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Questions to ask BEFORE you submit your story or art

If you’ve thought about writing or illustrating for children but don’t know where to start, here are some questions to ponder:

  • How do I turn my idea into a good, solid story?
  • Should I send my story to a magazine or to a book publisher?
  • To which publisher should I submit my story?
  • Do I send my entire story or just a synopsis? Is there a “right way” or a “wrong way” to submit a story?
  • What does a book contract look like? How much money will I make?
  • Do I need to find an agent before I’ve actually sold a story?
  • I’m an artist. Do I need to send an illustrated story to a publisher, or can I just send some sample art?
  • Should I self-publish my book?
  • How do publishers place books with bookstores, libraries and online retailers?

Children’s publishing is more competitive than it has ever been, and to be successful you will need to learn as much as you can about the business. There is a lot of good information on the Internet (see links below) but if you’re more inclined to devote a focused weekend to learning, think about taking our workshop Everything You Need to Know About Children’s Book Publishing: A Crash Course. Industry veterans Harold Underdown, Tanya Anderson and Bobbie Combs will give you a comprehensive look at the industry and suggest best practices for beginning authors and illustrators.

Some helpful links:
The Basics of Children’s Writing and Illustrating from Harold Underdown’s Purple Crayon website.
The Society for Children’s Writers and Illustrators Members can access their many pages of “how-to” information.
Fiction Notes blog, by Darcy Pattison, has lots of information for writers.
Writer’s Links: On Publishing at Cynthia Leitich Smith’s excellent resource website.
RX for Writers from the Institute for Children’s Literature.
WriteForKids.org, with books and online resources.

Posted on: June 17, 2014

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