Tracy WANTS A NAP Marchini - *on Hiatus*
Marc Poliquin @Marc_Writes@bookendslit I’ve heard that, these days, slice of life picture books are harder sells than PBs with more traditional narratives. Any truth to that? Would it be advisable to try and sell a more traditionally structured book first if you’re an unpublished writer? #AskBookEndsJr #Askagent
I think slice of life are (and have been) more difficult for a while now, so as a debut if you do write both character-driven narratives and slice-of-lifes, I probably would start with the character-driven book! #AskAgent #askbookendsjr #picturebooks
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
Kelly Mangan @KellyAMangan@TracyMarchini @scbwi I’m seeing a lot of agents lately saying they’re *only* looking for PB author/illustrators. I’m also noticing a trend for fewer & fewer words. Is this a general industry trend away from PB authors? Are publishing houses primarily looking for author/illustrators now too?
Tracy WANTS A NAP Marchini @TracyMarchiniWill agents look at picture book projects that are already illustrated and self-published? tracymarchini.com/2018/03/13/rea…
Tracy WANTS A NAP Marchini @TracyMarchiniWho chooses the illustrator for picture books? tracymarchini.com/2017/04/06/who…
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.
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.
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.