Writing to earn an income...This is where Nancy's book veers away from the writing norm. Most writing books tell you to complete your book before you even consider pitching an editor or an agent. Nancy tells you to pitch your idea to a publisher first, see if you can get a request to then submit a proposal which at that point should give you a greater opportunity to landing a contract for the book.
On first reading that sounds really easy because I haven't mentioned the back work that happens before you pitch a story. You need to begin with a ton of research. This starts with finding books that are similar to a style that you write. You do this by going to your favorite book story or library. Then you write down the names of the books, their authors and their publishers. Make sure you check to see if the publisher is a subsidiary of a larger company and write down that name as well. Choose at least 5 or more publishing houses.
Now it's time to do some online browsing. The first thing you need to do is look up the publisher. This is the first step because you will find many of the largest publishers will not accept unsolicited manuscripts or even query letters. If the publisher fits in that category, scratch it off the list and start with the next one. This week I went through 11 publishers to find 2 that would consider either queries or full manuscripts.
Once you've found a publisher that will at least look at your work, you have a fighting start. Now it's time to review what their guidelines are. As my writing preference is picture books/easy readers, I am discovering that many publishers don't want to see a query but the full manuscript. Here's an example of a specific publisher's guidelines...
We much prefer to see actual samples of your work to query letters. Picture books should always be submitted in their entirety.
So do I follow Nancy's suggestions and just do a query even though they want a full manuscript up front? Or do I seek out another publisher? If I understand what Nancy suggests, I should skip that publisher and find one that specifically says they will accept queries. Back to finding a new publisher. The other two that I previously researched also ask for full manuscripts. I find one more publisher whose books I like, but they too want full submissions.
I have now gone through 10 potential publishers whose style of writing fits the way I write. All of them say they want full manuscripts for picture books, no queries. I only found one publication who would consider a query, that is if it was for a non fiction book. So do I give up on just sending queries and write a full manuscript? Or do I keep researching until I find a publisher who will review just a query? More on that in the next post.