Hi everyone! Looking for some direction from someone who's possibly done this before! I have Googled and researched for the last 6 nights in a row and every night I just confuse myself more and more.
Basically, I've written and illustrated a children's rhyming book that I'm very proud of. Although I've written lots before, this is the first thing that I've been excited about and would like to send away to publishers. I have a few questions.
1. I've done my research and found some publishers who are taking unsolicited email submissions. Do I send the whole manuscript plus illustrations away all at once, or should I send a query letter first?
2. Although I am technically a graphic designer and have had some design work published, I have never illustrated a story before. Is it worth sending the illustrations away too? I know most places are very strict about this, and don't want to see amateur pictures. (Is it worth posting a sample pic here for you lovely MNetters to judge?)
3. Is it worth trying to find an agent before sending this to publishing houses? Can you even get an agent without having any work published before?
I'm so sorry for the long post. Any help would be very much appreciated!
Of course you can get an agent before getting published. Most publishing houses only consider work via agents, with very few exceptions.
Many agents are often keeping an eye out for new talent, but it is still hard to get one. You have the right attitude though. As Countess says, get The Writers and Artists Yearbook (tray Amazon) and look under UK agents. What usually happen is that the publisher usually sorts out an illustrator, but since you are a graphic designer, they might well accept your own. You never know.
I just went through the yearbook for publishers willing to take direct book submissions. I think there were 4. There are more that are interested in illustrators though. Best to try agents first, then if no luck, publishers. Then the self publishing route.
It might be tricky to get an agent for a rhyming picture book. A lot of agents steer clear of rhymes because of translation difficulties. Maverick books look at unsolicited rhyming picture book manuscripts (both text only and text/illustrations). They are closed to submissions at the moment but will reopen sometime in the new year, according to their website. I think it would be worth sending your book to them before you consider self publishing. And Walker Books are also open to submissions by author/illustrators. Good luck!
There are all kinds of dos and don'ts it'll help to know. Like animals for instance. If you're going to write about animals try to pick internationally known ones rather than animals specific to Britain. It means the book will travel better. And there are standard number of pages too.