1. writerguy
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    writerguy New Member

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    can the inclusion of pictures increase your novel's chances of publishing?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by writerguy, Mar 23, 2013.

    hello,

    i just registered just to ask this question: if i find that publishing my fictional novel proves to be too difficult, such as getting too many rejection letters, or whatever's involved in that business, then a trick i may have up my sleeve is that i'm also lucky enough to be an extremely gifted artist/illustrator, but, of course, pictures take longer than text ('a picture is worth a thousand words'), so here's my plan, and correct me if i'm somehow 'wrong,' or just comment in general if a comment may enlighten me further in any way:

    instead of going with a comic book as my 'plan B' if publishing the text alone proves too difficult, is there some medium of 'graphic novel' or 'illustrated novel' that i can create for the express purpose of actually improving my chances with publishers, to help sate their willingness to publish my novel, that doesn't require as many pictures and dialogue bubbles as a comic book does, but, rather, is more like where it has text on one side, a picture on the other side, and repeat, or some format with that general concept of mixing text and pictures?

    for example i looked up the term 'graphic novel' on wikipedia...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphic_novel
    and the closest image example there to what i'm talking about was the black and white image seen here...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphic_novel#Modern_era

    so ultimately my question to any of you is this: if i find publishing to be too difficult with text alone, is it reasonable to assume that my artistic/illustration skills can change a publisher's mind, and, if so, are there any concerns i should have or things i should expect that i may not know of that could pose any sort of problem with a 'plan B' such as this? lastly, does this sort of medium have a special name that publishers already recognize it as?

    please excuse my lack of the use of the shift key. my book has caps in it.

    thanks!
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Never send illustrations with a manuscript for a novel or short story. You won't improve your chances, and you could come across as a rank amateur (that's never a good thing).

    For graphic novels or comics, that's another industry entirely, and I will frankly admit I don't know. My impression is that that industry works with teams from concept to delivery, with writers, pen and ink artists, background artists, and layout and color artists, each with assigned tasks for every project in advance.

    But for traditional publishing, patience and persistence are key. There is no room for "if it's too hard." If at first you don't succeed, try, try -- try, try, try -- and try some more.
     
  3. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If you're trying to publish a novel, what on earth makes you think being a good illustrator or comic artist would help you in that? A novel does not need any art beside the cover and publishers have artists who will do that. If your writing isn't good enough, no amount of good drawings will help you sell a NOVEL.

    Instead, if you're asking, is publishing a graphic novel easier than publishing a novel, and so should your attempts at publishing a novel fail, if you should move on to trying to publish a graphic novel instead - now that I don't know.

    But having published a graphic novel still isn't gonna help you publish a novel at a later date - they're two different creatures. It's like asking if writing poetry is gonna help you become a screenwriter - the skill sets are so completely different as to be incomparable, let alone actually "help" you publish the other.
     
  4. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Bearing in mind that I know nothing of the graphic novel market my question to you would be, what exactly is your book? Is it a graphic novel? Is it a novel? Or is it dare I say it, a picture book? They are all very different beasts and what will sell to one agent and one audience will likely not sell to another. Also they are written very differently. I don't think you can simply take a novel and add pictures to it and expect it to appeal to people who didn't like it before.

    My thought would be that you need to go back to the beginings and decide what you want your book to be. Then write and draw it as necessary. Then find the agents and audience for that type of work.

    However, and this may be an important plus, there is nothing to stop you presenting your work as three seperate things,i.e. a comic book, a picture book and a novel. But they will be three very different books by the time you're finished rewriting them.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  5. writerguy
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    writerguy New Member

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    a novel:)

    thanks all!!

    the conclusion i'm getting here is "no" pictures will not increase a novel's chances of publishing
     
  6. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, no pictures. Publishers don't care if you're another Michelangelo - they're looking for novelists.

    Note: Until you rid yourself of this "if it's too hard", you'll never get published. It's a negative mindset that allows you to give up too easily. Getting published is hard. Accept it.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i can only ditto all the good advice given above...

    if you want to know if your novel [fyi, all novels are 'fictional' so don't be redundant] itself is the problem, you can send me your query letter and the first 3 pages and i'll give you my professional editor's and writing mentor's opinion on whether it needs work, or is good enough to eventually snag an agent and publisher...

    btw, are you querying publishers directly, or agents?... or haven't you even finished the book yet and are putting the cart miles ahead of your horse?

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  8. writerguy
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    writerguy New Member

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    hey maia!:) thanks, i may have to take you up on that offer in..erm..a few years xD no i'm very far from finishing. i've just always been mentally preparing myself for constant rejection (it's like a mental survival instinct, how deep:love:) so my mind often wanders into the territory of plan B's and C's, and someday i may have to study the art of getting a novel published (and extremely successful afterwards) when no one considers the novel itself good enough--if it ever gets to that, of course. it seems like that would be my only option at that point, especially if i'm positive that "it's my final draft; take it or leave it". but i'll hold off asking anymore theoretical/early questions in the case that that's preferred, i was just curious if art/pictures ever helped a novel succeed before, outside of the cover itself, and it looks like that's a "no", such that i'd just better go with a novel and then if necessary a separate comic book/graphic novel. hoopla!
     
  9. AVCortez
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    AVCortez Active Member

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    Yep, a quick look at community funding sites will reveal that these guys are many... And a look at my own fiction blog will show I'm counted amongst them.

    I actually thought about doing exactly what you described. But after discussing it with my partner she reminded me that it was something I set out to avoid when writing my first novel. Pictures are just distracting, and take away from the reader's imagination. When they turn the page their eye will be drawn away from the text to the image and if it's detailed, spoil the lead in. It's dangerous being an illustrator and a writer, because the desire to paint is as strong as it is to write. You need to take a step back, look at game design and comic book artists and be very honest with yourself: Can I draw like them? (link)

    This sort of thing seems to be a trend in community funded publishing. (Not saying this is you by the way) People who consider themselves far better illustrators than they actually are producing ham-fisted drawings to go with their novels. With that in mind, the community seems to lap it up. I've seen campaigns that feature rewards like "$500 - I will draw you a picture based on my book" and people are paying these, what I would call, student level artists just that. Then again, perhaps it was their mother. Cog said it best; it won't help you get published, and adds the risk of making you look like a hack. But it's a very different story if you are self publishing, and all hinges on just how good you actually are.
     
  10. Darkhorse
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    Darkhorse Member

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    What about including a map like those seen in the The Lord of the Rings, or The wheel of time?
     
  11. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    I don't think I would recommend that, either, Dark. Your writing and your story should be able to stand on its own, and if it doesn't do that, then no amount of extra work is going to get it published. If you have something like a map that you think would be a bonus for readers, then during the publishing process, I'm sure you can let your editor know and they can work something like that out. But I wouldn't recommend sending one in before you've got a contract. It's just not beneficial.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto that...
     
  13. AVCortez
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    AVCortez Active Member

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    A map at the front of a fantasy novel, set in a world built by the author is pretty much stock standard. But I read an article sometime ago that maps should not be submitted to a Publisher, and that they will produced by their own artists - instructed by the author (I assume).
     
  14. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    What about a children's book?
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    unless you're a professional illustrator known to the publisher, you probably won't be allowed to submit artwork... most assign their own artists...

    always check each publisher's submission guidelines to be sure...

    the 'should not be' part is true... the rest is subject to whatever contractual terms are agreed upon... if you're a good enough cartographer, using your own map could be negotiable...
     
  16. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd ask an agent that reps children's books. They're a little different in that the illustrations/pictures are frequently marketed, and a book can sell more on the high quality artwork than even the story. So, if you are talented in that way, or have an illustrator you're working with or the pictures are otherwise something that might cause someone to buy the book for them alone, it's possible that the inclusion of them might help.

    There are also a couple organizations of children's book writers (I want to say one has an acronym that's something like SCBWI -- something that I always think has to do with sci fi, but is something like Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators -- if you google you could probably find it). If they have message boards or something, you could probably ask them, too.
     

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