As a writer who has ALSO sold artwork to magazines and private collectors, I want to thank you for your post. I've never submitted illustrations for a potential book and have just recently thought about combining my two talents. I found your information intriguing. [thank you] Do LDS publishers offer artist guidelines with such information as size, gutters, etc.? Is the demand for book art great enough in the LDS publishing world to have such guidelines?
I have not seen illustrator guidelines on any of the LDS publisher websites, but then, I've never really gone looking for them. I would expect you could find some general guidelines in the Children's Writers and Illustrator's Market or through an association like SCBWI . General guidelines will get you 95% of the way, and most of the time that's close enough.
As for LDS illustrator guidelines, as long as people were dressed modestly and behaving appropriately, I don't see that they'd differ much from anywhere else.
Hi there LDS Publisher!
Since you posted a question about children’s publishing, here’s another one for your comment:
What’s your take on the market for LDS-themed children’s books? Do you think there’s potential there that’s not being met (as in there could be more and/or better offerings)? Or, considering that the biggest share of the LDS market is focused on romance/suspense, do you think most writers prefer to write where the money is since authors can make more money writing for the majority of buyers (which are women)?
Thanks a bunch—and I enjoy reading your blog! [thank you]
First, I must qualify my answer to these questions:
1. My professional specialty is not picture books, so I'm not on top of that market.
2. I have a huge collection of picture books, very few are LDS. I bought most of them when my children were younger and there just weren't that many good LDS picture books out there then. I've bought some in the past few years and the quality of the story and the artwork are getting better, but I just haven't seen any that I absolutely go bananas over. (Admittedly, I have not looked at a lot of what's out there now, so I may have missed a trend.)
I would like to see more LDS themed picture books that are well-written and well-illustrated. In the history of my motherhood, I have rarely purchased LDS picture books because either the story is too heavy handed (think "morality tales") or too sappy, or the illustrations were just not appealing to my eye. There are very few LDS picture books out there that are "equally yoked" in story line and illustration. Rachel Nunes' two picture books come close, but I thought the illustrations were stronger than the story.
Given that, yes, I think there is a huge potential there that is not currently being met. I wanted LDS picture books when my kids were young, and I couldn't find them. I have family and friends with young children now who have complained to me that they can't find enough LDS picture books that they like. So, I think the market is there. The question is, is the market big enough?
Children's picture books in a small niche market (like LDS) are high risk for a publisher. Because they're full-color throughout and hardback, they are very expensive. Some companies just don't want to take the risk. But if the right combination of story and illustrations were to show up in my slush pile, I'd think about it long and hard.
And yes, the majority of LDS book buyers are women and yes, they want romance. But most of these women also have children in their lives (their own, grandchildren, nieces, nephews...), so I think if some high quality LDS picture books showed up on bookstore shelves, these women would buy them.