Sorry, that seemed too tempting a pun to by-pass. What I really mean is dragon proofs, my Dragon's Dinner proofs to be exact, which have just arrived on my doormat.
Unfortunately, though the book is still looking great fun, the colours on the proofs are not quite as true as the Stinky! ones (see The Proofs Are Here). The dragon is not quite as red as he should be - he's too pinky. Also, some pictures are just a little dingy.
How it works, is that I phone the publisher and tell them my thoughts. They then add my comments to their own, as well as the author's, then they go back and get the printer to tweak things. If the colours are really wrong, they sometimes print a second set of proofs, but that's rarely necessary.
It's no coincidence that the proofs have come in more or less together. All the publishers have been gearing up for the Frankfurt Book Fair last week. This is a Big Deal in the publishing world. There are two main fairs each year, Frankfurt and Bologna, where all children's publishers, big and small, from all over the world, get together to try and interest one another in foreign co-editions of their new titles.
Why? One major reason is that picture books are so expensive to produce. Publishers need to extend their print-runs by selling them in other countries too. America is of course the main target, as they print such big quantities.
But they need the deals signed up before the books are actually printed, so publishers try to get proofs printed in time to make mock-ups of the finished books. These are what the Foreign Sales team wiggle under the noses of their counterparts in Europe, America, Australia, even Korea (yes, Korea translates shed-loads of our picture books).
Eventually I will get feedback and find out how Dragon's Dinner and Stinky! went down. Sometimes, if there is no co-edition interest, a book might be put on ice. Cross fingers...
By the way, these performing lions were designed as a book-plate. There's a selection of bookplates and bookmarks to print out from my website.