Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Slush and Punishment: What No Words Can Express


I have a wonderful idea for a wordless book but I’m not an illustrator.

+5 points for being one of the people who realize they’re not an illustrator.
-2,000 points for thinking I’m going to pay you for an idea rather than actual work.

Your total:

Today’s honorary ‘duh’ award.

13 comments:

Lynne said...

Dear Editor,

Below is my picture book manuscript for your review:
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Please let me know as soon as possible which Caldecott Medal winner you have hired to illustrate my book.

Sincerely,

C. Looless

Andy J Smith illustration said...

"... In keeping with the wordless fashion of the book, the cover should feature no title. It's up to you where you place the missing title (I'm not a designer). Please feel free to make my name as big and noticeable as possible, however"

Anonymous said...

Although the slush odds are slim that this person is either a Jennifer Armstrong or a Paul Fleischman, let's not forget the (near) wordless books Once Upon a Banana (author credit to Armstrong, illustrated by David Small) and Sidewalk Circus (author credit to Fleischman, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes). I realize that those projects were likely developed with an editor on board but still proof that a couple less-than-"duh"-worthy authors actually pulled this off.

Anonymous said...

Good point, anon. When people read these books, they think: "This book is wordless or nearly so, and therefore the 'author' must have sold an idea, right? And they claim you don't have to be a big name to sell, just have a good story. Therefore, if I have a great idea for a wordless picture book, apparently I don't have to be the illustrator . . ." Would-be writers receive the advice to write what's being published -- those that do any industry research, that is. Reality is that when publishers publish something, they are probably going to receive lots of slush in the same vein. "This is what they're interested in," goes the wisdom. "Therefore . . ."

Anonymous said...

Hey C. Looless,
I think your manuscript has potential for our Winter 2200 list.
I like the way you hook the reader with an extreme snow scene. The use of white space provides excitement. The reader has no idea what lurks behind the white-out. Then it's a real quickie-page-turner with the snow growing and growing until the resolution, a snow dream.
I will run this by the team at the aquisition meeting on Thursday. Then it's off to the marketers and art department for costing.
Regards,
Frosty the Snowman
Senior Editor for people with [snow] balls.

ann said...

Don't forget to tell everyone at the acquisitions' table that the production costs on the " " extreme snow book, will be the lowest they've every seen.

Qual said...

I want to illustrate Looless's book! Get a load of this genius artwork:

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It's a snowball on a white background. Ain't it sweet? Gimme the job, go on, I can do it ...

Eric said...

At the risk of being declared a fool, an approach that might work for presenting such an “idea” as a marketable book would be to describe each page spread (page three: the dog sniffs suspiciously at the jack-in-the-box as the mouse gleefully reaches for the crank on its side...) This way the editor could visualize the concept without illustrations. He is supposed to be a writer, after all.

Or would the average editor be incapable of comprehending such?

Anonymous said...

Dear Qual,
Your illustration looks great for the extreme snow job.
The marketing department feels this book should be moved up and released Winter 2010, in time for the Olympics. We have one small problem to overcome before going ahead with this project, an imprint at our house is publishing a similar book titled, "Autograph Book".
In the event we go ahead with this project, your royalties will be based on 0% of the retail cover price, split 0/0 with the author.

Regards,

Frosty the Snowman
Senior Editor of winter list, Junior Editor of spring list,
Nada Editor of summer list.

Anonymous said...

Funny, funny! But seriously ... how does a writer sell a concept-driven idea?

(And, for the sake of argument, let's say that the writer is actually smart and savvy in the language of children's books and not a purple-stationery-and-glitter crackpot.)

For instance, a writer who sees her manuscript as a great pop-up book? Or a story that's told in nothing but sounds? A lift-the-flap book or any other interactive format?

My instinct is that these are often not first books but books that may come about once a writer has an established relationship with an editor and can bat a few ideas around.

Anonymous said...

Add *Cheep, Cheep* from Bloomsbury to the list. It's got about 10 words, but a separate author/illustrator.

Anonymous said...

Haa! Haa! These posts cracked me up. There seems to be some creative thinkers tuning in.

Jennifer Armstrong said...

FYI, Once Upon a Banana was sold as a manuscript. In other words, it was not developed with an editor from the get-go.
I wrote the text and included very minimal art direction to indicate the action that made sense of the text and produced the narrative.