The Unpublished Picturebook Showcase is the most recent initiative from dPICTUS. Emerging picturebook makers from around the world submit their unpublished projects to be considered by a large jury of picturebook publishers. The publishers vote independently for their favourites, and the projects with the most votes go into a unique book fair showcase and are presented online to hundreds of publishers in the dPICTUS community. Several projects from our first showcase have now been acquired, and many of the artists have been approached by publishers and agents.


The jury of international publishers (2019)

Jury - The Unpublished Picturebook Showcase

Selected projects (2019)

Out of the 350 projects which were submitted to our first showcase in 2019, the 48 projects below are the ones which received the most independent votes from the publishers on the jury. In September 2020, we’ll reveal the projects selected for our second showcase.
Download a PDF of the 2019 catalogue


Success story: Johanna Schaible

Johanna Schaible, an artist and illustrator from Bern in Switzerland, submitted her project to the first Unpublished Picturebook Showcase. The project ‘Once upon a time there was and will be so much more’ was independently voted for by 23 of the 30 publishers on the jury, and has since generated a lot of excitement and interest. The book will be published in 2021 by Lilla Piratförlaget from Sweden, as a co-edition with a group of international publishers.

Lilla Piratförlaget publisher Erik Titusson says: “When turning over the continuously changing pages of this book, you physically feel the passing of time. This is a truly unique project and a moving experience for readers of all ages. The theme of the book and its innovative design work hand in hand to reinforce the feeling that here we are in the world, right now, at this instant, and from this point on: we build the future!”

dPICTUS members: See a special co-edition presentation



Feedback from some of the selected artists

  • “I really, really enjoyed this day! Not just because it was an exciting one for my book. More than this, because I met wonderful people and a fantastic energy was in the air! Thank you so much for your enormous amount of work, for the great ideas you have and especially for making them happen in reality! So many people connected thanks to this; so many people and their book projects get a chance, a boost and motivation to continue their work. I came back fully loaded with this positive energy! I’m sure this is the start of something very special.”

    Johanna Schaible

    Switzerland

  • “I’d been to the Frankfurt Book Fair several times before, but The Unpublished Picturebook Showcase gave me a fresh experience of the fair. I saw many interesting projects, met lots of illustrators, artists and interesting people from different countries. We exchanged a lot of information and we plan to maintain contact in the future. Publishers have expressed interest in several projects and I think that the interest in the showcase will increase every year. I believe that this kind of experience is valuable for every artist, and provides lots of motivation”

    Eka Tabliashvili

    Georgia

  • “The Unpublished Picturebook Showcase made many things possible: connections and starting friendships between Illustrators and storytellers all around the world, visibility of unique and authentic picturebook projects full of contemporary themes and issues, and the experience of community. As a newcomer to the confusing, exciting and overwhelming world of book fairs, it was a treasure to have a place to hold on to, to be reminded of what to love about books: human connection through sharing stories full of humour, beauty, poetry and all that’s possible!”

    Lili Mossbauer

    Austria

  • “I went straight to The Unpublished Picturebook Showcase and the 100 Outstanding Picturebooks exhibition right next door, and I stayed there all day. I enjoyed looking through all the wonderful books, getting to know the great people there, including illustrators from the unpublished showcase. It was a great experience, and a wonderful support for me. After the fair, I received a lot of feedback, enquiries from various publishers and even an agent. Now my picturebook will be published in spring 2021 by Atlantis Verlag and I’m very much looking forward to it.”

    Laura D’Arcangelo

    Switzerland


BOOKEYES by Kitty Crowther

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The Unpublished Picturebook Showcase

About the 2020 showcase


In 2019, dPICTUS launched its first Unpublished Picturebook Showcase. Emerging picturebook makers from around the world submitted their unpublished projects to be considered by a jury of 30 leading picturebook publishers. We received 350 projects from 60 countries. The jury of publishers voted independently for their favourites, and the 48 projects with the most votes went into a unique showcase at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Several projects from our first showcase have now been acquired, and many of the artists have been approached by publishers and agents.

A jury of 48 top international picturebook publishers are in the process of selecting projects for The Unpublished Picturebook Showcase 2. The showcase will be different to last year. Due to Covid-19, we’re not sure when we’ll be able to have a physical showcase at an international book fair. So we’re going to present The Unpublished Picturebook Showcase online, year-round, on the dPICTUS platform.

Hundreds of international picturebook publishers and agents come together on the dPICTUS platform, to promote their titles, secure rights deals, discover new talent, and make new publishing connections around the world. There’s a strong and active community of publishers from over 50 countries, including many of the world’s most creative and innovative children’s book publishers, and winners of prestigious awards such as the BolognaRagazzis.

All through the year, the selected unpublished projects will be showcased in full to world-class publishers searching for talent, and to renowned specialists in picturebooks and illustration.

