I thought that October was going to be my busiest month this year, but it looks like this month is just as busy or busier! I don’t know how this happened. I’m going to talk about what I’m working on later, but for now here are some events, classes and submissions that I’ve been telling people about. It’s just that there are so many that I just want them in one place!
Picture Book Palooza
Price: $20 (or donate more to help this cause!)
Runs Dec 5-7th! It’s a big online event that talks about all aspects of Picture Books. The event is to raise money for diversity scholarships for the Children’s Book Academy. It’s $20 and there are a lot of prizes. All webinars are recorded:
SCBWI Graphic Novel Conference
Turning Writing and Illustrator Ideas into Graphic Novels
10:00 am – 3:30 pm
A one day conference for graphic novel writers and illustrators. When I signed up there were a few spots left with Natascha Morris for a paid critique. Submission opportunity available after the conference!
Black Friday Bootcamp with Storyteller Academy!
Arree Chung is the founder and one of the teachers at the wonderful storyteller academy. Come join in the free event and see if the Storyteller Academy is right for you! I’ve learned a ton at this academy and my son adored the kids classes that were offered!
A YA writing event. Most of the webinars are for YA writers, but there was a talk on MG books. I haven’t watched the events so it could be good for MG writers as well. There is a talk for graphic novelists and one with a queer talk!
This event is now over, but most of the webinars are posted on Youtube!
YallWrite Twitter: https://twitter.com/YALLFest
Youtube Replays: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLuk7vwjbCbcfvt5K22xlF_6HS4WWcCoB
7 Turns – Novel Writing Course
This is an absolutely wonderful course to take for anyone wanting to write a novel for any age. Ksenia teaches the 7 turns of creating a novel giving you an excellent and fully customizable blueprint to make your novel sing. The community surrounding this course is very supportive and I love everything I’ve learned.
7 Turns Vision: To be the world’s first creative healing company, to create a healthy place to work for, and to build a safe, trusted, and uplifting online community where people can share and discover any story they want.
The 2021 Craft & Business of Writing Children’s Picture Books
A wonderful course by the Children’s Book Academy. Work on your writing craft with three fantastic teachers. Submission opportunity after the course with 10 Editors, Agents and Publishers who will look at your work!
I have been in the illustration course 3 times. It is a fantastic learning opportunity. I learn something new every time I’m in a CBA course.
The BIPOC Bookshelf
A list of BIPOC Editors and Agents. Not all agents on this list are open to submissions!
“The purpose of the BIPOC Editors & Agents database is to be used by both literary publishing professionals and potential writers – with the goal of bringing more stories from the perspective of BIPOC writers into the world through traditional publishing.”
The BIPOC Twitter Account:
How done is done? This is a question that I’ve been asking myself a lot. I’ve seen a lot of dummies and some are very loose drawings and some are fairly tight. How tight a drawing needs to be is up to the editor that takes on your work.
I’ve mostly been erring on the side of polished, but I’ve seen a lot of dummies and some don’t polish their work. You want an editor/art director to be able to visualize your work. There also has to be lots of room for changes. If your drawings are too tight (or perfect) an art director might feel like the artist is done and might not be open to changes.
Depending on your story you’ll want to submit 24+ pages of sketches and 1-2 spreads (2-4 pages) of finished illustrations. Here is some idea of some picture book length stories. of https://marlalesage.com/2019/08/12/picture-books-length-layout/ Chapter books and board books are similar to picture books in the submission process.
Graphic novels are a bit different. Depending on the type of graphic novel you are submitting you may be publishing through someone who does picture books, or an agent or editor like First Second that just does graphic novels. If you are submitting through someone who does picture books your submission package will likely be similar to a picture book package. Graphic novels and comics are usually different and based on the pitch and previous work. Here is the submission guidelines from First Second: https://firstsecondbooks.com/uncategorized/the-submission-process-what-to-submit/ The guidelines here is generally more of what I’ve seen for graphic novels and comics (both children and adults).
Be sure to check out some submission guidelines before you start your work!
I recently did a poll to see how done illustrators were with their work on their first book contract. I didn’t get enough people voting, but thought the results were pretty representational of the hundreds of book dummies I’ve seen. I had 6 votes and 83% (5 people) said their work fell under the “Nice but not perfect” category and the other 17% (1 person) said their work was very sketchy. See the poll here: https://twitter.com/DaniDuck/status/1174753326417600513
I’m not sure if they voted but one person said they had color samples and a complete manuscript, but no dummy. One said an art director just found them. One said their images were very loose.
I’ve seen a wide range of stories and dummies and generally they range from nice to sketchy. I recently saw a very sketchy dummy from a book that’s being published soon. To see a good range of book dummies use “book dummy” (not book dummies) in an internet search. You’ll see some great visual references so you can see the range of “doneness” for yourself.
I recently attended a webinar with an Art Director who didn’t seem to believe in dummies. She works for many companies and was okay with sketchy work for first time illustrators!
I say go with your gut. Worrying too much about the actual sketches may cause more problems than it’s worth. Go with the guidelines of any agent/editor to a “T” but if there are no specifics, then do your best. The final images will help an agent or editor interpret your drawings as long as your drawings are fairly representational of the story you are telling.