Posts Tagged ‘Abrams’

So you have an idea for an illustrated gift book, or what we in the industry do not call a “coffee-table book”? How do you go about getting it published? In much the same way you would a nonfiction book, but with some key differences. I see lots of information on how to draft a proposal for a novel or commercial nonfiction, but I’ve seen next to nothing on illustrated books, the kind I work on every day, so I thought I’d lay out a few basics for the would-be authors out there. Please keep in mind that all the information you’re about to see is my own take on what makes a good proposal and I’m sure that others would have different opinions.

What topics do illustrated books cover? At their core, illustrated gift books are really just nonfiction. Add pictures or drawings, and almost any topic can translate. It’s not limited to art and photography, the topics traditionally associated with coffee-table books. In fact, some of the most successful titles are in fashion, interior design, cooking, craft, humor, pop culture, history, and nature.

What does an illustrated gift proposal look like? It looks a heck of a lot like a nonfiction proposal. Only with pictures. Your proposal should include a summary of your idea and a detailed section on your platform and bio as it relates to the project. You can also describe the specs you envision for your book. Is it an oversized, expensive volume with 300 images and a cloth case? Or a small, impulse buy with 150 images? If you’re not sure, it’s okay, but if you have very strong feelings about the look and size of your book, you should spell them out. Chances are editors will have their own idea about appropriate trim size and page count for your topic, but it helps us to understand your expectations for the book as well.

Then, you should include a sampling of images that would appear in the book. I know this sounds obvious, but you would be amazed by how many proposals we receive that have no images. How are we supposed to judge the merits of a visual project without seeing the visuals?! The number of images really depends on the content, but you should include at least 10-15. The best way, in my opinion, to send images is in a lo-res, emailable PDF. Don’t bother to “design” your images or lay them out as you imagine they would appear in the book. This can actually hurt your proposal if your aesthetic doesn’t match the house you’re pitching and it may be harder to see the potential in images if they’re over-designed. Simple, full-bleed images in a PDF are ideal for easy viewing and distribution. If you’re sending a hard copy, same rules apply. One large image per page is fine. There’s one exception: graphic design proposals. Since design is an integral element to your book, we do want to see designed sample spreads.

Do I need to submit a full manuscript? Wait, do these books even have words? Yes, they have words. (I have gotten this question. It hurts me.) (more…)


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Title: I Am Plastic, Too

Author: Paul Budnitz


Who says toys are just for kids? I mean, seriously, you can’t tell me that you weren’t ecstatic that time you were at home digging through your old stuff and you happened upon your My Little Ponies! Or your Pog collection! Man, I had a great slammer. What I’m trying to say is, we don’t have to be satisfied with the memories from our childhood. Because there’s a whole world of toys out there made just for you and me. And the best place to look for them is at Kidrobot. Or you could get a thorough overview of the designer toy world in a new Book From My Desk, I Am Plastic, Too. The second book from Kidrobot, this volume contains all the hottest artists and illustrators pumping out creepy, crazy, and cute little toys perfect for your cubicle. I have a Santa with a skull-and-bones Santa hat and a bottle of boozy eggnog looking at me right now! He’s been celebrating all year round and is just working up to the holiday buzz.

Suddenly I really, really wanted that Smorkin’ Labbit (a rabbit with a cigar for the uninitiated). The big silver one! Or this awesome blinged-up Gorilla by Da TeamBronx. With toys from over 140 artists and companies from six continents, the book features all the latest, coolest collectibles. Some are one-of-a-kind creations that draw huge bids on eBay, while others go for a couple dollars on Kidrobot’s website. I’ve been eyeing that walrus plushie for awhile now. . . (click “Continue Reading” for pictures!) (more…)

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Doi Kham Phrueksa Treehouse Resort in Thailand

When I grow up, I want to live here:

Ok, not precisely there because I’m not planning to move to Thailand or anything. But isn’t this place amazing! It’s just one of the treehouses I found out about while working on New Treehouses of the World. The author, Pete Nelson, owns his own treehouse building company called Treehouse Workshop based in Seattle, WA. He even gives treehouse building seminars. The book includes many treehouses he built himself, along with ones he has discovered all over the world. Working with him was a great experience and as soon as my mother saw this book she wanted to know if he’d build us a treehouse, too . . . haven’t followed up with him about that yet.

My friends and I wanted to build a treehouse when we were kids, but Florida is relatively short on good house-bearing trees, so it turned out more like a platform hut than your typical house. We scouted out three perfectly spaced palm trees in my neighbor’s wild backyard and put up a triangular platform between them (ok, we had a little help from her dad). I remember spending all day collecting palm leaves to help “thatch” the roof. It turned out pretty raw, but it served its purpose: official neighborhood clubhouse. We would all tromp through those woods collecting berries, moss, and pond scum (yep, that seems gross now), and cart it up to the clubhouse to make “stew.” There were also official clubhouse rules and someone was President, though I can’t remember who now.

Pete’s treehouses are a lot more sophisticated. Most of them could be vacation homes, with beautiful verandas and balconies, and even running water and electricity. The book really captures what’s magical about living in the trees. People get excited when they see a treehouse, not just because it takes them back to being a kid, but also because there’s something almost primeval about living in the forest. I hope you’ll take a look at the book and watch out for my name in the acknowledgments (the first book in which I ever appear!).

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