Pretty pictures


I’m writing today to encapsulate a tiny agony I’m currently struggling with.

As you might know, I have a couple of completed picture book manuscripts. I also work with a tremdendously talented designer and illustrator. She’s been kind enough to offer to illustrate them.

We have a publisher in mind for one of the books, and it’s a perfect fit for their regional list. But they, like other publishers/agents, don’t love receiving picture book manuscripts already illustrated.

I get it that determining the number, size, placement and subject matter of the illustrations in a picture book has a huge impact not only on the enjoyment of the book, but also on its actual bottom line – financially speaking. I also get it that publishers have a raft of illustrators to choose from. But wouldn’t they, like everyone else, respond well to something that’s beautifully done, and right there for the taking?

Anyhow, we’re going to wade into the shallow end here and take a flyer – creating a sample spread that will hopefully wow the publisher while not pinning them down on anything they’d like to decide for themselves. We’re going to say – how about this? And if they want to proceed with a different illustrator, that will have to be okay.

We’ll see how it goes.

Does anyone else have advice re: breaking the cardinal rule of picture book manuscripts and sending in illustrations? Even one? On spec?

Here’s hoping.

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