Friday, August 29, 2008

Children's Book Queries

I recently dove into the world of a new sort of rejection: children's books. Now, before you start calling me out on being an eternal pessimist, I'm just being realistic. Rejection runs rampant; acceptance seems to hide out until the last moment of despair, then, donning a cape and undies on the outside, swoops in to rescue you from the evil guy in every writer's brain that at some point says, "Hey, you're not good enough. You should just quit and go get a real job." Deep down, I'm an optimist. It's my darkest secret. Fluffy bunnies and sunshine abound up there in my head, yessirree.

I did my homework and came up with one single agent who might be a good fit (and allows email queries and submissions). Once I hear from her, I will branch out to the good ol' reliable, forgettable snail mail. The children's book market's not exactly begging for submissions. I have two stories on my computer right now, though, so I might as well try.

Here are some tips I found while preparing my query:
*Not many people want rhyming books
*Picture book? Good luck.
*Don't try to illustrate it yourself. They prefer to find someone to do it. You may never even meet the person who illustrates your book.
*Drop them right into the action in a query letter. And don't pitch the personal (or pity) stories. What's the book about? Why might it be a hit? It's not because your kids and their friends like everything you write. It's also not because this is your last shot at your dream to publish a children's book "because as soon as you finish that last can of beans, you're going to have to re-enter the workforce as a salesperson."
*Keep queries short. Check submission guidelines to see whether they prefer email or snail mail queries with SASEs. Most agents and publishers tend to prefer queries first these days.
*Make sure you check to see if they even accept unsolicited manuscripts. What a waste of postage and hope if they don't!
*Read lots and lots and lots of kids' books. You'll need to present the target age group in your query letter.

That about sums up what I learned. Wish me luck!

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