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Advice on submission author/illustrator

(49 Posts)
CupOCoffee Tue 24-Sep-13 11:30:57

I've been working on a book which I have written (and rewritten . . . and on and on!) and illustrated which I feel is ready for submission. I am tying myself in knots trying to decide who to send it to, despite many hours of googling. It's a picture story book for the 3-6 bracket.

I feel as though I need a recommendation and can't seem to make the decision without one. Can anyone help?

I was originally going to submit to a publisher but am now looking at agents. I'm just not sure which is most advisable as there is so much conflicting advice on the net.


CupOCoffee Fri 15-Nov-13 09:50:25

Wow that's fantastic thank you! smile

andthepiggotupandslowlywalkeda Thu 14-Nov-13 19:53:12

No, no, always glad to spout off to someone!

What I done was: When I saw there were still places on the workshop, I sent in the form with a cheque for the money, and then when I was contacted to say that I had a place, I was given the information about uploading my dummy book to an online file sharing service so that the people running it could see it and comment before the workshop day itself. That was pretty much it, although I did revise my book between getting the comments and the workshop day.

Comments from the organisers were meant to be tough but fair. I found them very helpful, and I didn't get the vibe from other people that anything horrible had been said.

Comments from other participants were also fair - we were all in the same boat, and appreciated how much effort had gone into creating the dummies, and while pointing out weaker areas, were constructive criticisms. People might write that they thought, say, the plotline was confused at a particular stage of a story, but no-one scribbled abusive notes to anyone!

A dummy is a pencil rough - fairly detailed but can be sketchy, including the text in the layout. Usually the author will do a couple of colour spreads as well, so that a publisher can get an idea of the final product. Some people had made theirs into actual book-shaped things - mine was a pile of photocopies!

There was quite a range within both illustrations and stories. I would say that not all were at what I would think of as a 'professional' level of illustration, but even so there were good things and ideas in all of them.

CupOCoffee Wed 13-Nov-13 21:42:46

Just read that link. Sounds fantastic but terrifying!

CupOCoffee Wed 13-Nov-13 21:30:45

Ooh! That sounds great! How do they chose who can send their dummy in, as i assume they can't look at everyone's who wants to send it?

What sort of comments did you get?

A dummy is a couple of spreads of full illustrations and the rest sketched out isn't it? With text roughly laid out? Not quite sure on that one.

What were the anonymous comments like? What did you think of other peoples?

Were they all illustrators or were there amateurs? And did you think any were rubbish? grin

Did you comment on each others writing as well as illustrations?

Lots of questions sorry! grin

andthepiggotupandslowlywalkeda Wed 13-Nov-13 13:52:07

Yes! 'Twas a very good thing.

I don't know if they do it every year, but the London bit of the SCBWI ran various 'masterclasses', including an illustrator series. There's a link on this page here to a PDF that tells you what they covered. I did a portfolio intensive review, and the dummy makeover (which was the proper title for the picture book surgery). You sent in your dummy some weeks before the makeover, then you got sent notes about what the strong and weak points were. There was also a meetup, where two writer/illustrators talked about, erm, illustrating and writing, then the various dummy books that people had bought in were swapped around and commented on anonymously. They were both a bit scary, just because it always is putting your stuff out there for comment, but it was definitely constructive.

Good luck with your book - the best way to deal with the waiting is to get started on the next one. It's a much better way of keeping occupied than pressing 'refresh' on my emails every thirty seconds. Not that I ever did that. Oh no.

CupOCoffee Tue 12-Nov-13 21:28:49

Hello! Sorry only just seen this.

Picture book surgery? I never knew there was such a thing! Tell me more! smile

andthepiggotupandslowlywalkeda Tue 05-Nov-13 19:34:47

Hello, I'm just creeping in, quiet like.

I'm an illustrator, and would-be writer, and a member of SCBWI for about 8 months. I've been to a portfolio review and a picture book 'surgery' this year, and found both enormously useful. I've even found an illustration agent who likes my work at their annual agents' party (after what feels like a lot of form rejections or just no responses at all, but probably isn't that many!) If you really use the resources, its absolutely worth the joining fee.

Also, I do know what you mean about the tone of the websites. I did get the 'just don't send your rubbish in, you fool' vibe for some of them!

CupOCoffee Wed 09-Oct-13 14:01:32

Of course! How could I forget!

Have been to Frankfurt so should have known this! My work revolved around the fairs for many years.


