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Tattoo Beautiful
03-10-2013, 05:25 AM
I don't get it. I have sent my manuscript to a million agents and all of them have said they like the idea and concept but have too much on their plate. I decided to self publish and realistically my sales have been pretty good with the advertising I've been doing. But it isn't enough. I really feel the world needs my book I've self published. I even presented it to a national magazine and they are doing a complete article on me and my book because it's so unique and needed for this generation. Why won't any agent pick it up its killing me! Since I self published is the book doomed to always be self published or can I still reach out to publishers and agents?

cornflake
03-10-2013, 05:39 AM
I don't get it. I have sent my manuscript to a million agents and all of them have said they like the idea and concept but have too much on their plate. I decided to self publish and realistically my sales have been pretty good with the advertising I've been doing. But it isn't enough. I really feel the world needs my book I've self published. I even presented it to a national magazine and they are doing a complete article on me and my book because it's so unique and needed for this generation. Why won't any agent pick it up its killing me! Since I self published is the book doomed to always be self published or can I still reach out to publishers and agents?

It's less likely to be picked up and sold if already published, though it's not impossible.

Have you had the book edited? I looked at the link in your sig. I don't know who wrote the description, but it would turn me off from buying the book, it's so error-ridden. Your post above is just a forum post, it's not required to be perfectly grammatically correct or anything - we all make errors. However, that it too has a number of basic errors, some of which appear in the description, makes me wonder if your ms. and/or query had this issue.

Agents turn people down for lots of reasons, but getting stuff with a bunch of errors in grammar and punctuation can certainly be one of them.

Liralen
03-10-2013, 05:40 AM
You'll need to look at the terms under which you've published your book. That will determine whether or not you're free to seek out traditional publishing.

The self-publishing I've looked into indicates that you mostly are, but don't expect a traditional publisher to do much more in the way of marketing than what you're doing on your own. That's what I'm hearing more and more from traditionally published writers, some of whom have long standing relationships with their agents and publishing houses.

Kerosene
03-10-2013, 06:10 AM
I don't know who you're querying (half of people pitching, pitch to the wrong agents), nor your query letter, nor the industry around children's book at all.

You have to understand that an agent has to take on a MS to make money. They have to be able to sell it, just the same as with the publisher.

What I see wrong:
- The publisher would probably want to do their own illustrations (not sure what the standard is here, btw).
- You probably need to edit it, like cornflake said.
- It's less likely for previously self-published book to be picked up (sales don't matter here).
- And the material. I get the good feeling of it, but the concept don't sound seleable. I'd think most parents would like to not have their children exposed to tattoos (no offense), but I'm sure there are those parents who have tattoos and would like to present it to their children. But that's such a small niche, and one I don't think publishers will go into as they want a broader spectrum for sales.

Still, what I said is no reason for stopping. I suspect you've been querying for a short time now. So expect years to get an agent/publisher interested.

Tattoo Beautiful
03-10-2013, 06:26 AM
Thank you guys for your feedback. Most of my work is influenced by my profession which is a mental health practitioner and I own a tattoo shop. I agree I probably need to edit it - atleast the synopsis. And I honestly don't understand the query letter I have looked up how to do a query letter and thought I did it right but it may be the grammar part of it may have worked against me. If I create a new query letter is their a way to get it reviewed or am I all on my own? Even though it is frustrating being rejected I believe statistically 1 in 3 adults have tattoos and the numbers are growing I will continue my venture I am just thinking it will be a little longer then I anticipated.

Kerosene
03-10-2013, 06:27 AM
Read the stickies in Query Letter Hell (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=174), for how to write a query. Password is vista.

Jamesaritchie
03-10-2013, 06:40 AM
I don't get it. I have sent my manuscript to a million agents and all of them have said they like the idea and concept but have too much on their plate. I decided to self publish and realistically my sales have been pretty good with the advertising I've been doing. But it isn't enough. I really feel the world needs my book I've self published. I even presented it to a national magazine and they are doing a complete article on me and my book because it's so unique and needed for this generation. Why won't any agent pick it up its killing me! Since I self published is the book doomed to always be self published or can I still reach out to publishers and agents?

