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View Full Version : Should I mention illustrators in a query personalization?



Tazlima
12-31-2013, 10:29 PM
I'm looking at agents for picture books and one of the major things I'm researching are the illustrators that work with each agency. I've found some agencies where I adore most of the artwork they commission and others where the work is is not to my taste, even if it's lovely in its own way. I figure on the off-chance I manage to get an agent, I want to maximize my odds of getting paired with an illustrator I love.

My question is should I mention this in my query letter personalization? If I compliment the agent's taste in illustrators, would they take it in the sense that I mean? (That sense is "OMG, you're amazing and you have amazing people around you and I want to be part of that if you'll have me).

Or could mentioning illustrators be misconstrued to mean, "Well, I like these artists, and you're their agent. I don't know anything about how you work, but you'll do."

I think of an agent's clients as their body of work, so that admiration of one implies admiration of the other. Is this the case, or would agents rather know that you've researched them more directly (i.e. sales figures, their niche in the industry, etc)? I don't want to commit a faux pas.

Siri Kirpal
01-01-2014, 03:33 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Usually, you don't mention illustrators in a writing query. But I think it would be okay to say something like, "I note that one of my all time favorite illustrators [insert name] is your client." Then you mention somewhere in the query that your book will need illustrations.

I'm not an expert, and someone may correct me, but I think done that way, it's okay.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

wampuscat
01-01-2014, 05:41 AM
I agree with the above. I'm no expert, but it's my understanding that it's the publisher who puts together a writer and illustrator, so the agent's representation of certain illustrators really wouldn't mean anything in terms of your own book.

Tazlima
01-01-2014, 06:00 AM
I agree with the above. I'm no expert, but it's my understanding that it's the publisher who puts together a writer and illustrator, so the agent's representation of certain illustrators really wouldn't mean anything in terms of your own book.

Ooooh.

I knew it wasn't up to the author, but for some reason I thought the agent was involved in the pairing process. This is actually great news, as it will drastically enlarge my A list for submitting. Thanks for setting me straight!

Don't mind me. I'm just sitting over here being clueless...

Old Hack
01-01-2014, 01:58 PM
Yep, the publishers pair writers and illustrators. As a writer of picture books, all you have to do is submit your writing.

Although I'm not sure that in this area, agents are required. Do check on this, but I think it's common for picture-book publishers to work direct with writers. You'll probably find a lot of help in the specialist room at AW.

Debbie V
01-01-2014, 07:42 PM
Do check on this, but I think it's common for picture-book publishers to work direct with writers. You'll probably find a lot of help in the specialist room at AW.

If this had come up ten years ago, I'd have said, "No agent needed." That's changing; however, the agent pool for picture book authors is still small. Many take author/illustrators but not those who only write.

Most of the big houses still have one or two imprints that are open to unagented submissions. Smaller and regional presses are often still open but not always. Your specific book may not fit with the needs of the open markets.

Look at Book Markets for Children's Writers. Consider joining the SCBWI and going through their market guides as well. They also have a list of agents. This will allow you to research the matter for yourself and decide how your picture books best fit within the current markets.

Tazlima
01-03-2014, 02:44 AM
Thanks for the information everyone! I'll be sure to check out those resources.