Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Writing is Art but Marketing is Business

Good news!  A publisher has graciously offered to look at my manuscript, I'm Just a Home Child.  However, I know that looking and accepting a manuscript are too very different things.  As Aaron Shepard says on his website:  "Writing is art, but marketing is business".  So, before I submit it, I'd better do my homework. 

My friend Mary Ann suggested that I visit the bookstore and buy some books by the same publisher that have been published within the last year to determine what style (s) they prefer.  So, off to Chapters I went to do some research.  While I found a stack of picture books by the publisher in question, I did not find a lot of historical picture books.  I did find a couple of folksy type historical picture books, one of which I already own.  I bought a couple of story books along with a book about New York City and then headed home.

Mary Ann also suggested that I proofread my manuscript to purge it of cliches, to double check on dialogue tags ex. "I say" and to make sure it had a sufficient number of word pictures.  Well, back to the drawing board.  She also suggested that I have a critique group read it, something I had also heard from another author.  She named the Word Guild critique group as an example (I'm already a member so it should just be a formality). 

Of course, I also have to research the submission guidelines for the publisher, as each one is slightly different.  I have to cross my t's and dot my i's.  I have to make sure I look professional.

As I peruse my manuscript for the hundredth time, I hope to do so with fresh eyes.  I hope to give it that something extra, that something unique, that will catch the eye of the publisher.

Here is a list of resources for beginners who wish to write/publish a picture book:

1.  "The Business of Writing for Children" (Aaron Shepard).
2.  Picture Writing (Anastasia Suen).
3.  Guide to Writing for Children (Jane Yolen).
4.  The Children's Picture Book:  How to Write and Sell It (Ellen M. Roberts).
5.  Harold Underdown's site (
6.  Children's Book Council (


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