At our recent SCBWI critique meeting, aspiring picture book author, Dorothy Price mentioned she had read on Rebecca Sherman's Writer House profile and on Teresa Kietlinski's profile for Prospect Agency that each were looking for individuals who could both write and draw.
I wondered if this was a new trend, so I asked Harold Underdown and Tracey Adams, of Adams Literary to weigh in on the subject. Although they responded separately, their answers were in agreement.
Harold responded first. "I don't think this is new, though this isn't the first time I've heard this recently. Agents like to work with illustrators who can write--that way they don't have to split the royalties with an author. To say this is a new trend is like saying it's a new trend that agents are looking for potential bestsellers."
Tracey explained further. "It's not a new trend. One large factor is that an author/artist brings the same commission as a novel writer who earns a 10% royalty, whereas a picture book author and the artist share that 10%, so the commission is based on 5% instead of 10% - a huge difference. Another author/artist bonus is that we often wait YEARS for the publisher to find the perfect artist for our author's text. But at Adams Literary we know that it is a VERY rare gift indeed to be able to write AND illustrate! Most of our clients are one or the other. If someone we love can do both, it's like getting the cherry on top!"
When I commented that it's hard to stay on top of all the industry trends, Harold responded, "Then don't keep up with them! Writing your best work is what you ALWAYS have to do."
With that advice ringing in my ears, I turn back to my manuscript.
How about you? Are you writing your best work?
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