publishing a children's book - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 01-12-2007, 05:43 PM - Thread Starter
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I've recently written a short children's book. Does anyone have ideas on how to get it published?
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#2 of 17 Old 01-12-2007, 09:12 PM
 
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I'm subbing to this. I was just going to post the exact same thread!

Jade : -Writing, vegan mom of Garrett, Drew, and Grace. Into feeling:
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#3 of 17 Old 01-15-2007, 05:47 AM
 
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I highly recommend doing some research first using the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators, in particular their FAQ about publishing.
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Before you start sending your story to publishers, read it to other writers and listen to their stories as well. Your regional chapter of the SCBWI can help you join or form a critique group...Revise, edit, rewrite, and then revise some more. Polish your work before submitting and make sure it is presented professionally. Read the SCBWI publication "From Keyboard to Printed Page" for proper formatting information.
Here's another site with basic information.
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Do not rush out and make 20 copies of your work and send them off to all the publishers you know. Publishers get thousands of manuscript submissions a year, and almost as many art samples. But some don't even read this mail, known as unsolicited manuscripts or "slush." Some specialize in one genre or another, and won't even look at something that isn't targeted at their needs. You can waste a lot of time and patience if you don't know about these and other pitfalls.
I've been writing children's books for a few years, but I haven't been seriously submitting yet. So all I can tell you is the basics I've read, above.

Good luck in your journey!

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#4 of 17 Old 01-15-2007, 09:27 AM
 
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I've been investigating this myself. Research research research publishers! Most imprints are VERY specific in what they publish, many don't take unsolicited submissions at all. I recommend two books:

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books, 2nd Ed.

Children's Writers and Illustrators Market, 2007

Oh, and in most cases, multiple submission is a big no-no--you need to be sending your work only to one publisher at a time (and they'll likely take months to get back to you), so choosing publishers judiciously is very important.
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#5 of 17 Old 01-29-2007, 09:15 PM
 
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Why is multiple submissions a no-no?

What about getting an agent?
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#6 of 17 Old 01-31-2007, 05:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Blooming View Post
Why is multiple submissions a no-no?

What about getting an agent?
Some publishers accept multiple submissions--you need to look at their guidelines. Others don't. The reasons, I think are 1) it cuts down on the massive amount of submissions that end up in each publisher's slush pile at one time and 2) publishers don't want to take the time to choose your work and then find out you've already sold it to someone else. Even when places do accept multiple submission, you need to indicate it on the ms. It's a huge faux pas to submit to many places when publishers say they won't take multiple submissions, or to neglect to indicate that the piece is a multiple submission for places who DO take multiples--if people find out, they won't work with you.

As for agents...everything I've read says that, for children's writers, getting an agent is essentially impossible until you've already published.
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#7 of 17 Old 01-31-2007, 10:31 PM
 
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wow. I had no idea. thanks for the info.

Is this the same with magazine articules? I did that with an articule lately, then it was excepted from three publications. I didn't really think anyone would publish it. Then I had to figure out what to do.
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#8 of 17 Old 02-01-2007, 12:23 AM
 
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I really like this website. Their forums are searchable and contain so much good information.

http://www.write4kids.com/
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#9 of 17 Old 02-06-2007, 03:07 AM
 
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My dh is on his 6th children's book and I asked him for advice. His advice was to also get the Children's Writers and Illustrators Market, 2007. He got his first gig by doing a google search. He's an illustrator and he typed in "looking for illustrators children's books" or something like that. So he didnt get his foot in the door in a traditional way like by using an agent or by submitting his work.

NYCveg is correct about agents. It's seems so damn unfair that you have to be published already. At least with the bigger agents. In the book Children's Writers and Illustrators Market 2007, you might find a few agents that don't require that you have been previously published.

There is another route. We haven't gone there but I met a lady at a unschooling conference that has. Get on the site LuLu.com. It's a place where you self publish and from what I remember, it was quite affordable for her. She's not doing so bad in the sales either. The interesting thing about LuLu is you can have 100 books printed or only one. Sounds strange but true.