We do intend to host a physical showcase of the unpublished picturebook projects at an international book fair in the future – but until then, The Unpublished Picturebook Showcase will be on the dPICTUS platform.

Learn more about the dPICTUS platform
See some of the publishers in the dPICTUS community

The Unpublished Picturebook Showcase

Terms & eligibility


How to submit your project

  • Step 1: Fill in and submit the application form.
    • We recommend you read this Terms & eligibility page before submitting.
  • Step 2: Upload a PDF file of your picturebook project.
    • You can do this after submitting the application form.
  • Step 3: Pay the €45 application fee.
    • You’ll receive details of how to pay after submitting the application form.

Deadline

We’ll need to receive the application form, PDF file and application fee by 23:59 (UTC) on 25 July 2020.


Eligibility

  • Artists and illustrators of any nationality are eligible to submit a project, as long as they’re 18+ years old.
  • Your picturebook project (the text and the illustrations) must be unpublished and not acquired by a publisher at the time of submission.
  • We welcome projects in any language, but we recommend including a draft English translation of the text (either within the art spreads or by adding the translation at the end of the PDF file). This will help the international jury of publishers better assess your project.
  • Picturebook projects of any length and for any age group are eligible.
  • We welcome projects with unconventional formats, and projects which deal with challenging themes.
  • We welcome wordless/silent picturebook projects.
  • Self-published projects are eligible.
  • Your project can be a mix of illustrations and sketches/roughs, but the whole book must be visualised (we don’t accept text-only projects).
  • You can submit up to 3 projects, but you’ll need to fill in a separate application form and pay the application fee for each submitted project.
  • We welcome applications from author-illustrator partnerships.

The selection process

In summer 2020, a large jury of top international picturebook publishers will look through the submitted projects and independently vote for their favourites. The projects which receive the most votes will go into the showcase, and the successful applicants will be notified by email and announced on our social media pages in September 2020.


Online showcase

The selected projects will go into The Unpublished Picturebook Showcase on the dPICTUS online platform.

Hundreds of international picturebook publishers and agents come together on the dPICTUS platform, to promote their titles, secure rights deals, discover new talent, and make new publishing connections around the world. There’s a strong and active community of publishers from over 50 countries, including many of the world’s most creative and innovative children’s book publishers, and winners of prestigious awards such as the BolognaRagazzis.

All through the year, the selected unpublished projects will be showcased in full to world-class publishers searching for talent, and to renowned specialists in picturebooks and illustration.

Learn more about the dPICTUS platform
See some of the publishers in the dPICTUS community


Book fair showcase

Due to Covid-19, we’re not sure exactly when we’ll be able to have a physical showcase at an international book fair. But we do intend to do this in the future (we’ll then ask the selected applicants to send us 2 printed copies of their project). Until then, The Unpublished Picturebook Showcase will be online, year-round, on the dPICTUS platform.


Additional notes

  • You’re welcome to submit your project to other competitions while it’s under consideration/part of The Unpublished Picturebook Showcase 2.
  • You’re welcome to submit your unpublished project to publishers while it’s under consideration/part of The Unpublished Picturebook Showcase 2. But if your project is acquired by a publisher before 25 July 2020, please tell us, as we’ll need to remove your project from the jury selection process. If this happens, we’ll refund your application fee in full.

Any questions?

If you have any questions, please get in touch: project@dpictus.com

The Unpublished Picturebook Showcase

FAQ


Where will the showcase be?

The Unpublished Picturebook Showcase will be on the dPICTUS online platform. Hundreds of international picturebook publishers and agents come together on the dPICTUS platform to promote their titles, secure rights deals, discover new talent, and make new publishing connections around the world. There’s a strong and active community of publishers from over 50 countries, including many of the world’s most creative and innovative children’s book publishers, and winners of prestigious awards such as the BolognaRagazzis. All through the year, the selected unpublished projects will be showcased in full to world-class publishers searching for talent, and to renowned specialists in picturebooks and illustration.

Learn more about the dPICTUS platform
See some of the publishers in the dPICTUS community

Will there be a book fair showcase, like you had in Frankfurt last year?

Due to Covid-19, we’re not sure exactly when we’ll be able to have a physical showcase at an international book fair, but we do intend to do this in the future. Until then, The Unpublished Picturebook Showcase will be online, year-round, on the dPICTUS platform.

Is this a competition with an overall winner?

Our main goal with this initiative (we don’t see it as a standard competition) is not to find a ‘winner’; it's to give all the artists, illustrators and emerging picturebook makers who submit a project the unique opportunity to have it considered by many of the finest publishers in the world – and to promote all the selected projects to the hundreds of international publishers in the dPICTUS community.

Is the showcase only for new and emerging artists and illustrators?

In our first showcase last year, artists who’d had more than 3 picturebooks published in the past were not eligible to enter. But this time, we’re opening up to any picturebook artist, new or established, who would like to submit an unpublished project.

