Sunday, May 24, 2009

This isn't a graphic novel, but what is it?

QUESTION: I realize that you are not interested in fantasy but I value your prospective from Query Shark so much that I'd like to ask you a question. Your blog has been invaluable to me in drafting an appealing query letter but I'm getting stuck on how to categorize my work. The trouble I'm having is that I've written a graphic novel but instead of it being formatted like a comic book with panels, mine is more like a richly illustrated fairytale in the style of Hans Christian Anderson or Arthur Rackham. I've done the illustrations myself ( I graduated from college for fine art so please don't stop reading) and this format fits the story best, in my opinon at least.

So my question is that in my query can I still call my book a graphic novel? Will an agent or editor think that I'm a nut trying to pass off a really huge picture book or is there a better term I could use to describe it?

Here's a picture so that you can get a better sense of what I mean. I could send the query as well but I understand how indundated you are and I didn't want to take up more of your time.

ANSWER: You don't have a graphic novel. You have a novel in pictures like:

Griffin and Sabine by Nick Bantock (title recalled with the help of my twitter community!-thanks Nichole!)


Kimber Li said...

Oooh, this one sounds cool to me! I hope this author/artist gets a break.

Rick Daley said...

Here's my $0.02 on picking a genre...

Picking the right genre can be simple. Just think like a reader. If you go to buy your book at the bookstore, where would you look for it?

Bookstores are divided up into sections. Where would you find your funny but heartwarming tale of love? Humor, literary fiction, or romance?

Go to a couple bookstores and look at the books on the shelves where you think yours should be. When you get there, pick a couple and read the jacket copy. Think about your query, and think about your manuscript:

Does it fit in?

And more importantly, does it stand out?

Haste yee back ;-) said...

Too bad we can't post words and art here... comment moderated, of course. I understand you're an art enthusiast.

So, what types of graphic novels would drop your jaw? Adult, Sci-Fi, Manga, MIDDLE GRADE? I'm pouncin,' can you tell?

Haste yee back ;-)

nora said...

Here's a bit of an odd question, if you don't mind:

If I sent a query to Query Shark but it wasn't posted, is there a wait period before I should formally submit it to you? I've spent the last several weeks reworking it with the help of some friends & writers, and I think I've finally got it where I need it to be. I just don't know if sending it to you & the Shark is out of line, or if I can assume you haven't read it.

Sorry~ and thanks!

Janet Reid said...

If it hasn't been posted on the QueryShark blog I haven't read it. Skimmed to make sure it was a novel, not a memoir or NF, yes, but not read.

Query away!

Robin Lemke said...

Or, The Invention of Hugo Cabret - which my daughter and I adore, or The Arrival by Shaun Tan - a FABULOUS book about immigrants coming to America told entirely in pictures. If you haven't seen it, you should!

To piggyback off of what Janet said, I'd mention "in the tradition of... " and then include one or two of these books that are most like yours. said...

I had heard of Griffin and Sabine, but never seen or read it. I've now ordered a copy, thanks to you, Janet. I'm wondering, wouldn't that have been a hugely expensive book to produce? I realize it's small, but all those individual letters and envelopes that had to be individually placed in it, not to mention the art! Would it still be feasible in today's publishing market?