From there, you would be considered published and that might be the foot in the door you need to get an agent.
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#10 of 17 Old 02-06-2007, 03:28 AM
 
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The not being able to get an agent til you're published thing is weird to me. I just had a family friend recommend getting an agent to help you get published. It's how she did it. : Crap. I'm in the same boat as all of you. I don't have anything written yet but I'm wondering how the process works. I already have an illustrator, though!
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#11 of 17 Old 02-06-2007, 08:53 AM
 
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Originally Posted by fishface View Post
The not being able to get an agent til you're published thing is weird to me. I just had a family friend recommend getting an agent to help you get published. It's how she did it. : Crap. I'm in the same boat as all of you. I don't have anything written yet but I'm wondering how the process works. I already have an illustrator, though!
Virtually no publisher will allow you to bring in your own illustrator. Publishers have contacts with their own illustrators whom they regular use. "Suggesting" an illustrator will probably get you summarily rejected. Even if you do illustrations, a publisher will likely only consider them if you're actually a professional artist/illustrator. I was really surprised to learn that authors have no say in the illustrations whatsoever--not only in who does them, but in what they look like--and then offering advice on illustrations is likely to make publishers refuse to work with you.

I second the suggestion of getting the Children's Writers and Illustrators Market 2007. Also, Harold Underdown's Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books. He also has a website:
www.underdown.org

And this website is great as well:
http://gkbledsoe.com/articles/welcome.html

FWIW, children's seems like a field where having an agent really isn't necessary. I went through every picture book publisher in the CWIM 2007--only a handful require agents, many publish a good percentage of first-time authors, and there are a surprising number that will take unsolicited submissions (of course, once you go through their lists and see what they're actually publishing, not all of these would suitable for any one particular book, but still...).
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#12 of 17 Old 02-06-2007, 04:30 PM
 
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I found the road blocks discussed here too when i was trying to get my children's stories published. It was going to be a full time job to research all these companies to find the right one. So this is on hold for now...

My neighbor wrote a story and then started her own publishing company so she has control over the illustrator and such...her focus is on adoption so all the books must be about that. So it can be done!!
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#13 of 17 Old 02-06-2007, 06:02 PM
 
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A good suggestion is to write for a niche market, or find a book by a publisher that seems to share the same style. That's what got mine published .

If you go the LuLu route, be aware that a "real" publisher may never accept you afterwards- they generally do not like authors who self-publish.

Loads of blessings, and learning on the job.
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#14 of 17 Old 02-07-2007, 08:20 PM
 
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or find a book by a publisher that seems to share the same style. That's what got mine published .
That's what I had in mind. I'm making notes of the publishers who publish children's books that are my style.

Boo to the illustrators thing. How does one present their book to a publisher since it's just text? (and not too much of it)
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#15 of 17 Old 02-08-2007, 02:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by fishface View Post

Boo to the illustrators thing. How does one present their book to a publisher since it's just text? (and not too much of it)
You just type it up, double-spaced, according to their house style rules. Remember, it's their JOB to visualize how the words will be mapped out onto 32 pages. They do this all day, every day. I think of writing a children's book as more like writing a script than like writing a BOOK--you provide the words, but someone else does the visual imagining and layout.

The first children's book I took a stab at (this is not what I really write--it was just an experiment b/c dd doesn't give me lots of time to write), I had all the pictures mapped out in my head. Then I read about how authors have NO say in illustrations, and it kind of made me upset. But the more I thought about it...I'm not a professional illustrator. An illustrator and a publisher probably no far better than me how to bring words to life. I mean, I know what I like to see at the movies...but that doesn't mean I'm qualified to direct one!

From what I understand, the illustrator's decisions are often what makes a book iconic. For instance, I believe the author of Goodnight Moon did NOT visualize her characters as rabbits...but that's one of the details that kids really love. (A friend of mine who's an editor at a children's publishing house tells me that the decision to make characters animals is almost always the illustrators, unless its specified in the story.)
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#16 of 17 Old 02-08-2007, 06:18 PM
 
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Remember, it's their JOB to visualize how the words will be mapped out onto 32 pages. They do this all day, every day.
I understand this. I was just wondering what the standard form is.

Thanks for the tips. I don't have time to do the real digging and research til I graduate at the end of this quarter, so I appreciate this thread and the answers within!
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#17 of 17 Old 02-15-2007, 04:45 PM
 
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I subscribe to Writers Market online http://www.writersmarket.com/index.aspx#
I submitted a manuscript a few months ago and got all the info I needed about each Publishing house right on the site. They also have a lot of info for publishing other books, magazine articles, etc. The subscription is only about $3 per month and well worth it. I found information on where to submit, submission guidelines, etc. Most didn't mind multiple submissions, but that information is there as well for each publisher.
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