Although I am
mainly known as an illustrator, I occasionally write when an idea
strikes. I wrote my first children's book and plan on writing more
in the future. I receive lots of letters asking for my advice
and publishing experience.
When I was a kid I liked reading "Dr. Seuss" and "Curious George" series because it was cheerful and fun. But my all time favorite book was "The Little Engine That Could". The motto was "I think I can, I think I can". It reminds me that I should never give up on my dreams. Most books I enjoy dispense life lessons and a sprinkle of inspiration. Luckily, our nation's desire for so many different ideas is a bottomless lake. I personally prefer to take on book projects about today's social and cultural topics. If you are passionate about your story,
then you should write about it.
There are 6,000
new books each year so don't be discouraged there should be a genre
for every idea. If publishing a book is your dream, I hope this page
on my web site will point you in the right direction.
First, the writer
sells their manuscripts to a publisher. Then the editor will then
look for an illustrator whose artwork best suits the story. If I
am selected, then my agent gets involved and a contract is drawn.
When I am not writing my own stories, I love to illustrate for other
authors. Usually authors and illustrators do not collaborate and
create a book together. When I first meet an author it is at a conference
or a book festival after the book has been published and available
for the world to see.
Once you get
a publishing contract, congratulations! Unless you have the financial
freedom, I wouldn't suggest quitting your day job.
I took on a
second job to pay the bills while making my first three books. I
worked nights at a factory carving out belt buckles. Art supplies,
rent and the everyday cost of living in New York City was and still
is very expensive. Forget health insurance-couldn't afford it. I
made use of the city health clinic if I got sick. Obviously I didn't
have much choice in the foods I ate. My meals consisted of rice
with a can of tomato sauce or if I'm lucky, instant noodles.
For years I've lived the "starving artist" lifestyle.
But the hardship
only fueled my determination and I truly believed that one day I
will be able to do what I love for a living. Over the years the
publishers knew I was passionate about each project that was entrusted
to me. Now I am fortunate I can paint full-time plus have three
healthy meals a day!
My tips for
1) Find your
voice, write what you like, and ask yourself "did I like reading
2) Type your
manuscript and double the space between the lines. Don't accompany
it with your drawings unless you're an artist.
3) Have your
most honest friends or relatives read it. Ask them for their critique
- be open to outside suggestions.
4) There are
lots of sources at the bookstore that can guide you in preparing
your manuscript and finding a literary agent. I recommend the following
Yourself Writing and Getting Published
by: Allan Frewin Jones & Lesley Pollinger
by: R.R. Bowker
yourself with a well-known writer. If their writing style or subject
is similar to yours, look at the back of that book for the publisher's
name and address. Mail your manuscript. I can't guarantee this will
work, but to improve your chances, you should find a literary agent
to assist you. I recommend this book:
Agents: The Essential Guide for Writers
by: Debby Mayer
6) Once the
publisher receives your manuscript a junior editor will read it.
Bear in mind the publishing industry (especially children's publishing)
receives thousands of unsolicited manuscripts. It may take up to
a year for a response by generic postcard or letter. If rejected,
learn to deal with it. Even J.K. Rowling, the author of the wildly successful
"Harry Potter" series was rejected nine times before London's Bloomsbury Publishing signed her on.
7) Writing is
a lonely pursuit consider joining your neighborhood children's writing
community for support and encouragement. If you don't know of one
contact the SOCIETY FOR CHILDREN'S BOOK WRITER AND ILLUSTRATORS,
telephone (323) 782-1010. They have excellent resources and offer
children's literature workshops.
My tips for
1) Send your
art to the attention of the art director at the publishing company.
Include you name and address on each sample and slide.
2) If you have
more than one style, show it. This will demonstrate your range.
3) Know the
type of publishers you are dealing with. They will recognize that
you are familiar with their publication.
4) Send a personal
letter by getting the art director's name and not a generic greeting.
Call and ask the receptionist.
joining the SOCIETY FOR CHILDREN'S BOOK WRITER AND ILLUSTRATORS,
telephone (323) 782-1010. They offer contact names, networking opportunities
and workshops by other professional artists.
6) Never send
any original artwork in the mail, it can get lost.
Publishers review my art for SATURDAYS AND TEACAKES
Note: Every author or illustrator got their start a little differently. The information on this page is designed to give you a general idea of the publishing industry. These tips are informational only. No representation is made or warranty given as to their content, or expeditiousness. User assumes all risk of use. Soentpiet assume no responsibility for any loss or delay resulting from such use.
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