Agents simply don't think it will sell enough copies on the commercial market to make any money. It's just this simple.

The world does not need your book, or anyone else's. Without it, the world will keep getting along just fine.

You can keep reaching out to agent sand editors, if your sales numbers are high enough. This means several thousand unique, full price sales. If it doesn't sell this well, it's unlikely anyone will want it.

Write another book.

Cyia
03-10-2013, 07:42 AM
From your link, I have to ask if this is a picture book rather than a novel. If it is, then agents aren't likely your best bet. What you want to do is send it directly to publishers. (PB's don't generally mean enough income for an agent to be interested.)

You write a cover letter, not a query, and submit the entire text of the book to the publishers you want to approach. Don't send any art - the publishers handle that, themselves.

benbradley
03-10-2013, 09:18 AM
If you feel it's so important that everyone should read it (as in more important than you making money off if it), then you can put it up free on a website (but also keep the printed copy up for sale - people will still buy it, and I'd think this would be especially true of a childrens book), and advertise the free site.

But even with things being available for free on the Internet (with or without the author's permission), it still remains, as far as I can tell, that the best way to get a writing to be read by the most people is to get it commercially published.

Polenth
03-10-2013, 09:34 AM
I don't know of any writer who has queried widely and had personal rejections from every agent, so I'm concerned you took form rejections to be personal. Some of them are worded in a way that might sound like they really liked it, but not quite enough. Or they would have taken it if only the market was better. But they send those to everyone, from the people who submitted crayon scribbles on a napkin to someone who'll go on to be a bestseller.

This isn't a reflection on whether the manuscript is good or bad. Simply that you can't rely on agent rejections to tell you.

(On the self-publishing note, we have a sub-forum for that, where there's a lot more stuff and people discuss their experiences.)

Tattoo Beautiful
03-10-2013, 09:47 AM
If you feel it's so important that everyone should read it (as in more important than you making money off if it), then you can put it up free on a website (but also keep the printed copy up for sale - people will still buy it, and I'd think this would be especially true of a childrens book), and advertise the free site.

But even with things being available for free on the Internet (with or without the author's permission), it still remains, as far as I can tell, that the best way to get a writing to be read by the most people is to get it commercially published.


I this like an ebook? I don't even have a site for it is that something I should do for marketing? We have it on our tattoo shops page but you mean a page solely for the book with an option to buy the paper back?

lastlittlebird
03-10-2013, 11:36 AM
There's probably a few ways you could do it, if you wanted to put the book up for free. I've heard it's quite difficult to convert picture books into e-book files (you're best off asking in the self publishing subforum about it, since I'm no expert), but you could also just scan in the pages and put them up as .jpgs on a website.

I would not do that unless you have completely given up on being commercially published though.

Old Hack
03-10-2013, 11:38 AM
I've read the preview of your book on the Lulu page you linked to and with all due respect, it needs a lot of work. It's written in verse, but the verse frequently doesn't scan; and it's somewhat clunky too.

By all means work on your query letter but you have to get the book up to standard too.

Also, would everyone note that it's "trade publishing" and not "traditional publishing"; things are clearer if we use the correct terminology.

gingerwoman
03-10-2013, 03:51 PM
Pity it's not for adults. Adult fiction that involves tattoos seems to be breaking out lately.

Cyia
03-10-2013, 09:14 PM
Another comment based on your sigline -- DON'T tell agents you've created a "new genre." Just don't.

Most aren't going to want a new genre, because marketing is based around the existing ones, and what you've got isn't new. It's a book about imagination and playtime with dad; the tattoos are simply a vehicle.

Did you try googling "kids books featuring tattoos" too see if there's anything similar out there? Because it brings up other books.

JoyMC
03-11-2013, 01:06 AM
It's a book about imagination and playtime with dad; the tattoos are simply a vehicle.

