Friday, October 29, 2010

From Story to Book in 10 Easy Steps

Surprisingly, many authors new to the publishing industry who approach me about illustrating their book don't know the first thing about how the publishing process actually works. In attempts to demystify these things a bit, I've put together this quick 10-step list of how a story (essentially) becomes a published picture book.

1. Author writes a story.
2. Author probably gets a literary agent* (many publishers don't accept unsolicited or unagented manuscripts).
3. Author or author's agent submits manuscript to appropriate publishing companies (one at a time--publishers don't like it when they aren't looking at a manuscript exclusively).
4. Editor at publishing company reads the manuscript.
5. If both the editor and the editorial director like the manuscript, it goes into an acquisitions meeting where its sales and marketing potential is discussed.  (If the publisher is interested enough, the editor might request revisions to the manuscript prior to the acquisitions meeting. If not, it gets rejected and returned to the author or agent to be sent to the next publisher.)
6. The publisher will then either turn down or approve the manuscript and offer the author a contract. 
7. The manuscript will then be finalized by the author and editors, and move into the book development stage.
8. The editor and art director will select an appropriate illustrator.
9. The illustrator will have a pre-determined length of time to complete the book art. (Usually 4 months to a year for a 32-page picture book, less under unusual circumstances).
10. The art department finalizes the look and layout of the book, and it goes to print.

From start to finish, this process can take months if not years before seeing the finished book on the self at the bookstore.

*In the case that the author and illustrator are the same person, the illustrator does not always need to have a separate literary specific agent to submit their picture book. If an illustrator has previously been published, that publisher may automatically wish to see any of that illustrators future manuscripts. Publishers know and welcome the benefit of the same author/illustrator combination. Not only is it easier to work with one person than two, it also typically results in a very cohesive story and successful final product.

For more information including the author's role in children's publishing, visit my page: Courtney's Guide to Publishing.

For a list of informative children's publishing links, visit my Publishing Resources Page.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The New & Improved

I'm tremendously excited to announce that my website, Slumberland Studio,  has undergone some reconstructive surgery and is looking all the better for it! Thanks entirely to my fabulously smart and supportive husband who helped me code and optimize its functionality. What would I do without him?!?!?

All of the links to the right will bring you to the corresponding pages of my site, making for an easy transition from blog to portfolio. (This pleases me greatly!)

I'm looking forward to developing some fun content overtime and segueing into more consistent site updates. Now that I have the new site, I want to fill it with new work! It's a great motivational tool ;)

Well, that's all for now! I hope you enjoy the new look!

The new & improved!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Jeepers, it's been a while since I posted on here. Shame on me for neglecting my art with a trip to San Francisco, a week being sick, redesigning my website,  reading almost all 3 Hunger Games books in a few days, and generally procrastinating in the form of cleaning and organizing my apartment from top to bottom. Not that those aren't all decent ways to spend my time, but it does clearly leave little time for creative endeavors.

Which brings me to today's piece, an illustration I created as part of the Halloween-themed promotion my agent will be sending out on Monday. I had every intention of participating in the promo but somehow I just couldn't find an angle that really appealed to me. Halloween is one of my favorite times, because it's just so inherently bizarre. And I love Halloween imagery but tried to stop myself from creating what could easily become some piece of Halloween stock art. I may now go ahead and do one of those pieces as well, but for the promo I wanted to at least attempt to create a more particular scene.

Lately I've really been unsatisfied with my process. I'm definitely working both too quickly and yet not fast enough. Giving myself only one day for idea and execution should be beneficial in that it forces me to work less preciously on my art. But at the same time, I keep over-working my illustrations. Freshness and spontaneity continue to elude me. Part of me wishes this piece was just the sketch and the real one could be repainted based on it--maybe even with traditional media. I miss painting for real. Digital has its place but lately it just hasn't been fulfilling my enjoyment of creating...

Anyway, here's "Pirate Loot," kid-Courtney's idea of the best part about Halloween: THE CANDY! I remember how exciting it was to feel that pillow case get heavier and heavier throughout the night. Imagine if I could have gone to every house in my town! Oh the amazing, delicious, bizareness of a holiday that encourages taking candy from strangers!