Approaching the publisher directly.

TJ123

Registered
Joined
Dec 7, 2022
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
I’ve been watching an interview between a picture book writer and a literary agent.
The agent suggests that if you are someone with one story in you, rather than somebody with a lot of ideas for stories, then you’re better off going to a publisher directly, instead of through an agent, who’ll want to represent your whole career.
Has anyone here sent there picture book story straight to a publisher? Do you need to use the services of an editor prior to this or not? Just curious to know what the normal step by step procedure would be if it doesn’t include the agent.
 

Brigid Barry

Under Consideration and Revising
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Messages
8,985
Reaction score
14,463
Location
Maine, USA
Hi TJ, welcome to the boards! Make sure you introduce yourself on the new members subforum!

Not all publishers will accept unsolicited submissions, first. Second, utilizing an agent for on project isn't a guarantee that an author is going to use them for every project.

Pitching to a publisher is about the same as pitching to an agent: follow their guidelines. A traditional publisher should have an editor to go over your work but it may depend on the publisher. No matter who you sub to, make sure it's as polished as you can make it.

A word of caution: if you approach a bunch of publishers that accept unsolicited submissions and then end up getting an agent, the agent will have a smaller pool of publishers to pitch to.
 

Unimportant

No COVID yet. Still masking.
Staff member
Moderator
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 8, 2005
Messages
19,838
Reaction score
23,257
Location
Aotearoa
I’ve been watching an interview between a picture book writer and a literary agent.
The agent suggests that if you are someone with one story in you, rather than somebody with a lot of ideas for stories, then you’re better off going to a publisher directly, instead of through an agent, who’ll want to represent your whole career.
Has anyone here sent there picture book story straight to a publisher? Do you need to use the services of an editor prior to this or not? Just curious to know what the normal step by step procedure would be if it doesn’t include the agent.
Welcome to Absolute Write, TJ123.

Can you identify which writer and which agent? That would be helpful to us.

Both agents and publishers tend to look for career writers.

If a publisher only accepts submissions from literary agents, then the author needs a literary agent. If a publisher accepts submissions directly from authors, then the author can submit without a literary agent. For the latter, the normal procedure is to follow the publisher's submission guidelines to the letter.

Some authors hire freelance editors for assistance before submitting to publishers or querying literary agents; others don't. It's a very individual thing, based partly on the writer's level of skill and partly on their financial situation.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Elenitsa

TJ123

Registered
Joined
Dec 7, 2022
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Welcome to Absolute Write, TJ123.

Can you identify which writer and which agent? That would be helpful to us.

Both agents and publishers tend to look for career writers.

If a publisher only accepts submissions from literary agents, then the author needs a literary agent. If a publisher accepts submissions directly from authors, then the author can submit without a literary agent. For the latter, the normal procedure is to follow the publisher's submission guidelines to the letter.

Some authors hire freelance editors for assistance before submitting to publishers or querying literary agents; others don't. It's a very individual thing, based partly on the writer's level of skill and partly on their financial situation.
It was between Julia Donaldson and Caroline Sheldon on Julia’s BBC Maestro course.
 

Unimportant

No COVID yet. Still masking.
Staff member
Moderator
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 8, 2005
Messages
19,838
Reaction score
23,257
Location
Aotearoa
It was between Julia Donaldson and Caroline Sheldon on Julia’s BBC Maestro course.
Thanks! A very successful and admirable pairing of agent and author indeed.

There are some differences in querying UK vs American agents. Each publisher will have its own submission guidelines, which are usually pretty clear and easy to follow.

Do you write picture books? Do you have a collection of them, or is there only one book you have/wish to write?
 
  • Like
Reactions: ChaseJxyz

ChaseJxyz

Writes 🏳️‍⚧️🌕🐺 and 🏳️‍⚧️🌕🐺 accessories
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 5, 2020
Messages
4,524
Reaction score
6,203
Location
The Rottenest City on the Pacific Coast
Website
www.chasej.xyz
Hello!

I don't know how much you know about the publishing industry, but there are a lot of people who write books. Many of them aren't very good, either because the writer hasn't been practicing their craft long or they think the publisher's editor will do ALL the heavy lifting with editing. Or they submit a cookbook to a publisher who only does fantasy novels. So any publisher that allows unsolicited (without an agent) submissions will have to deal with all of this stuff, and that takes time and money.

That's why publishers like agents. THEY are the ones who have to wade through all the not-good stuff (or good stuff but sent to the wrong market) to find the things that are very, very good and will probably make money. So the publisher only has to look at, say, 100 books instead of 10,000.

There ARE publishers out there that accept unsolicited submissions, but they are not the norm. And they will only have small submission windows, because if they keep the door open too long, they will drown.

But one of the nice things about agents is that their entire job is selling books. They will do a much more awesome job pitching your book to a publisher than you ever could, because that's their specialty. They can give you feedback to take your story to the next level. Also they know contracts and they will make sure you get the best terms possible.

There ARE agents out there who want to sell only the one project, which is what you're looking for. Not sure the best way to find them, though.
 

Nether

is walking the plank at a pirate-themed water park
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Messages
6,017
Reaction score
12,099
Location
New England
Picture books as a demographic is the furthest thing from a one-and-done. It's probably the biggest career-seeking option, considering that picture books are usually queried via a packet of several books.

The great American novel and other adult literary works can work as a one-and-done, but picture books tend to be very heavily commercial. And it also tends to be one of the hardest demos to self-pub (if not the hardest) because it relies so heavily on traditional avenues and schools.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ChaseJxyz