Guest Author - Caroline Coleman
You probably think that writing a picture book was the hard part. You’d better think again. Getting published is much more difficult, especially these days with the level of competition there is on the book market. Statistics show that approximately 97% of all children’s books submitted to publishing houses are rejected.
This information is meant to give you a clear idea of what to expect rather than to put you off. As long as you follow the rules of the publishing world and use some tricks, you will certainly increase your book’s chances of getting on the market.
Your first task is to research publishers who are known to have a lot of picture books. You simply need to visit a number of bookstores and find children’s books similar to yours. Then you have to note the names of the publishers that are behind them. The next step is to research each publisher carefully. You may also be able to find a publishers guide at your local library.
At least some information about the respective publisher will be on their website. Some even post their writer’s guidelines on their official websites. As long as you make sure you meet them, you will reduce the risk of your work being rejected.
One important thing to investigate is whether the publishing house you plan to work with accepts manuscripts from writers without agents. Many of the renowned presses do not. If you want to work with them and even be considered, you will have to find an agent. Decide carefully whether you can afford to pay such a professional and whether your book has the potential to give you sufficient returns to cover these costs.
Most writers who have experience in submitting children’s picture books claim that you do not need to send a query letter first. Your manuscript should be no larger than three pages, so you can readily send it together with a cover letter presenting your work and your experience and expertise as writer. Your presentation should be straightforward and to the point. Try to include as many achievements and awards as possible.
It is a good idea to be realistic about your chances of success. You should not accept rejection as a failure. You can contact the publisher to get feedback, but busy publishers do not like you to do this. In addition, you can try various techniques for promoting yourself and your picture book. Creating short stories with the same characters for children’s magazines and getting them published is a great way to promote your work and your name.