Writing and Illustrating Children's Books for PublicationWrite and illustrate children's books for publication
Truly basic information for children's authors and illustrations
These are basic information for those who want to be released as a children's author or illustrated author in the United States. For more than 20 years I have been working in hardback children's books: for Macmillan, Orchard and Charlesbridge, whose works are on sale to bookshops, colleges and bookshops, and more recently as a freelance journalist.
I' ve also had some education publisher expertise, but I haven't worked in the wholesale book business - the publication of cheap corporate titles like Landoll's - or magazines, so look elsewhere for advice in these areas. You' ve created a history that your loved ones will enjoy or you' ve created some beautiful artwork that your boyfriends will tell you.
Perhaps you were reading your tale to a group of kids and they liked it. Don't hurry, make 20 hard copy of your work and mail it to all the agencies and publishing houses you know. Every year, agencies and publishing houses receive thousand manuscripts and almost as many artistic patterns.
However, some do not even reread this email, known as unasked scripts or "Slush". Continue reading - but if this is too easy to help, take a look at some of the other items on my website. And if you have a very peculiar query you can't find the right one, browse the page, or see my Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and my Purple Crayon Blog, which has a lot of Q&A.
Understand that very few individuals, even incumbent authors and graphic designers, can earn enough to make a living from their work ( "royalty", a percent of either the publishers net earnings or a "lump sum"). Consider that the chances are against you that only a few of the thousand copies a children's publishing house will ever get released in a year.
So if you don't mind these things, if you would like to type or illustrations and do it, even if you would never make much profit, and even if you were never released by a big publishing house, then you may find the whole thing rewarding. Lettering or illustration, because you have to, because it makes sense for you, can be very rewarding.
How soon will you be prepared to ship your script? Regardless of how pushed you are, you cannot be the best judges on whether your work is willing to be filed with a publishing house. Be part of a group of writers or illustrators, especially one with genuine critique. You can do one thing to get your bearings on what today's editors might be interested in is to study many of the latest children's literature and the outdoors.
Many marvelous textbooks are being released now (and of course many that are not so marvelous), and the taste is different from when we were cildren. Don't do this so that you can copy the latest best-selling authors or illustrations, but so that you know if your work is a good fit for the publishing houses you can contact.
I' ll be listing some of the youngest prizewinners in a section of the website, and you can find information about the different types of children's literature and advice for those who want to browse in A Family of Readers: A book guide for children's and youth literature. It is a constant process for agencies and publishing houses to open, shut down and move.
A number of publishing houses depend on agencies to "filter" their contributions and do not look for unwanted materials - especially not for the bigger ones, which means that you need to know the smaller independant publishing houses. First, try to zooming in on the right type of publishing: see my essay "Commerce vs. Mass market vs. School 'n Library" for help.
If so, try to find the right publishing house or agency. I' m always asked for referrals from publishing houses or listings. Childrens Writer's & Illustrator's Market (detailed overview) -- Also known as CWIM, this handbook provides in-depth information about children's publishing houses, agencies, and more. This is a very practical resource that should be on every prospective writer and illustrator's desktop.
and Illustrators (SCBWI), 8271 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048, and become a member: You have a lot of information available to members free of charge, among them lists of publishing houses and agents, a newsletters (keeping track of changes in publishers) and meetings throughout the state.
It also helps to organise groups of writers, people who come together to study and criticise someone else's work. I' m also familiar with the illustrators' supportgroups, although they are less common. In order to find out which works are released by any publishing house if you don't have acces to catalogues that are your best choice (and are usually available on publishing sites in PDF format), there is a nice ploy you can do on JacketFlap by using the Amazon data base.
You can go to the publishing houses and you can see all the books of a certain publishing house in a certain year and limit the selection in different ways. When you are in Canada, you will find more information and useful sites on my page about children's book publishing in Canada.
Compile a small mailing of editors who make the kind of books you plan to be or who might be interested in your work. Check out the Sample Writer's Guidelines or Sample Artist's Guidelines to get an impression of what you can get. When you don't know the name of an editorial or a particular sales representative in an office, send your cover or e-mail to the Submissions Editor and send artwork specimens to the artist.
However, please review the publishing rules. A number of publishing houses, especially the large companies, have very special needs. You can request a name, or that all covers have clear returns address, or that you initially just submit a request for information only. Usually, agencies favour submission by emails, while publishing houses still do.
If you are sending postal items, please attach a short covering note in which you mention the experiences you have made. Except as otherwise stated by the Publisher or Agent in their policies, please provide a prepaid and addressable address label (SASE) with sufficient shipping charges for the returns of your work. Whenever you add a publisher, always add a suffix, except for those you know will not respond if they are not interested.
Incorporating a SAASE is the courteous, proffesional thing to do; if you do not want the material back, if the publishing house is not interested, say so in your covering note, and add a code of conduct for your answer. Do never submit originals or the only copy of your MS. Request letters:
In some places a "query letter" from the author is required. That is, you must first ask the editor or editor if he wants to see your work. Sometimes you need to attach a pattern of part of the script. If they say "yes," be prepared to submit the whole script, don't be taken by surprise if you respond quickly to your request and then don't listen to them for month when they ask to see the work.