Hopefully. But from the description and what you've said in the thread, it sounds like you may have an agenda. Agents and publishers want story to be paramount in picture books and hate when picture books are trying to teach something. Any kind of claim that the world needs your book is going to be a major turn-off in query letters. Here's (http://kidlit.com/2011/08/22/preaching-in-picture-books/) a great post from terrific kid-lit agent Mary Kole about Preaching in Picture Books.

As for tattoos in children's books, Newbery Honor Book Savvy by Ingrid Law heavily features tattoos, but that's middle grade. But Google showed me Mommy Has a Tattoo, Daddy Has a Tattoo, and My Tattooed Dad in picture books.

Tattoo Beautiful
03-11-2013, 01:39 AM
Actually after I completed the book I found the mommy has a tattoo I think it's affiliated with mike devries who is a world renown tattoo artist. I went to his site and I'm assuming the other books are affiliated with him too ill have to look it up. It would be so much easier if I was famous and new people because part of getting published is knowing people...right ? ( or so I have read) I will definitely change the synopsis and maybe post it somewhere in this message board for critiques. The book isn't really enforcing tattoos but teaching imagination and never being afraid to create new things and being an individual.

Old Hack
03-11-2013, 01:47 AM
It would be so much easier if I was famous and new people because part of getting published is knowing people...right ?

You don't need to be famous, or to know anyone, to get a publishing contract. You just need to have written a really good book, and submit it appropriately.

As I said in my previous comment in this thread, if the little I've read of it is typical, your book needs a lot of work to bring it up to a good enough standard for trade publication.


The book isn't really enforcing tattoos but teaching imagination and never being afraid to create new things and being an individual.

Publishers want books which tell great stories really well: they don't want "message" books; and most of the children I've encountered who are of an age to enjoy picture books are overflowing with imagination and creativity.

kaitie
03-11-2013, 02:40 AM
I'd also recommend making sure you do a lot of research to learn what to expect. Honestly, a lot of things in your posts have the sound of an amateur to them, which makes me worry that your query letter does, too.

A couple of things to consider: You should never in a query letter write phrases such as "the world needs the book" and it's "unique and needed for the generation" when talking to agents.

There are several reasons for this. For one, people almost always overestimate the market. It's like saying because your book is about a woman, your book will appeal to all women everywhere.

Your book is about people with tattoos and teaching their children about tattoos, from the looks of things: overcoming the stigma. However, that doesn't mean everyone with a tattoo would want/need your book. This is especially true considering children seem to be more accepting/forgiving than most people. If a kid grows up seeing Dad's tattoos every day, the kid won't think there is anything wrong with them. That's just Dad.

Social stigma has to be taught, and most parents with tattoos aren't teaching their kids that tattoos are to be looked down upon. The kids who are hearing that don't have parents with tattoos in the first place, and generally speaking any stigmas that do exist are lessening more and more, particularly among younger people.

Now, I could be completely wrong about that, admittedly. I'm just going by my own observations and I'm far from an expert, but even so, you'd have to consider that your book wouldn't appeal to everyone with a tattoo. Not everyone with tattoos has kids, or has tattoos in easily visible places. Hell, some people might even dislike tattoos that they've gotten in the past and not want to emphasize them. Some people with kids and tattoos who might find it valuable might not like the book. It happens.

Trying to market your book the way you've mentioned here can really be more of a negative than a positive because it tends to make it sound as if you've over-stated your audience. The best thing you can do is tell the story and let the story carry itself.

Something else that, in my opinion, is that the concept of the dad using the tattoos in play is cute, but to me it sounds like it might work better as a query if you focused not on tattoos, but on the relationship between father and son. A story about Dad bonding with his child, and doing it in an imaginative, fun way. I'd think that is cute and worth checking out, while being told something is needed and unique would actually turn me away (after all, I don't have tattoos, so if you focus on that, you'd have lost me).

