Articles by Northern Ohio Chapter members
by Joan Marie Arbogast
Tips on Self-Promotion for Illustrators
by Sophie Cayless
Write Here in Ohio
by Kathiann M. Kowalski
The Craft of Scratchboard
by Sophie Cayless
We are seeking informational articles about the craft of children’s writing/illustration and related to children’s publishing. There is no remuneration for articles posted on the NOSCBWI site and the authors of the articles are solely and completely responsible for article content. Contact the Regional Advisor to submit or suggest an article.
The following resources are not affiliated with the SCBWI. Inclusion here does not imply endorsement, and all members are encouraged to seek the advise of legal counsel as needed.
The children's book industry is a large, competitive business. Writers and illustrators are strongly advised to educate themselves in how the industry operates. Although we are here to help, before you ask questions of other members or committee members, do some quick research to see if you can find the answer to basic questions yourself. The following list of resources is a good place to get started.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books
by Harold Underdown
ISBN # 978-1592577507
Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market
Alice Pope, Editor
Published yearly – It is recommended that your refer to the most recent edition at all times.
The Encyclopedia of Writing and Illustrating Children's Books:
From creating characters to developing stories, a step-by-step guide to making magical picture books
by Desdemona McCannon, Sue Thornton and Yadzia Williams
ISBN # 978-0762431489
Writing with Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children's Books
by Uri Shulevitz
ISBN # 978-0823059355
Illustrating Children's Books: Creating Pictures for Publication
by Martin Salisbury
ISBN # 978-0764127175
Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide from Story Creation to Publication
by Ann Whitford Paul
Websites and Blogs
The Purple Crayon: Information about Writing, Illustrating, and Publishing Children's Books — www.underdown.org
Manuscript Format Basics: Tips on properly formatting your manuscript for submission is one of many good articles on The Purple Crayon website, listed above. www.underdown.org/manuscript-format.htm
Alice Pope's Blog — scbwi.blogspot.com
Editorial Anonymous: a blog of a children's book editor — editorialanonymous.blogspot.com
Read Roger: The Horn Book Editor's Rants and Raves — readroger.hbook.com
Writer Beware Blog: a publishing industry watchdog group — accrispin.blogspot.com
Classes & Workshops in Ohio
The Mazza Museum: International Art from Picture Books
The world's largest museum devoted to literacy and the art of children's picture books. Founded in 1982, the Mazza Museum now contains nearly 5,000 original artworks. Located at The University of Findlay, the museum foundation offers a week-long summer summer conference, and a Weekend conference in November.
The University of Findlay is the nation's only 4-year institution offering a Bachelor of Arts degree in Children's Book Illustration.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I find an Illustrator for the story I have written?
STOP! You should NOT have someone else illustrate your story! Unless you are both the author and the illustrator, publishers prefer to select an appropriate illustrator to match the story. Sending in an illustrated manuscript is grounds for almost immediate rejection by many publishers. It can't be said often enough: Sending in a manuscript with illustrations is ONLY acceptable if you are both the artist and the writer, or in very rare cases of an established partnership (ie. husband & wife team).
Should I get an Agent or Artist's Representative?
Every writer and artist has to make this decision based upon his or her professional goals and abilities. An Agent or Artist Representatives’ job is to advise you about your work’s potential, market’s the work, negotiate your contracts, and protect your interests on many different levels. Agents and reps work on a percentage based fee.
Some things to consider while making your decision: How confident am I in submitting manuscripts or art samples, negotiating contracts, marketing mysel?. Agents/Reps are not a guarenteer of publication, and are for the writer or artist who has spent a great deal of time honing their craft and is serious about making this a lasting profession. When submitting to Agents or Art Representatives, be sure to follow their submission guidelines.
The Association of Author’s Representatives, Inc. (AAR) is a good resource for reputable agents. The AAR is a not-for-profit organization that sets professional standards and requires members to subscribe to its Canon of Ethics.
How do I send out my manuscript? Is there a certain format I should follow?
Every publisher has different criteria for submissions. Books like the Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market list publisher's contact information and specifications for query letters, submissions guidelines and manuscript formats.
Should I copyright my work before sending it out?
It is NOT necessary to file your work with the copyright offices if you are sending it to a known, reputable publisher. US law states that as soon as a work is put into tangible form, it is copyrighted to the creator. The publisher will obtain the copyright for your book should they choose to purchase it. If you are self-publishing and printing a small quantity (under 500 books), you may want to register with the US Copyright Office and/or use the copyright notation in the format shown here: ©2010. Jane Doe. All rights reserved.
How long should I wait to hear back from an editor or art director?
Publishers receive literally hundreds of unsolicited submissions ever month, most of which end up in a "slush pile" until they have time to be reviewed. Most editors attempt to respond in 3 to 6 months. If it has been longer than 6 months, you may send a letter to the publisher withdrawing your submission, and send it on to others. Many publishers no longer send rejection letters and will respond only if the publisher is interested in acquiring the work.
Self Publishing – A good idea or not?
It depends upon your ultimate goal. If you have a personal story that you want published for your own family and friends, but it is not important that you get wide distribution, then self-publishing may be for you. However, self-publishing means the author is responsible for all aspects of the book, from layout to marketing – and with few exceptions not many people have the specialized skills to accomplish all this. It can be costly and the author may never recoup the expenses of self-publishing. Working with a corporate publisher is the best route for those seeking national exposure or income from their book.
Do I need a website?
Until you are published, most writers do not need a website. Once you are published a website can be a useful tool to get speaking engagements and interact with readers, librarians and teachers. Illustrators will find a online presence a necessity. Art directors can quickly visit your site to see additional samples of your artwork.
Are there scams in Children's Book publishing should I be aware of?
Unfortunately there are many literary scams. Avoid any publisher that wants you to sign over rights to your book. A reputable publisher will never require payment from you to publish your book. Visit the Writer Beware Blog: a publishing industry watchdog group.