The Road to R.E.M.F., Part Three
In between other work, projects, and life, I spent the last few years assembling a proposal for R.E.M.F., finding an agent and then finally a publisher. My work is far from done, and in many ways just beginning; I have ahead of me about two more years of writing and drawing. That being said, I've had many friends and colleagues ask me about how I accomplished various parts of this process, so for those interested, I've decided to write about that here. In Part One, I talked about the genesis of R.E.M.F. and the process of putting together scripts and illustrated pages for submission. In Part Two, I wrote about finding a literary agent and why it made sense for my project. Finally here, in Part Three, I'll talk about the process of finding a publisher.
Once I found an agent who was enthusiastic about my work, the next step was for us to work together to find a publisher and try to secure a deal.
I was lucky to find an agent who wanted to roll up her sleeves and help me improve my submission as much as possible before we approached publishers. That meant lots of e-mails and phone calls, pouring over scripts and chapter outlines, and lots of revisions. You might also recall that I had originally drawn only seven pages of art; at my agent's behest, I wound up completing the first two chapters as part of my submission packet.
That being said, the actual process of approaching publishers was entirely out of my hands. My agent and I made up our list of submissions together, of course, but for the most part, I just had to sit back and wait, making this part of my publishing journey perhaps the most nerve wracking.
Like every other part of this process - and like every other part of being an illustrator - there was a lot of rejection. Luckily, most of the "No"s were courtesy and constructive, and didn't do anything to diminish my hopefulness for the book.
At long last, editors from Gallery 13 expressed interest in the book, and requested that I talk to them over the phone about R.E.M.F. After that phone call, in which we casually spoke about my father, my intentions for the book, and my openness to editorial input (to which I said, yes, of course, obviously), it was back to waiting. After several more weeks of conversations between those editors and my agent, I at last had my offer in hand, and was off to the races.
That's about it, really. No magic bullet, secret tips, shortcuts or life hacks involved. Just a project that I was excited to work on, an agent who saw its value, and a publisher who was willing to take a chance on a first time author.
Back to work!