FAQ for writers & illustrators:
I have an idea for a book. What should I do?
How exciting! Now you should nurture it: keep working at it and thinking about it and writing and/or drawing. If you want to write picture books but don't illustrate, that’s okay! Most children’s books are written and illustrated by two different people. Take your time and keep looking at your work with fresh eyes.
I think I’m ready for a publisher to look at my project. What now?
Editors are the multi-talented superheroes who acquire books, but they can be hard to get in touch with, and for good reason: they're super busy! The best next step is to get an agent. I’m represented by Andrea Morrison at Writer’s House, but there are lots of literary agencies.
I suggest poking around SCBWI’s website—it’s a great starting point for all things children’s book-related. Snoop around and see who your favorite authors and illustrators are represented by, too.
Well, what does an agent do?
The relationship with your agent should be a true partnership. A good agent will work with you to make your project the best it can be and help you navigate a career in the book world. When your project is ready to send to publishers, your agent will strategize the best way for editors to see and hopefully acquire it. They’ll help you negotiate your payment and rights, too– that part can be confusing. All of that said, a good agent is worth waiting for: make sure you’re excited about your agency before you commit! It’s also worth noting that an agent is not a golden ticket to a book deal, as there are often several rounds of submissions before a book finds its home.
Can I hire you to illustrate my book?
If you’re a designer or editor: Yes! Please get in touch with me & my agent Andrea Morrison (amorrison@WritersHouse.com)
If you wrote a book that you hope to have traditionally published, you do not need to hire an illustrator. Your publisher will do that, and you won’t pay a dime. Instead, you should focus on writing the best manuscript you can. If you’d like, you can add “art notes,” which describe what you imagine happening in the pictures. You don't need to have your manuscript illustrated in order to get a book deal.