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Enter a PB Contest, submit directly to an agent or submit to a publish or all 3?

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I have a picture book that I just completed.  Is it okay to enter a contest (deadline 8/31, winner selected 12/31), query an agent and/or publisher all at the same time?

Is there an industry protocol?

Any information/advice would be appreciated.

Thanks.

Charles
#1 - July 29, 2019, 12:14 PM

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It is probably okay to enter a contest while also submitting to either an agent or an editor; however, you do not want to submit to agents and editors at the same time. An agent will not want to rep an already shopped manuscript. Best to choose the route you want to go. Also, you didn't ask, but I'll throw this in just in case you're new to this and not aware, that if you just finished the manuscript it's a good idea to get some peer feedback through critique before subbing.
#2 - July 29, 2019, 12:39 PM
Rebecca Langston-George
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The standard advice is if you are interested in securing an agent, query agents first. If you submit to both at the same time and a publisher gives you a rejection, then that's one less place an agent can try. Multiply that by several publishers, and an agent won't be interested in a "shopped" manuscript.

Odds are if an agent was interested, she/he would have you do some revisions to your story to make it even better before submitting to publishers.  And they likely won't submit to a publisher you have submitted to already.

Good luck!

As far as contests are concerned, it depends on the contest. Read the fine print. Some contest wins may be a great thing to add to your bio in your query letter to give you an edge up. Some contests I have looked at, the "rules" seemed vague enough I wasn't sure if I retained rights to my story if I won. So just be very clear before entering.

Good luck!
#3 - July 29, 2019, 12:40 PM

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It would be best not to query an agent until you have three picture books perfected as well as you can. You'll only query one manuscript, but any interested agent will ask to see more, and you'll need to have them ready.

Don't query directly to publishers unless you are sure you won't want an agent for that manuscript. Because if you shop the manuscript yourself, an agent won't want to represent it. In general, if you envision a career as an agented author, you want to query agents, not editors. If you can't find an agent, you can always shop those manuscripts to houses that don't require one (and then query agents again with later work). But it doesn't work the other way around, because if you collect publisher rejections on a book, you've removed the agent's marketing options for that book.

Read the contest rules carefully. Some will state whether or not entries can currently be under consideration by agents or editors. If you fulfill all the contest rules, I'd suggest entering the contest as long as it's legit. While you wait for results, you can be working on more projects with the goal of eventually querying agents.
#4 - July 29, 2019, 12:43 PM
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Read the contest rules carefully. Some will state whether or not entries can currently be under consideration by agents or editors. If you fulfill all the contest rules, I'd suggest entering the contest as long as it's legit. While you wait for results, you can be working on more projects with the goal of eventually querying agents.

This. Not long ago, there was a PB contest that required entries to be exclusive. (It also said entries could never have been submitted elsewhere in the past, either! Thankfully, it was discovered the latter was a misprint in the rules, though it was never changed on the website....)

Best wishes, Charles!!!
#5 - July 29, 2019, 03:23 PM

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Agent Jen Laughran just had a great post about this, which I'll share here. Bottom line, if your goal is to get an agent, shopping your manuscript to several publishers is probably not in your best interest.

https://literaticat.tumblr.com/post/186444063615/is-it-okor-even-expectedto-simultaneously-query

#6 - July 29, 2019, 04:38 PM
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Thanks for all the great feedback.
#7 - August 01, 2019, 04:46 PM

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