PDA

View Full Version : Children's picture book support thread.



writerterri
10-13-2006, 08:33 AM
They're hard aren't they? I've read some good ones and I've read some that I couldn't wait until I got to the end of it.

I just can't stand it when a celebrity gets one published just because of who they are.

Write a story in 300 words or less! Are you kidding me!

Do you have an agent? You should get an agent. Yea, right. Agents are so hard to get. I'm going strait to the publisher.

What do you mean a marketing plan. I don't even know what I'm doing after you say yes to my pb.

Querys suck!

You mean I need illustrations? But...

I just don't get it! My mom and my kids love my stories, why can't I get them published?

What do you mean my ms doesn't have a strong enough plot.

What the heck is a theme?

What do you mean it's boring?

Am I doing this right?

It all belongs here!

Discuss...

PS. these are suggested topics

Storyteller5
10-13-2006, 09:25 AM
I'll answer a few of those to start!

Hmmm, the word count part of it has never bothered me. I don't think about that when I'm writing.

I must say thank goodness I'm not responsible for the art! I'm glad the publishing house (when they do finally accept my work) will deal with matching my story with an illustrator. Part of what fascinates me with PBs is the way the pictures interact with the words, especially when often the author and illustrator have never met.

Yep, I don't have an agent. (Here (http://www.barbarakanninen.com/why_i_don_t_have_an_agent__or_doing_the_math) is an interesting article from the no-agent-for-PB-POV.) If I try to get any of my novels published, I will go the agent route, but not for PB. Not right now anyway.

Queries don't worry me, but I think that's because so far all the publishers I've submitted to required the manuscript in full right away. Takes away some of the fear for me.

I'm hopeful. :)

Dollywagon
10-13-2006, 10:04 AM
Phew! Where do you start on this subject???

Admittedly I have only skimmed the link you gave, Storyteller, and my head won't take in the figures at this time in the morning anyway. But the one thing I would say a good agent has is the ability to get your mss in front of large publishing houses that usually won't entertain unsol mss.

I'm in the UK, so things may be different in your neck of the woods, but the number of publishers who accept unsol PB's here, is very low.

My logic for trying agents is purely that they can open doors for me that are firmly locked otherwise.


When it comes to queries, I think you will find that most agents and publishers who handle PB's, would prefer to see the whole mss up front and skip the query process. They rarely put this in their guidelines but if you give them a ring they will clarify it. Makes sense really, as most PB's are shorter than the queries are.

A personal gripe I have at the moment with a lot of published books, is that it seems the illustrations and the subject matter have overtaken the story. I'm a little confused as to what publishers actually find most important.

Moondance will be on to discuss this matter in a while, I'm sure. So one for you, Moondance - I know you had one PB published and then quite a few rejected - Do you have any idea why? Were you given any feedback at all as to why the first one successful and the others weren't?
Is there really a recipe for a successful PB writer - I know there are a few out there. Let's hope they drop in!

writerterri
10-13-2006, 10:40 AM
I love being able to mail in the whole ms. I usually send a brief cover letter with it and wait.

I'm waiting for one to come in this month, three months in the waiting. I'm hopeful with this one. Then I have two more I'm sending in to the same. They only take exclusive ms, so the waiting is even longer for one rejection letter to come in.

By the way-those aren't my questions, they're just topics.

Dollywagon
10-13-2006, 10:49 AM
Well, I can take you on regarding the 'my kids and mom love it,' theme.

I know there is a bit of confusion with regards to who you let see your story. I mean, how do you know if kids will like it if they never get to read it?
Plus a lot of experts will tell you to show it to kids to get an opinion.

What I do, is give the story to my friends to read to their kids, but they never know it's written by me. That way, I have at least a small chance of minimising any biased reaction.

Adult family members are a different matter. If they never, ever, pick you up on anything, then you are either a genius or they love you too much. Unless of course, you have a reader like my sister who is merciless, and, thank God, usually right.
If she speaks, I listen.

spike
10-13-2006, 06:56 PM
I'll take a whack at your questions.


They're hard aren't they? I've read some good ones and I've read some that I couldn't wait until I got to the end of it.

Hard? You'll get no argument here. And the market is so competitive. Not only are publishers/agents flooded with PB ms, but shelf space is limited because the classics never go out of print.

Good/Bad? A lot of that is a matter of taste. I never understood the whole Beatles thing.

Make sure you aren't following the link removed via request from other site's Webmaster.Crap plus 1 fallacy.


I just can't stand it when a celebrity gets one published just because of who they are.

There is a mantra that I say:

1. a celebrity who sells a large number of books puts more money in publisher's pockets, who will hopefully use that to take a chance on more new writers.

2. Celebrity books get buyers into the stores and (hopefully) they will buy other books while there.

It's life in the book-business.


Write a story in 300 words or less! Are you kidding me!

Go to the library and find books of that length. Deconstruct them and see how the author did it. But not all picture books need to be that short. Look for books you like and see what the length is.


Do you have an agent? You should get an agent. Yea, right. Agents are so hard to get. I'm going strait to the publisher.

General rule: Query 5 agents and 1 publisher at a time.


What do you mean a marketing plan. I don't even know what I'm doing after you say yes to my pb.

Who is asking for a marketing plan? I've never run into that.


Querys suck!

Yes, but that's how you get into publishers who say no unsolicited ms


You mean I need illustrations? But...

?? You usually don't need illustrations. Editors will match you with an illustrator.


I just don't get it! My mom and my kids love my stories, why can't I get them published?

