Over the past several days, I have enjoyed meeting fellow writers and illustrators through JacketFlap in various stages of publication. One thing has stood out to me--many of the aspiring authors I have met through JacketFlap do not know what they don't know. Several have asked me questions on how to begin seeking publication or where to find an agent (or if they even need an agent).
If you have stumbled across my blog and are seeking direction, take heart! All published authors began as you have, not knowing where to begin. Let this post serve as your roadmap.
Now, don't take that to mean, I think I know it all. On the contrary, I know I am not the best suited to describe all the intricate ins and outs of the publishing industry. That is precisely why I will direct you to those more established agents and editors of the field. I'm not going to bother reinventing the wheel (or in this case, the printing press). Rather, I will lead you to several great resources for your forray into children's publishing.
The information will be grouped into topical questions. Be sure to check back on this post periodically, as I will update it as I find other useful links.
What is the submission process?
What is a literary agent and do I really need one? or What should I expect from an agent?
How do I find an agent?
Other resources for finding an agent:
- AgentQuery (online agent database with search function)
- Publishers Marketplace (online marketplace of writers, publishers, and agents with database search function)
- Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market (the top market guide in book format, which includes an enormous listing of agents in addition to general industry information)
Other useful guides to writing a query:
- Anatomy of a Good Query Letter I & II
- Query Letter Mad Lib
- The Query Letter Outline (courtesy of author Lisa Gardner)
- Query Shark (agent critiques of query letter submissions)
- the Anonymati (editor critiques of children/YA query letter submissions)
- The 10 Most Common Query Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
- What to Include in the Hook and the Letter Itself (courtesy of Author2Author, a blog hosted by 5 YA authors)
- What to Include in the Author's Bio Paragraph
- When is the Right Time to Query
- Links on How to Write a Query Letter (compiled by associate agent and writer Jill Corcoran)
What word count should I have for my children's book manuscript? and How should I format it?
Do I need to find an illustrator for my children's book text? No.
What do I need to know about the audience and competition for my children's book?
What are my rights as an author?
How do I separate the good agents from the bad? or How do I avoid a scam? or How can I tell if an agent is legit?
What is self-publishing? or Is it a good idea for my manuscript/writing career? or Is it a 'magical highway' to bypass the difficulties of the publishing industry? (For those of you who do not know, the answer to the two previous questions is 'no.' See the links for the professional opinions of Nathan Bransford--Literary Agent and Editorial Anonymous--Children's Book Editor.) Still considering it? What are the sales record of self-published/print-on-demand (POD) books?
or What does an agent/editor think my previously self-published book? or Are articles on self-publishing telling me the truth, free from bias?
Is there a publishing dictionary out there to help me understand all this industry lingo? (courtesy of Editorial Anonymous--Thank you!!)
Are there any blogs I should be aware of as an aspiring children's or YA author?
organizations I should be aware of as an aspiring children's or YA author?
websites I should be aware of as an aspiring children's or YA author?
- The Purple Crayon (informative site on writing and illustrating children's books)
- Absolute Write (online forum for authors)
- Children's Writers and Illustrators Message Board (online forum specifically for those writing and illustrating children's books)
Well, that should get you started on the right path. Please post comments or questions. If I don't know an answer, I will research it for you.