Really, the only thing you can do when working on a query is have a great story and tell that great story. If it's original and unique, that will stand out on its own without it needing to be said. Picture books can be notoriously difficult to sell, though, and I do worry that self-publishing it might have hurt your chances. I've also noticed a lot of minor errors in your posts, so it might be worth going over the manuscript again and making sure nothing like that pops up in there. Not saying you need perfect grammar in a forum post, just that it might indicate a problem in the manuscript that needs help as well.

The best thing you can do right now is hang out in the children's book area and just research, research, research. Read as much as you can about the process and how it works. It sounds to me like you jumped in a little too quickly (happens to most of us, including me). There are a lot of great resources around here, and once you have a better idea of how the process works, you'll have a better idea of how to succeed.

Tattoo Beautiful
03-11-2013, 02:42 AM
I guess I'm slightly confused don't all children's books have something to be taught? Even Mommy has a tattoo is about the child finding out mom has a tattoo So the heavily tattooed neighbor guy isn't so scary and Disney movies all teach something. I wrote the book in a story format but it just had a good meaning to it? Idk I guess I'm confused. I'm in no way saying my book is perfect as every book has issues but I've been spending a lot of time in the childre book section at my library and most of them to me are kind of shallow and lame but maybe that's because I'm not a kid too.

Tattoo Beautiful
03-11-2013, 02:46 AM
I'd also recommend making sure you do a lot of research to learn what to expect. Honestly, a lot of things in your posts have the sound of an amateur to them, which makes me worry that your query letter does, too.

A couple of things to consider: You should never in a query letter write phrases such as "the world needs the book" and it's "unique and needed for the generation" when talking to agents.

There are several reasons for this. For one, people almost always overestimate the market. It's like saying because your book is about a woman, your book will appeal to all women everywhere.

Your book is about people with tattoos and teaching their children about tattoos, from the looks of things: overcoming the stigma. However, that doesn't mean everyone with a tattoo would want/need your book. This is especially true considering children seem to be more accepting/forgiving than most people. If a kid grows up seeing Dad's tattoos every day, the kid won't think there is anything wrong with them. That's just Dad.

Social stigma has to be taught, and most parents with tattoos aren't teaching their kids that tattoos are to be looked down upon. The kids who are hearing that don't have parents with tattoos in the first place, and generally speaking any stigmas that do exist are lessening more and more, particularly among younger people.

Now, I could be completely wrong about that, admittedly. I'm just going by my own observations and I'm far from an expert, but even so, you'd have to consider that your book wouldn't appeal to everyone with a tattoo. Not everyone with tattoos has kids, or has tattoos in easily visible places. Hell, some people might even dislike tattoos that they've gotten in the past and not want to emphasize them. Some people with kids and tattoos who might find it valuable might not like the book. It happens.


to market your book the way you've mentioned here can really be more of a negative than a positive because it tends to make it sound as if you've over-stated your audience. The best thing you can do is tell the story and let the story carry itself.

Something else that, in my opinion, is that the concept of the dad using the tattoos in play is cute, but to me it sounds like it might work better as a query if you focused not on tattoos, but on the relationship between father and son. A story about Dad bonding with his child, and doing it in an imaginative, fun way. I'd think that is cute and worth checking out, while being told something is needed and unique would actually turn me away (after all, I don't have tattoos, so if you focus on that, you'd have lost me).

Really, the only thing you can do when working on a query is have a great story and tell that great story. If it's original and unique, that will stand out on its own without it needing to be said. Picture books can be notoriously difficult to sell, though, and I do worry that self-publishing it might have hurt your chances. I've also noticed a lot of minor errors in your posts, so it might be worth going over the manuscript again and making sure nothing like that pops up in there. Not saying you need perfect grammar in a forum post, just that it might indicate a problem in the manuscript that needs help as well.

The best thing you can do right now is hang out in the children's book area and just research, research, research. Read as much as you can about the process and how it works. It sounds to me like you jumped in a little too quickly (happens to most of us, including me). There are a lot of great resources around here, and once you have a better idea of how the process works, you'll have a better idea of how to succeed.

