Q 1: “Can you help me get published?”
I receive a lot of emails from people asking me how to get a children’s book published or asking me to illustrate a story they’ve written. Because most of these inquires are asking the same questions, rather than repeat myself each time, I thought it best to compile a general response that would offer practical advise to a query on this topic. So below is a typical question with my reply.
“I am an unpublished author seeking to get illustrations for a story that I have written. Do you work with unpublished authors? This is possibly a totally backward approach to this venture, and I’m not sure if it is acceptable for an author to approach an illustrator this way. If that’s the case, how DO I go about getting my book published?“
You are correct in that this isn’t the normative route one takes to getting one’s book published. The usual steps are for an author to, first, submit their manuscript to a publisher. If a publisher chooses to publish the manuscript, it is the publishers task to acquire an illustrator for the project. An author might do this, though, if they decide to take a less orthodox route such as self-publishing (where the author is the publisher, editor, marketer etc., so seeks out an illustrator), or perhaps when dealing with a small, up-start press. As a general rule, I don’t work with self-publishers, but I can give you some advice and direction in your quest to get your manuscript published.
First, I suggest you begin by researching the how-to’s in going about sending your manuscript to various publishing companies. There are many, many websites devoted to novice authors wanting to break into the field as well as publishing companies posting their author guidelines on their web sites. Just a general research via the Internet will turn up slews of websites in regards to getting a children’s book published. Start researching and familiarize yourself on the subject
Below are two ways to help you get started in gathering information on how to submit your manuscript to a publisher:
— Check out (and perhaps join) the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. You can join their bulletin board for free, a good source for checking out other people’s queries on the how-to of writing and publishing. You’ll gather excellent info there on the steps to getting a book published. Involve yourself in their local chapter as well, where you can get much more personal help and advice. If you’ve not had an editor or anyone other than friends, etc. look over your manuscript, I’d suggest you find a critique group (either in your area of via the internet—the SCBWI has a network for that) so you can get a more professional perspective on how your manuscript fares
— Get a copy of the book, Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market either through the library, Amazon.com, a local bookstore, etc. This book is an excellent source for all your questions along with a listing of publishing companies to submit your manuscript to.
I hope the above information is helpful! Good luck in your pursuits!
Other links to information on children’s publishing and illustration: