factoid | on submitting picture books

Drawn! has a post on submitting picture books to publishers - recommending that anyone interested should read The Complete Idiots Guide to Publishing Childrens’ Books. Adam also hits on a fact that I had never heard before - DO NOT SEND A PUBLISHER ILLUSTRATIONS.

It seemed a bit strange so I did some digging around on publisher websites. Turns out that even the publishers who will read your work don’t want to see illustrations. Chicken House are quite clear about it: ‘…for a picture book, [send] the whole story. There is no need to send illustrations for picture books.’ O’Brien Press specify no original artwork and Scholastic and Hodder Headline don’t mention anything about artwork, only manuscripts…

Coming after those that will read your work are the publishers that are not accepting submissions. Amongst them: Walker Books, Harper Collins, MacMillan, Bloomsbury and Puffin. In these cases you will need to get yourself an agent or make some contacts on the inside.

If I wasn’t worried before, I am now.

Update: Interesting piece on publishing over at Pound (mucho gracias, loosetooth)

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Statistic of the week: a children’s fiction writer told me last week that his picture book (which took a total of two hours to write) has outsold his two young adult novels (which, combined, took more than 4 years of blood, sweat and research) at 30:1.

2 Responses to “factoid | on submitting picture books”

  1. 1 emordino

    I can see why they’d want to get just the text first, but what happens then? Is choice of illustrator completely in their hands?

    A friend of mine has done some illustrating work for a children’s publisher and apparently it can be quite… unsatisfying. Very, very rigid guidelines to be adhered to at all costs.

  2. 2 david.

    From what I gather it depends a lot on how much editorial control the publisher takes. I know two writers who had books last year and wanted to use illustrator friends but were over-ruled.

    Some of the kind folks over at Scamp might be able to shed some extra light on the subject…

    Interesting that the illustrators over at Drawn! all seem to hate it when an unpublished writer asks for help. Understandable though…

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