Tuesday, February 1, 2011


PubSubPackMo is here! "What is it," you say, "some sort of pub food special?" No, but that's not a bad idea. PubSubPackMo is Publisher Submission Packet Month. I had so much fun during NaNoWriMo and PiBoIDMo (okay maybe fun isn't the correct word, but I got a lot done and that was fun) I decided to create an entire month dedicated to researching and submitting work to publishers.

There is a lot of research involved in submitting work. In the past I found I would do 10 at a time and then let the whole thing drop for months. It's best to keep submissions going out several times a year to publishers already on your list and submissions to new publishers going out regularly. If it becomes a part of what you do all the time, the habit should be as easy as brushing your teeth.

How to start? If you're an illustrator, start by deciding what samples to send. This might be as simple as one image on a postcard, several postcards or several images on a tear sheet. If you're an illustrator/writer, you might be sending out a picture book dummy or a query letter depending on the publisher's guidelines. And if you are an illustrator/writer sending out dummies - beware of simultaneous submissions. This is where the research comes in.

Always make sure to match your work to the right publishers and follow their guidelines (more about that in upcoming posts). It's a common notion for newcomers to think they should get the Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market and start sending to every publisher in there. How do I know? Before I got serious about children's illustration, I was toying with the idea. That was about 15 years ago when I was still illustrating botanicals. I had begun to play with adding faeries to my work. Not knowing anything about the children's publishing market, I approached a children's illustrator I knew and told her my plan to blanket the entire industry with my samples. The look on her face was one of amused pity and she patiently explained why this was a bad idea. I would need to research each publisher individually. Back then, this generally involved making phone calls. Horrified, I abandoned the children's publishing idea and stuck with the publishing opportunities I had doing botanicals.

It's a lot easier to research now. Phone calls to verify addresses are rarely necessary anymore and most information about the types of work the publishers publish is online or in the Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market.

I will be posting throughout the month about the submission process, but for now, I've got to research my publisher for the day!