How many projects will be selected for the showcase?

Of the 350 submitted projects last year, 48 received enough jury votes to go through to the showcase. We don’t yet know how many projects will be selected this year; it’s up to the publishers on the jury.

Is the showcase only for children’s picturebooks?

The initiative isn’t only for children's picturebooks. Some of the publishers on the jury are tightly focussed on the child audience with the books they publish, but others publish picturebooks and illustrated books for a wider audience. We recommend you visit the websites of the publishers on the jury last year, to get an idea of the types of picturebooks they publish, and if your project could appeal to them.

Does my project have to be finished?

Your project can be a mix of illustrations and sketches/roughs, but the whole book must be visualised.

Do you accept wordless/silent picturebook projects?

Yes we do.

Do you accept self-published picturebook projects?

Yes.

Do you accept text-only picturebook projects?

No, the whole book must be visualised.

How many projects can I submit?

You can submit up to 3 projects, but you’ll need to fill in a separate application form and pay the application fee for each submitted project.

What is the selection criteria of the jury?

Each member on the jury can use their own criteria to choose projects, but will be looking for projects which demonstrate a strong understanding of the picturebook form. Publishers on the jury for our first Unpublished Picturebook Showcase last year told us that they chose projects based on a number of aspects: the subject, the development of the idea, the story, and the quality of the illustrations/graphic work.

Which publishers are on the jury this year?

In 2019, for the very first Unpublished Picturebook Showcase, we had a jury of 30 top international picturebook publishers, which you can see listed here. On the 2020 jury will be some of the publishers who took part last year, plus some new ones. At least 30 publishers will be on the jury.

Will you tell us which publishers voted for my project?

We understand that many of you will be interested to know which publishers voted for your projects. But after discussions with publishers on the jury, we decided not to give out this information. Many of the publishers’ criteria for voting isn’t based only on what they could/would publish in their country/market, but on projects which interest them personally. So we’re able to tell you how many of the publishers voted for your project, but not the names of the individual publishers who voted.

Having said that, the jury publishers will have all the applicants’ contact emails, so if any of them are interested in publishing your project, they’ll surely be in touch.

Will I receive personal feedback on my project?

It’s not feasible for each publisher on the jury to provide personal feedback on several hundred submitted projects; the selection process is already extremely time-consuming. However, we’ll gather all the general feedback we receive from the publishers, and make this available to all applicants.

I’ve submitted my PDF file; can I send an updated version later?

Yes, as long as you submit the final PDF before the submission deadline (25 July 2020), that’s fine.

Why is there an application fee?

The €45 application fee goes towards our organisational and development costs. Please note that the publishers on the jury are not being paid to look at the submitted projects.

I don’t have access to PayPal; how do I pay the application fee?

If you don’t have access to PayPal in your country, we recommend asking a friend or family member to pay the fee on your behalf.

If my project isn’t selected, will I receive anything?

Whether your project is selected or not, we believe that getting your work under the eyes of so many great international publishers at the same time is worth the application fee. Many of these publishers don’t generally accept unsolicited submissions, so this is a fast track to the desks of these busy publishers and editors.

Does my picturebook project have to be in English?

We welcome projects in any language, but we recommend including a draft English translation of the text if possible (either within the art spreads or by adding the translation at the end of the PDF file). This will help the international jury of publishers better assess your project.

Can I still submit my unpublished project to publishers while it’s under consideration for The Unpublished Picturebook Showcase?

Yes, you’re welcome to submit your unpublished project to publishers while it’s under consideration/part of The Unpublished Picturebook Showcase. But if your project is acquired by a publisher before 25 July 2020, please tell us, as we’ll need to remove your project from the jury selection process. If this happens, we’ll refund your application fee in full.

If my project is selected, how long will it be showcased on the dPICTUS online platform?

We plan to showcase all the selected projects on dPICTUS indefinitely. The idea is that The Unpublished Picturebook Showcase grows each year and becomes an increasingly valuable resource for picturebook publishers searching for talent.

Who will have access to my project online?

All the publishers and agents who are members of the dPICTUS community will have access to your project on the dPICTUS platform. The platform is invitation-only and password-protected. See some members of the dPICTUS community

The dPICTUS Terms of Service specify that members of the platform (mostly publishers and agents) must agree that all ‘content’ on the platform is protected by intellectual property rights, and they shall not use, reproduce, modify, copy, publish, transmit, distribute, upload, link to, display, sell or otherwise exploit any of this content without written permission from the respective owner.

If you don’t feel comfortable for your full project to be accessible online, you’re welcome to show a selection of spreads. Publishers can then contact you if they’d like to see a complete PDF.

If my project is acquired by a publisher, will it be removed from the online showcase?

If your project is acquired by a publisher, it will remain in the showcase. But we’ll add a note to say that your project has been acquired.


If you have any questions not listed above, please get in touch: project@dpictus.com