My immediate family loves everything I write. I could read them my shopping list and tell them it is a free form poem and they would think it was golden. Their input is great encouragement, but a lousy critical reivew.

Critique groups can help, but make sure the critters KNOW picture books. I prefer to give it to a friend and have them read it aloud to me. Where they stumble is a problem.

Kids that are PB age can be hard because some of them just like to read to, regardless of the story. And since you don't have the illustrations, you only have half a story.


What do you mean my ms doesn't have a strong enough plot.

There are entire books written on plot. Go to the library.

Without reading your ms, I'd guess you don't have enough tension or enough action. Or perhaps the story has no urgency. Just a couple of guesses.



What the heck is a theme?

There are even more books written on theme. Too much to go into here.


What do you mean it's boring?

Quite possibly a matter of taste. I thought the Broadway show Cats was boring. Can't say without seeing your ms.

I hope this helps. PBs are tough to break into, as you know. Everyone thinks they can write a PB without even bothering to learn the form.

writerterri
10-13-2006, 08:13 PM
Nice post Spike! (I should state in the origonal post that those are suggested topics, not my questions.) I have spent time exploring those, but I'm glad you did answer because I learned something new.


Can you think of any more topics that would intrest someone to want to elaborate on?


Terri

writerterri
10-13-2006, 08:17 PM
Well, I can take you on regarding the 'my kids and mom love it,' theme.

I know there is a bit of confusion with regards to who you let see your story. I mean, how do you know if kids will like it if they never get to read it?
Plus a lot of experts will tell you to show it to kids to get an opinion.

What I do, is give the story to my friends to read to their kids, but they never know it's written by me. That way, I have at least a small chance of minimising any biased reaction.

Adult family members are a different matter. If they never, ever, pick you up on anything, then you are either a genius or they love you too much. Unless of course, you have a reader like my sister who is merciless, and, thank God, usually right.
If she speaks, I listen.


Good points. I've heard it suggested that you should give it to a librarian you may know or trust to read and get their opinion.

I never give it to a family member because I already know they don't want to hurt my feelings. I gave one to my sister in law and she loved it and commented on it too. I look at that same ms and cringe because I know so much more now.

writerterri
10-13-2006, 08:33 PM
I just thought of a new topic.


Do you think writers submit a story before it's really time?


I think that happens a lot. I used to write a story and submit it right away only to get all rejections. I had a steady flow of rejection letters coming in and I was discouraged. Then I thought, what's the hurry? I really want to get published, not just for notoriety, but because I want to touch lives.

Now I write a story and sit on it for a long time, sometimes years. I'll take it out and post it and work on it. Then put it away again, learn some more about writing and take it back out and post it again and revise. I feel like I don't want to submit a story until it's like aged wine and I think it's really going to benefit the market. I will usually take a stroll through the book isle to see what's selling for my inspiration. I have at least 18 stories on reserve for the future, so I wont run low on supply. It's my strategy for getting published. I don't feel like I should bombard the publishers with stories. They're already brain dead before they get to my story. I wish people would put more thought into their stories before they fling it at an agent or publisher, then I think more of us who are serious about getting published would have a better chance of getting a good read, but what are the chances of changing that? I'd have to rule the world! he he

spike
10-13-2006, 08:38 PM
Sorry I misunderstood your initial post.

The problem with giving a PB to your family/friends/kids/dog/enemies to read is that the story is really only half there without illustration.

Soccer Mom
10-13-2006, 08:44 PM
I do read mine to my kids, because I know that if they actually sit and listen without having pictures to look at, then it's a compelling story. I watch them carefully and if they start to fidget, it's back to the drawing board. Or...um...back to the computer.

writerterri
10-13-2006, 08:49 PM
I do read mine to my kids, because I know that if they actually sit and listen without having pictures to look at, then it's a compelling story. I watch them carefully and if they start to fidget, it's back to the drawing board. Or...um...back to the computer.


I should use my kids for meters too, but I don't. Shame on me! I used to though.

Deborah L. Reeves
11-05-2006, 10:01 AM
I just came upon this thread. Is there a list of pb publishers anywhere on this site (or anywhere else)? Has anyone heard of Barefoot Books? Can anyone share any info on them? My fairy tale may fit in with their books.

Are fairy tales different than picture books?

Sorry for so many questions. :)


Debbie

Freckles
11-06-2006, 03:14 AM
Terri, my head is spinning just from those topic suggestions! I do admire you children's writers. Keep at it, and good luck with the submissions! :)

writerterri
12-07-2006, 04:36 AM
I just came upon this thread. Is there a list of pb publishers anywhere on this site (or anywhere else)? Has anyone heard of Barefoot Books? Can anyone share any info on them? My fairy tale may fit in with their books.

Are fairy tales different than picture books?

Sorry for so many questions. :)


Debbie

I've heard of them but I don't have anything to say about them. I've seen their name and seen their books in the library.

You can go to Editors and Preditors here at AW and go through the list, like I do, and find out who publishes children's stuff.

Good luck!

Terri

writerterri
12-07-2006, 04:37 AM
Terri, my head is spinning just from those topic suggestions! I do admire you children's writers. Keep at it, and good luck with the submissions! :)

Thanks!

I have to get ahold of a publisher and ask them why they are taking so long to return my ms. It's been about 6 months. I hate doing that, but they said I could ask after 3 months if I didn't hear from them.

Soccer Mom
12-08-2006, 01:15 AM
I've submitted to and been rejected by Barefoot Books. It's a reputable small press.