Picture Book Publishing 101
September 26, 2012 6:39 AM Subscribe
I want to write a children's picture book, submit it to a publisher, and get it published. Now what?
posted by booksherpa to media & arts (10 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I love picture books. I love the art, the clever writing, the ability to tell a story in 32 (or fewer!) pages. I love how authors slip bits in for the grownups reading them. I love the repetition some authors add so that kids can participate. I love reading picture books aloud to the kids I work with.
For about a year, I've been telling my own stories to the kids I work with. I make them up on the fly from the kids' suggestions, and have great fun doing it. Occasionally it has occurred to me that one of my stories would make a good picture book. Beyond that, I'm not sure how to proceed.
Please school me on Picture Book 101, everything from story to writing to submission to publishing. What resources should I be consulting? Bonus points if you've actually had a picture book published and can share your experience. Please note: I'm not looking for a vanity press to print my book and send me copies.
I have read this question and this one, so SCBWI membership and getting a copy of the current Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market are on my list. I'm looking for current information. Is the market still flooded? Does the greater use of Kindles and tablets affect things in the picture book market?
Please point me at the magazines, websites, blogs and books I should become familiar with. For instance, I'm guessing that there's annual directories of publishers with contact information and what they're looking for.
I will need an agent, I'm assuming. How do I get one?
For a regular book, I imagine I'd submit a manuscript in a particular format, but that would involve hundreds of pages. How do I format a picture book manuscript?
I have heard that publishers do NOT want picture book authors to submit illustrations along with the story; that the publishing company will find an illustrator should they decide to publish it. What other things should I avoid that will mark me as an amateur/noob?
Are there rough categories of picture books (i.e. alphabet, stories with morals, stories about school, etc.) that publishers use, and are there categories that are really hard to get a publisher to accept a book from?
Am I completely crazy for thinking I can do this? I like kids, I like books, I like telling stories. I like telling stories to kids. Do I stand a chance?
I have a relative who works for a large corporation that includes a large publisher as part of it. Though the relative is not on the publishing side, they have friends/colleagues who are. How do I best leverage that connection? The relative is willing and eager to help.
Let's say that everything goes my way and a publisher says yes to publishing my picture book. What happens next? How long is the process from acceptance to holding my book in my hand?