WOW Thank you for all of this in sight I never thought of it in the way you presented it seriously thank you for the time you put in to writing what you did. I agree of the query letter emphasizing more on the son and dad bonding rather then the tattoos. Thank you thank you!! And maybe I have been marketing it wrong I will try a different approach!!

WeaselFire
03-11-2013, 02:48 AM
I really feel the world needs my book I've self published. I even presented it to a national magazine and they are doing a complete article on me and my book because it's so unique and needed for this generation.
That's exactly the kind of language that makes most agents move on to the next query. Short of telling them you were told by God to write this and it took you 18 grueling hours, you would have trouble turning off agents quicker.

Get some posts in here then submit queries and snippets in the Show Your Work forums.

Jeff

thothguard51
03-11-2013, 02:53 AM
Depending on the age of your intended audience, a lot of children's books are read to children by their parents. So you have to interest the parents that this is a book they want to read...

Tattoo Beautiful
03-11-2013, 03:03 AM
That's exactly the kind of language that makes most agents move on to the next query. Short of telling them you were told by God to write this and it took you 18 grueling hours, you would have trouble turning off agents quicker.

Get some posts in here then submit queries and snippets in the Show Your Work forums.

Jeff

Lol I didn't say or sound self righteous in the query however I feel me having this mentality is going to help me not give up. And it took 4 months not 18 hours but that's because I hand painted everything...which I find isn't a good thing to do either. I'll definitely show my work in the forums I tend to be impulsive it will be good to slow down and make it thorough.

cornflake
03-11-2013, 05:37 AM
I guess I'm slightly confused don't all children's books have something to be taught? Even Mommy has a tattoo is about the child finding out mom has a tattoo So the heavily tattooed neighbor guy isn't so scary and Disney movies all teach something. I wrote the book in a story format but it just had a good meaning to it? Idk I guess I'm confused. I'm in no way saying my book is perfect as every book has issues but I've been spending a lot of time in the childre book section at my library and most of them to me are kind of shallow and lame but maybe that's because I'm not a kid too.

Lots of stuff has inherent lessons - The Hunger Games has a fairly overt message, as do 1984, Animal Farm, most works by Dickens, etc., etc., etc.

Lots of stuff directed at small kids is message-driven. The relationship between Big Bird and Snuffalupagus and how that's perceived, etc., is an easy example.

However, all of the above is a message or lesson (or several), couched inside an engaging, great story. You can miss the point and still enjoy the story, and get a lot of other things out of the story.

With overtly message-driven stuff, there's little besides the intended point. It's like an anvil, with a bit of story trying to prop it up in the hopes someone won't notice long enough to walk under and be whomped by the anvil.

The Left Behind books are a good example of that - there's no real story, it's just the intended message, lesson, whatever. Without that, there's nothing in those books. Yes, those were successful, within a very particular market. Outside of it, they're a joke. The market is populous. :Shrug:

As someone else pointed out, yours may not be and even if it is, you have to sell it to a publisher or agent who wants to sell to as wide an audience as possible.

As it's directed at children, which is a very hard-to-penetrate market, it has to stand out in a good way. Right now, it needs serious editing - as likely does your query, cover letter, etc. Many agents will simply delete anything with grammar or spelling errors as a matter of course, same as HR people will chuck resumes with errors.

Polenth
03-11-2013, 08:16 AM
If you find picture books shallow and boring, it'll show in your own work. It's better to write in genres and age categories you enjoy, because you'll understand why they're entertaining.

You don't want to get locked into an age category you dislike. To be a picture book writer, you need to read a lot of picture books and produce a lot of manuscripts. If an agent shows interest, they'll want to know you have several books ready and more ideas on the shelf. And by several books, I mean the written part of the manuscripts for several completely different ideas. It doesn't stop at one book or one concept.

