It began last October with a semi-desire to learn how to do scratchboard while tinkering with a story idea. As usual, my brain firmly resisted this new task that sounded messy, time consuming and difficult to learn. So, after buying all the materials and watching a few tutorials, I tried creating the scratchboard effect using Photoshop, something I was already familiar with and was not as messy. That’s when a little girl named Bug appeared.
But hey! What was Bug’s story? I had no idea. I decided to find out. So much for scratchboard.
Almost one year later, the story has been researched, written, rewritten, trashed, started over, rewritten, revised, tweeked, submitted, and SOLD! I’ve known about the sale for several months, but the publishing wheels tend to turn slowly and I just received the contract today. I can now announce that BUG! will be published by Sterling Publishing, tentatively in Spring 2018. The illustrator has yet to be named but the art director is pouring through portfolios. Based on the date due for the final manuscript, the 20th of this month, I’m just guessing that my work as the writer is done for now.
It is pretty ironic that a story that began with an illustration will not be illustrated by its original illustrator! But here’s the deal: I did not want to illustrate this book; I knew my style was wrong for it. In fact, I’ve written several stories in recent years that are not suitable for my style. And I have found it beneficial as a writer/illustrator to make that clear when I submit a story. Even if I think my style is right, I leave that option open and provide one or two sample illustrations. I’m not recommending that others do the same. It’s just what works for me.
Supportive people who suggest things such as, “Aw, you could at least try!” or “You could *simply* change your style!” (see above) or worse, “I think your style would work great; those editors don’t know what they are talking about!” are too kind and somewhat clueless as to how it all works. But it’s okay. I’ve learned to just let these well meaning folks feel that while they know better than I do, I’m obviously just too darn stubborn to pay them any mind. Everybody happy. Especially me! Woot! First picture book since 1993.
8 Comments Add yours
Congrats, Robin! I’ve been thinking about submitting without illustrations as well. Good to hear a success story!
Thanks Abbey! It is hard to word the option so we don’t sound like we’re not confident about our art or our story. Good luck!
Woo-hoooooo! GREAT news, Ms. Robin!
Thanks, Trudy! Woo-hoooooooooooo to you toooooo!
I love the illustration example, Robin. I love scratchboard and lino cuts. Can’t wait to see the whole book!
Thanks, Claudia, and same here! It will be fun to see what another illustrator does with the story
Terrific story. Berta and Elmer Hader, subject of my new biography Drawn Together, shows they suceeded because ot that same determination, working well with editors, and keeping up the connections! I look forward to reading BUG one of these days. Billy