Answering a question with "Yes" or "No" is much simpler and faster than a work. Sometimes, especially with textbooks, the agents or editors are pleased to see the manuscripts. See Basic Principles of the Format for more information on how to format your script. Normally it is best to submit only one script at a while.
When your script is meant to be a textbook or similar, submit the whole script; do not split it into pages of a few phrases each, as would be the case in a textbook, but simply enter it as a text. When your script is a novel or non-fiction of more than the length of a textbook, it is often fine and sometimes you are asked to submit a request with one or more example sections, but be willing to submit it if you wish.
Images: Please submit colour copies or lacrymal leaves of your work; transparencies are usually not a good notion. (see Getting out of the artwork file for more help). When e-submission is okay, please comply with their format policies. So if you are an illustrated artist who hopes to tell a story you've been writing or want to show how you would deal with an whole story, you can mail a sketch and model copy in place and some ready-made patterns (in which case you can mail this to an editors; the patterns themselves go to an artist director).
Walk in with your eye open - by doing so, you may not get a treaty to compose and illustrated one but another's work. Illustrated manuscript: I have covered this area in a seperate articles, picture books and illustration. You don't want to see this, you know that:
First and foremost, if you are a novelist, you do not need to submit an illustration with your work. Editors and editors are expecting them to analyse scripts without them - we don't need to use any graphic tools - and editors are choosing and hiring the illustrator for their work. I' ve often heard of friends and family who want to illustrated a work.
If you are about to join such an initiative, ask yourself whether your work is at least equivalent to the artwork you see in the textbooks of the firm you are submitting your work to. In this case, you can either mail the script with colour photographs of some works of artwork or as a "dummy" (in the shape of a book).
Please make it clear that you only offer these images as a proposal. When you are an illuminator, the opposite is true. It' okay to use an illustration of a text you have created or someone else has created, but don't ask the publisher to buy both the text and your illustration. Instead, see it as a way to show what you would do if you were to offer a subscription to cover a work.
Whichever you are, unless you don't care to increase your chance of refusal, don't submit a parcel of artwork and text you want to go together. There is another good thing about this is that the editor wants to vote for the illuminator for the manuscript or likes the picture type for a script they already have, but not for the one you sent in.
When you don't listen within a fair amount of timeframe (defined by most group as 2-3 months), you' awareness free to text your writing elsewhere, and you' re sending a notice to the agents or publishers that tell them you're doing so. Utilize your judgement about how long you will be waiting, taking into consideration all the indications of interest you may have obtained, your odds of getting the script to another publishing house, and so on.
Do not really retract the script unless you have a particular interest in another place - you can still read it. The illustrator should track telephone call mailshots and try to travel to New York to complete his portfolio. If you can buy it, please submit new artwork every six month or so; it will help you stay cool in your head.
Don't stop with a script or sending patterns. When you' re serious, there's a lot more to be learned that will help you become a publishing author or artist. Your meetings and newsletter are great resources, as are the other authors and graphic designers you will be meeting. You' ll get to a point where you have to begin collecting them.
Your children's bookshelf starts with a few textbooks and a lexicon. Use The Complete Idiot's Guidebook to publish Children's Book (link leads you to more information and example chapters): I' ve written this extensive guideline for the child media industry. Covering all the fundamentals from the beginning to the development of a post-publication careers.
I' m prejudiced, I know, but I don't know any books covering so much area. It is not a guideline for single publishing houses or for publishing, so I recommend Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market and one of the guidelines for publishing, which you can find in every bookshop or in the resources section of the game.
This is the 2003 issue of the Chicago Manual of Style, which is used by almost all children's publishing houses. This is a very useful work if you want to make a professional preparation for a script and find an answer to arcane issues of Punctuation, Upper Case, Orthography and the like.
This will also be a very useful resource when working with your company - they will use it to explain the changes you want to make to a work. Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market (link leads you to a full report): Not only does this very useful guidebook list literally a hundred editors and editors for your work, with detail on their publication programmes and submission guidelines, it also contains in-depth interviewing and other information.
Have a look at an example paper I have written for the 2009 issue: Two or more instructions for you to write or illustrate with. A good guidebook for newcomers is the Giblin Guidebook to Children's World. However, there are many authoring choices, some of which are mentioned in the Resources section of my Idiot's Guidebook.
Graphic ateurs sollten sich entweder Uri Shulevitz's and Martin Salisbury's Illustrating Children's Journals ansehen. You' ll also find many how-to-write works, encyclopedias and other useful information resources in the Resources section of my work, which I have published for free on my website, with information about the above mentioned work.
Launch your own author or Illustrators shelf and use it! To find some bookshops that we recommend, please go to The Purple Crayon Bookstore page.