TunipTheUnconquerable Wed 09-Oct-13 11:32:24

This isn't what you want to hear, CupOCoffee, but the Frankfurt Book Fair starts today so a lot of agents will be away until next week and then have a bit of a backlog to get through when they get back!

CupOCoffee Wed 09-Oct-13 10:36:32

Oh put me out of my misery! 1.5 weeks since i sent my first ever submissions!

Its not a good feeling of limbo.

TunipTheUnconquerable Sat 05-Oct-13 08:57:27

I was thinking about joining that. The northern section has events near me sometimes.

schmalex Sat 05-Oct-13 07:20:44

It's the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. The online magazine is one thing they do (which non-members can read too) but there's heaps more - annual conference, local events, master classes, critique groups.

The joining process is slightly odd as you have to join the US organisation with the UK as your local chapter.

Website is

Can't recommend it highly enough!

CupOCoffee Fri 04-Oct-13 13:31:01


SCBWI, is that the online magazine thing? I think someone else might have linked to it or a question and answer thing on it. Was very helpful. How does it benefit to join?

Also what does it stand for?

schmalex Fri 04-Oct-13 10:50:29

Hi coffee
Yes, I write picture books (one currently under contract) and also for 6-8s (currently doing the rejection rounds!)
Have you joined SCBWI? It's great for getting industry contacts and knowledge specific to the children's publishing industry.

fackinell Thu 03-Oct-13 14:50:57

*precious, not previous.

fackinell Thu 03-Oct-13 14:32:57

Oh no!! I typed a big reply and its gone confused

Right!! Here goes again. Thank you, Coffee. I started with asking friends to share my FB Author page and book links and asked for ReTweets on Twitter. I asked Marian Keyes envy and Greg Hemphill for RTs and damn near peed myself when they did!!

I asked local businesses and restaurants to display a few posters and handed out fliers. I asked my local paper for some Editorial and they obliged. I did some FB advertising where you pay per click for people to visit my Amazon page. This had limited success so don't spend much. I may try local radio soon.

I changed category after reviews commented that it was funny, from contemporary women to comedy. This was a much less crowded genre. I put the price up and down from 77p to 99p a few times to get on on email drops from Amazon to customers.

One piece of advice though, never ever offer a free week if your book is selling well. I saw a top ten book sink like the Titanic that way. It's a totally different chart and the top spots are too competitive and previous to risk!!

Push, push, push at every opportunity (without putting upon friends too much.)
Shy bairns get nowt. grin

CupOCoffee Thu 03-Oct-13 13:04:39

fackinell. Thank you for the pm, was going to reply by pm but it got a bit confusing because of a name change (won't bore you by explaining). It sounds like you're doing great! I looked up your chicklit book as well. I like the title! grin

How do you go about marketing them?

Thoughtsanall. I have sent it to 3 agents so far, and one other who i didn't realise had closed to submissions until the end of this month. Im going to wait and see what they say but in the mean time Im working on illustrations.

fackinell Thu 03-Oct-13 12:41:19

Thank you grin
I'm sure I won't get a nice quiet one!! I've PMd you already so you probably don't need me to repeat my next plot line (boring you once is enough in sure!!) wine usually helps my creative flow, a cup of tea doesn't cut it sadly. May have to wait till baba is baked to get my new

thoughtsandall Thu 03-Oct-13 11:54:08

And huge congrats on the pregnancy. There is no such thing as a baby who sleeps a lot- well not in my house anyway. Will be wishing for one for you though.

thoughtsandall Thu 03-Oct-13 11:50:37

fackinell That's amazing. Good on you. What is next in pipeline/plan?

fackinell Thu 03-Oct-13 11:49:50

grin Yes!! I'll take one of those, please.

My DM and Dsis say karma will give me a little shit, just like I (still) am, unfortunately.

TunipTheUnconquerable Thu 03-Oct-13 11:38:35

LOL. Congratulations on your pregnancy! grin

Fingers crossed you have one of those babies who sleeps a lot then lies there happily gurgling in its chair so you can have time to write!

fackinell Thu 03-Oct-13 11:36:52

Yeah I was well chuffed, Tunip. Being SE means I panic A LOT about sales now. Especially since I'm now pregnant!! grin Great timing on giving up my job to write. FFS!!!

TunipTheUnconquerable Thu 03-Oct-13 11:29:11

Bloody hell though, 8k in a month! <respect>

fackinell Thu 03-Oct-13 11:27:42

Hi Thoughts, sales are going well, thanks. It peaked at 8k sales in July (I just got paid for that yesterday) and now settling down to around 3k sales a month. It won't last for ever though! That's a scary thought.
I will PM you. smile

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