Right now, I think the best thing to do would be to explore the rest of the forum and read everything. The children's forum has more about picture book writing, if you decide to stick at it. But be prepared for a lot of work, and potentially having to throw out what you have and start again.

gingerwoman
03-11-2013, 08:57 AM
It would be so much easier if I was famous and new people because part of getting published is knowing people...right ? .
I didn't know anyone.

cornflake
03-11-2013, 09:25 AM
It would be so much easier if I was famous and new people because part of getting published is knowing people...right ? .
The only way knowing people will help is that knowing agents or editors might get someone to look at your work. It certainly won't make them spend time, money and risk their reputation either publishing or sending out something they don't feel is up to par.

Same as knowing someone might get your resume looked at in a competitive company, might give you an edge toward an interview, but no one is hiring someone they think is inappropriate for a real job just because they're Bob's pal.

Old Hack
03-11-2013, 11:11 AM
I've been spending a lot of time in the childre book section at my library and most of them to me are kind of shallow and lame but maybe that's because I'm not a kid too.


If you find picture books shallow and boring, it'll show in your own work. It's better to write in genres and age categories you enjoy, because you'll understand why they're entertaining.

I'm repeating Polenth's comment because it seems to have been glossed over.

If you don't love children's books then you're not going to be able to write one well.

You need to know the genre inside and out, so that you understand your book's place in it, and how well it sits there.

And if the errors in your posts here are indicative of the standard of writing in your book, you have a big problem.

For example, look at the title of this thread: "I want to freak outbon agents!". What does "outbon" mean? You could correct that if you'd like.

Terie
03-11-2013, 12:30 PM
There is exactly one way -- and one way only -- to freak out agents and other industry professionals with your work: you must write a great story, and write it well.

If you think that most children's books are lame, well, that means that you don't understand children's books and you don't understand the market.

If you think that the only way to get an agent's notice is to be famous or to know someone, well, that means you haven't done any proper research on how publishing works. Very few published authors started out famous or knowing someone in the biz.

If you think that children's books are supposed to be message-heavy, well, that means you haven't done any proper research on how to write children's books.

If you want someone to pay you for your work, your work must be up to a professional standard. If your posts here are indicative of your writing skills, you aren't anywhere near that standard yet. (Everyone makes occasional errors, but your posts contain many basic writing errors. Professional writers don't make that many mistakes, even in informal venues such as this.)

So if you want to freak industry professionals out over your work, you need to bring your writing up to a professional standard, you must research how publishing actually works (AW is a terrific place to do that), and you must research how to write children's books. Then apply all that knowledge to writing the very best story you can (meaning both great story and great writing), put together an appropriate submission based on industry standards for the genre, and start submitting. (Hint: As someone mentioned upstream, very very few agents represent picturebooks. Picturebook manuscripts should be submitted directly to publishers. Your research on children's books will make this clear.)

Katrina S. Forest
03-11-2013, 03:30 PM
If you find picture books shallow and boring, it'll show in your own work. It's better to write in genres and age categories you enjoy, because you'll understand why they're entertaining.

You don't want to get locked into an age category you dislike. To be a picture book writer, you need to read a lot of picture books and produce a lot of manuscripts. If an agent shows interest, they'll want to know you have several books ready and more ideas on the shelf. And by several books, I mean the written part of the manuscripts for several completely different ideas. It doesn't stop at one book or one concept.

Right now, I think the best thing to do would be to explore the rest of the forum and read everything. The children's forum has more about picture book writing, if you decide to stick at it. But be prepared for a lot of work, and potentially having to throw out what you have and start again.

Ditto this. I'm a preschool teacher and a mom of two kids right smack in the middle of the picture book age group. I can name you picture books that made me laugh and others that made me cry. There's a thrill of excitment when I introduce a picture book I really like to a group of kids who haven't heard it before. I've attempted to write picture book manuscripts before, though it's not my strongest age category. Still, I can't imagine a successful writer finding most picture books shallow and boring. There's very, very few picture books I can think of that I'd describe that way.

What sorts of books do you really enjoy? That's probably the best place to try your hand at writing.

lastlittlebird
03-11-2013, 09:37 PM
I assume she meant she wants to "freak out on agents" not freak the agents out.