People ask me all the time how to get their book published.
I wish I had a magic formula or set of industry connections to
help you get your foot in the door, but even as a published illustrator
I still have to go through the normal process. And if you dare read on, I’ll tell you exactly what I did.
The absolute best publishing advice I was given was to buy the book Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market published by Writers Digest Books. It comes out every year and has thousands of publishers listed. It’s important to get the most recent version as publishers go in and out of business monthly. This resource is SO helpful because it provides loads of information about each publisher, such as the types of stories they'll accept, who to send inquiries to and how to send them, the length of their published books, their philosophy and mission, and so on. This book will give you all the necessary information you'll need in order to submit your work for review. I spent HOURS reading through this book and highlighting the publishers that seemed appropriate for my type of story. I made copies of my book and starting mailing it out in groups of ten. Once one set was returned with a rejection letter, I sent it out again. The horribly frustrating (see The Way I Feel page: Frustrated) part is that I was told be prepared to send my book to at least 500 publishers and REMAIN POSITIVE throughout. That's torture! It's like craving Kit-Kats when you’re on a diet. I was extremely lucky to have Parenting Press interested early on in my search process, but it still took lots of time. If you've got a strong idea and a will to persevere, there is a publisher out there for you. But remember that not all publishers are right for your project. I received a rejection letter in 2002, well after my book was on the market a couple years and at that point sold over 400,000 copies! Go figure!
It’s important to know that if you are an author you don’t have to have illustrations to accompany your story. Matter of fact, if your work is accepted by a publisher, they would prefer to match an illustrator's style to your story. Leave it to the professionals.
Another very helpful book is How to Get happily Published by Judith Appelbaum. It contains information about how to submit queries, agents, writing for children...
Although finding a publisher can be a frustrating process, be persistent and it will pay off. And then the real fun begins... touring!