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wrote my story. now what?

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 :bewildered
I am a former musician and now Physician Assistant by trade. Needing a creative outlet, I have started to write picture books. I have finished one Christmas story and am currently working on another picture book with a few more ideas in the pipeline but I don’t know what my next steps should be. Do I need to get an agent? Or do I need an editor first or an illustrator? Do I need to complete several stories to make my brand a bit more appealing to an agent before presenting anything OR do I just need to get someone to critique one or a few of my stories to see if it is even worth moving forward with any of these other items?

I feel like if I could have someone critique and say if they were any good, I could then get an editor, then an illustrator/format professional then use that to possibly get an agent? But being new to this, I’m unsure and kind of stuck. Any direction anyone can point me in would be appreciated. Thanks so much.
#1 - March 25, 2020, 10:55 AM

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Hi Michael! Welcome to the boards!

You've come to a great place to get information!

A few quick answers:
If you want to be traditionally published, you do NOT find an illustrator for your book. The editor and art director of the publisher will find an illustrator for your book if they want to publish it.

After you write a PB, it is recommended you get people to critique your story. Getting some outside eyes on your story can help you improve it and decide if it's ready to be submitted to a publisher or agent. You can find some critique partners or groups in this thread:
https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?board=73.0

Or, since you are an SCBWI member, you could post your story in this thread to get some feedback as well:
https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?board=121.0.

Once you feel your story is ready, the next step would be to decide if you want an agent or if you want to submit directly to publishing houses. This board is a good place to look:
https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?board=260.0
Most large houses are not open to submissions from unagented writers, but several smaller houses are. Many people recommend you find an agent, though you will find that some writers have very successful careers without one.

I hope this helps. There is a wealth of information on these boards. Take some time to explore! Two other websites where you will find great information on writing for kids are:
https://www.underdown.org/
http://www.kidlit411.com/

Best of luck!
#2 - March 25, 2020, 12:30 PM
Freaky Funky Fish ( Running Press Kids, Spring 2021)

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Great advice from Dk above. I especially recommend looking at the website below. I also suggest reading The Book, an SCBWI publication. I believe it answers all of these questions. And check out this thread which asks and answers the very question you posed: https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?topic=88900.msg1104199#msg1104199.

There is a wealth of information on these boards. Take some time to explore! Two other websites where you will find great information on writing for kids are:
https://www.underdown.org/


Good luck! And welcome to the world of kids books.
#3 - March 25, 2020, 06:25 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

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Debbi and Dk thanks so much! This is incredibly helpful. I will make sure to check out all these resources. You guys Rock. I really appreciate the help and am so happy to have found this community. - mike
#4 - March 27, 2020, 04:36 AM

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