SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

Photos in narrative nonfiction proposals?

Discussion started on

Hi all, I was looking at the submissions guidelines for an agent I'd like to query with a narrative nonfiction project, but one part of her guidelines confused me a bit and was unlike anything I'd seen before. It reads, "For children's nonfiction, please include either a book proposal or a brief (2-3 pages) overview detailing what your book is, why you're the person to write it, and a sample chapter in the body of the email. If your project contains photos or images pertinent to the book, you may attach a full proposal."

My questions: should a nonfiction book proposal include photos that might be used in the book, and if so, roughly how many photos should be included and how should they be integrated? Are photos typically expected, or optional?

Finally, in the case of the agent above, do you think she is saying she wants sample photos as part of a full proposal? I'd appreciate any help or insights people have time to offer! Thank you!
#1 - February 16, 2016, 03:22 PM

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • **
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region carolinas
I don't know about agents, but some publishers want prospective photos to see what kind of $$$ will be needed for permissions. And some publishers expect you to pay for the photos (I steer clear away from them because you might find yourself spending your advance on photos).

I've not ever put photos in a proposal, but I do include possible sources.

I hope that helps.
#2 - February 16, 2016, 05:50 PM
« Last Edit: February 18, 2016, 06:09 PM by Vijaya »
BOUND (Bodach Books, 2018)
TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015)
Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces

Poster Plus
  • ****
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region cencal
What Vijaya said.  I understand some publishers require non-fiction authors to do all the legwork for photos and purchase them. I have never been asked to provide the pictures or purchase the picture rights myself, but I have been asked to  give a list of possible photos that could be purchased. When I wrote my first book on historical fashions I created a Pinterest board to share these images with my editor. 
#3 - February 16, 2016, 06:33 PM
Rebecca Langston-George
The Women's Rights Movement: Then and Now
Capstone: January, 2018

This is helpful. Thanks so much!
#4 - February 17, 2016, 04:38 AM


You could simply state what photos you'd like to include. Something like: This project will be supported by archival photos of Monticello, along with professional modern day photos taken by Sally Photography.

I did also submit one project with a Photos List that included exactly what photos I thought would support each chapter and where each photo could be located.
#5 - February 17, 2016, 02:27 PM

Dionna, you sound extremely organized! I've gotten some good ideas from you and the others here. I think I will put together a list of potential photos and their sources for my project. Thank you!
#6 - February 17, 2016, 07:42 PM

  • **
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region britishisles
If you've found a particularly relevant and unique source of photos for your book, or if the text and photos are heavily integrated, certainly highlight and show examples of the photos. Otherwise, take care, because not only may the publisher reject the idea because the images may be too expensive, but also because your choice of images is not the same as the art director's. And as others have said, don't rush to offer or be easily persuaded to do the picture research and clearance of rights. This work can be time consuming and costly if you are not experienced in it.
#7 - February 18, 2016, 03:36 PM


0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.