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Tips on Getting Published
by Jill Morris
- There are two main markets which writers need to study: the reader market and the publishing market.
- Writers for children have another conduit to consider: the buyer of the book - the librarian, teacher, parent or protector.
- Approaching publishers is always difficult. The key is to study the market, isolating the niche (or niches) of each publisher. Even within children's publishing there are particular niches: fiction, non-fiction, young adult novels; as well as multiple layers of education, from text books to educational resource materials.
- If you are planning a non-fiction project for children, it is best to discuss it with a potential publisher first. Fiction may be sent in total to a publisher, but I advise sending a proposal letter first. If you can, talk to a publisher on the phone, to ascertain their level of interest in the type of work you write. Sending the entire manuscript is the last stage, not the first.
- If your work for children is intended to be an illustrated picture storybook - do not send pictures! Most publishers prefer to find their own illustrator, who is experienced in the field, who understands the publisher's needs, whose style is the most appropriate for the story.
- If you are determined to send pictures, send only rough sketches to show the artist's ability and perhaps one sample piece of finished artwork. Be aware that even this picture will probably have to be done again if the book is accepted for publication.
- Meet as many children as you can. Observe them and listen to them. Ask teachers if you may visit their classes to trial your writing. Ask children's librarians where they see the gaps in the material offered to them. Join writer organisations - they are the major track to the current market and you may find a writing chum who will help you put your drafts under a microscope - before trying them out on a publisher.
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