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Do I need a formal proposal for a picture book?

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Hello out there!
I am seeking any advice about submitting my manuscript to a publisher. My book is classified as a non-fiction picture book (750 words). I am interested in one specific publisher who states on their website that they will accept proposals and they accept all types of manuscripts, not just children's books. I am hesitant to even ask the publisher if I need to submit a formal proposal for a picture book, as all of the research I have done concludes that you should just do a query letter with the full manuscript and send. The guidelines on their site are below, but I would appreciate any feedback on if I should do what they have outlined, or if I would be okay submitting a letter with the full manuscript instead. I don't want to be rejected based on not following directions. Thanks so much for your time!

Include a one-page cover letter giving a brief description of the project, why you think we should publish it, what's included in the proposal, and your contact information.

Include an outline, introduction, sample illustrations or photographs, sample captions, sample recipes (if a cookbook) or projects (if a craft book), and text/sample chapters.

Include a market analysis of the book's potential audience. Who is the target reader? Are there similar titles? Be sure to include a list of those titles, their publishers and publication dates, and how your book is different.

Include a biography (with publishing credits and relevant credentials) for the author, illustrator, and photographer as applicable.
#1 - March 14, 2015, 09:53 PM

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It's not usual to submit a proposal for a picture book, but this publisher does request it specifically. I would comply with the submission requirements, which will be less complex to fulfill than they might be for a longer project. But if it's too onerous, put this publisher further down your query list.

Good luck, Jenna!
#2 - March 15, 2015, 06:45 AM
Kell Andrews

THIS OR THAT, Tilbury House, 2021
THE BOOK DRAGON, Sterling, 2018

I recently had to do a picture book proposal at the request of an acquisition editor. The book is fiction. Yes, that's very unusual.
#3 - March 15, 2015, 08:17 PM
Dragon Roar, MacLaren-Cochrane (pub date TBA)
Little Lena and the Big Table, Big Belly Book  Co. (May 2019)

Twitter @pjmcilvaine

Children's Book Editor
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I agree that you should follow their guidelines, but if I were you I'd also research their capabilities as a picture book publisher. How many have they published in the past three years? Get a few of them through your library and check out the quality. Find out what you can about how they did. This might not be the right publisher for you.
#4 - March 16, 2015, 03:46 AM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site:


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