Thursday, February 3, 2011


It's day 3 of PubSubPackMo and I promised to add details on the process of submitting illustration samples to publishers. I'll be adding more as I go, but I'll start with publisher information. There isn't one way to collect the information you need. It's important to do what works best for you. Because the world around me can be hectic, I like to keep things simple whenever I can by staying organized.

During the year I come across lots of information about publishers that might be right for me. As soon as I can, I transfer the information to a text file on my computer. Some of the information is from websites I find, some is from notes I take at conferences and some comes from SCBWI bulletins. By transferring the information that pertains to me directly to a file on my computer, it keeps me from wasting time trying to backtrack and find the information again. This file can be a simple text file or a more involved database.

I also have a copy of the Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market (CWIM) on hand. It isn't always the most current copy, but I try to stay within a year of the current one. If you want to buy the new copies right away, you can get them from Amazon. If you don't mind waiting to buy, you can generally get an unused copy of the previous year for a really good price on Things can change fast, so it's important to update records by going to the publisher websites, watching for changes posted in the SCBWI bulletin, and making phone calls to publishers when necessary.

There are lots of helpful articles in the CWIM too. My problem has been the copies from past years that pile up. It is a mind trap for me to think that I need to keep each year because there is information in them that I need. I'm never going to go through each one again and they take up valuable space. Instead, I mark them up freely with pen, pencil, highlighters and sticky notes. I transfer the publisher information I use to my database, cut out articles I need and file them and then recycle the books when I'm done. I started doing this when I discovered I had copies dating back to 1999 that I had never revisited!

My first pass through the book is quick. I mark publishers that look promising and put a sticky note on the page. This is something I can do anywhere, anytime - while waiting for clients, watching my daughter's Aikido or Ice Skating, etc. The publishers I mark at this stage are the ones I need to look closer at online. I'll be looking at their book art with mine in mind and if they seem like a fit, I'll make notes about what samples are best and any other guidelines I find. This is where I am right now. I'm double checking websites to see what kind of samples to send and to make sure I don't disregard any new guidelines the publisher may have. Once I have all the info I need, I transfer the address and notes about what to send to my database. The sticky note then comes off the page, but all my written notes are still on the page if I need to go back. If I find that a publisher isn't right for me, I put an "X" through it on the page.

I've got to go add some publishers to my list and finish my client work for the day. Yesterday I added Abrams to my list as a great all around publisher with excellent variety. Stay tuned for more information on finding the submission guidelines you need...


  1. I think who to send your stuff to is the hardest step! I like reading your posts cuz I'm around the same spot you are!

  2. It is definitely tough. I felt like I was on a roll finding 4 publishers that seemed to fit. Now I'm on a different kind of roll...every one I looked at this evening is all wrong for my work. Keep on researching!