP (Creative Editions) | Rep'd by @thejpocius | she/her | Join the Quacktory! bit.ly/1DfU0Wk

BookEnds Literary Agency

Tracy WANTS A NAP Marchini - *on hiatus* @TracyMarchini · 11 Oct 2018

Most of the fiction pbs I've sold as an agent are around 450 words, and they're all the standard 32 pages. But, at the same time, you have to tell the story with the words you need. It's just that in picture books, *every* word has to be the *right* word.

Tracy WANTS A NAP Marchini - *on hiatus* @TracyMarchini · 11 Oct 2018

I'm not hating on PLP specifically, but if you submitted that as a debut picture book today, it would be rejected. Today's picture book fiction sweet spot is around 300 - 500 words. There's always exceptions, but they are rare. (CHICKEN WANTS A NAP is 165, over 24 pages)

Tracy WANTS A NAP Marchini - *on hiatus* @TracyMarchini · 11 Oct 2018

But yes - the trend in publishing has been towards shorter picture books. If you read some of our classics - like Poky Little Puppy - there's so much about that book that wouldn't be published today. It's too long, the arc isn't layered, the puppy doesn't solve their own problem.

Tracy WANTS A NAP Marchini - *on hiatus* @TracyMarchini · 11 Oct 2018

Publishers are *not* making a shift towards primarily author-illos. They just want the best picture book projects they can find, be it from an author or an author-illustrator. As an agent, I'm open to authors, illustrators and author-illustrators.

Tracy WANTS A NAP Marchini - *on hiatus* @TracyMarchini · 11 Oct 2018

So - agents looking *only* for picture book author/illustrators is just the personal preference of the agent. It's a different process and a different set of contacts to shop an illustrator's portfolio vs. a completed book dummy, and some agents prefer to do one over the other.

Tracy WANTS A NAP Marchini - *on hiatus* @TracyMarchini · 10 Oct 2018

How and where should I put together my online portfolio as an author-illustrator? tracymarchini.com/2018/07/14/put…

Tracy WANTS A NAP Marchini - *on hiatus* @TracyMarchini · 10 Oct 2018

Will agents look at picture book projects that are already illustrated and self-published? tracymarchini.com/2018/03/13/rea…

Tracy WANTS A NAP Marchini - *on hiatus* @TracyMarchini · 10 Oct 2018

For some more on how picture book publication works, here's some old (and some fresh-ish!) blog posts.

For those just starting to think about writing picture books: tracymarchini.com/2013/03/12/thi…

Tracy WANTS A NAP Marchini - *on hiatus* @TracyMarchini · 10 Oct 2018

That said, publishers *do* want you to love your book. Nobody wants to publish a book the author hates, and your agent is there to help navigate some of these situations.

Tracy WANTS A NAP Marchini - *on hiatus* @TracyMarchini · 10 Oct 2018

Will you as an author get to talk to the illustrator while they work? Usually - no. As an author, you were able to do your creative work without input (except from your editor), and so the illustrator gets the same courtesy when it comes to their creative vision for the book.

Tracy WANTS A NAP Marchini - *on hiatus* @TracyMarchini · 10 Oct 2018

And while that might sound limiting - the truth is that art departments are seeing art from all over and have a very keen eye for what is working in the current market - so they're going to have an even clearer vision of what the book *could* be.

Tracy WANTS A NAP Marchini - *on hiatus* @TracyMarchini · 10 Oct 2018

So, does the author have a say about who illustrates their book with a traditional publisher? Yes, (but mostly) no. You can suggest an artist, but ultimately, it's going to come down to the editor and art director's vision for the book as a whole.