I have written a set of three picture books for toddlers. I honestly think that they are worthy of publishing and I am really hopeful of finding someone who might have faith in them. They are now as good as I am ever going to get them, and I just need to pluck up the courage to write off to some agents. It's exciting, but also terrifying...
Should I send all three, or should I just send the strongest one? Which will give me the best chance of being noticed? Any tips greatly received. TIA
It's very hard to get their attention. They usually like to see three different ones so that they can assess your writing. All of them need to be strong, so only send them if they are. I've noticed that chatting to them on Twitter seems to help. Don't ask them to look at your work on there though, it's really frowned upon. Just use it to chat. Research the agents well, ones representing picture book writers are few and far between.
Personally for this genre I would bypass agents...there is generally not much interest (not enough profit)...why not go straight to the publishers? They will also be able to pair you with an artist to illustrate the books, presuming that you have not already done this yourself?
Thanks everyone. I had originally considered going directly to some publishers, and I have a list of picture book publishers who do accept direct submissions, but I had the impression that I might have more luck through an agent. I also have a list of agents who are interested in picture books, but as you say they are few and far between. I guess I need to bite the bullet and send the manuscripts out and see what they think. The books are not illustrated yet, but need to be. I'm hoping that a publisher will help in that area.
Does anyone have any tips for how I should make my submissions? Any do's and don'ts?
Don't find your own if they are not illustrated, most publishers like to choose their own. You should just send it. A usual submission is a paragraph about why you're sending it to them, a paragraph about the text, and a paragraph about you (previous writing history etc). Don't ask if they have looked at it a week after sending it, just be patient. Do remember that a knock back doesn't mean your writing's bad, it's often a case of submitting at the right time. Don't tell them that your children/family/pet chicken loved the manuscript, mention any critique groups that you're in. Don't tell them that you think it's brilliant or it's going to be the next 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' etc.