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Picture Book Query Advice

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The pandemic opened up space on my assignment calendar that allowed me to FINALLY complete two picture book manuscripts. However, I’m now struggling on where and how to send them off. Not to mention having a bad case of “query writer’s block.”

I’m a very experienced freelance illustrator with plenty of illustration credits (picture books, magazines, etc., and etc.) and awards in my portfolio, but I really stink at selling myself and my work. It’s always been a challenge, but it’s getting harder as I age. Any helpful advice would be appreciated.

Mark A. Hicks
www.MARKiX.net
www.Whimsicalillustrator.com
#1 - September 02, 2020, 09:40 AM
« Last Edit: September 02, 2020, 10:56 AM by mark-hicks »
Mark A. Hicks

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Hi Mark.

So it's the bio bit you're asking for advice on? And these two books are the first written (and illustrated) by you?

Or are you looking for any general query advice?

Dave
#2 - September 02, 2020, 10:52 AM

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I guess what I'm asking is how to best start a query. Do I lead off with a teaser about the story or do I just introduce myself?  And, is there a difference in how to write a query for an agent as opposed to a publisher?

Sorry, I’m a little out of practice. I’ve gotten used to being assigned work and have not sent a query in quite a while. And nearly all of my editorial contacts have recently moved on or are no longer in publishing so I’m basically back to “cold calling.”

#3 - September 02, 2020, 11:31 AM
Mark A. Hicks

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General advice for querying is "The Hook, The Book, and The Cook."

So,  after a general "Hi there, I read that you like books that so and so" or whatever is bringing you to query that specific editor or agent, you hook them with the pitch of the book, you tell them how many words it is, where it fits on the bookshelf, etc., then a bit about you.

Here is a blog post that talks about query letters that has the query letter of a successful one pasted near the bottom:
http://carissamina.blogspot.com/2015/03/first-time-picture-book-author-cover.html

I hope this helps!
#4 - September 02, 2020, 12:08 PM
Freaky Funky Fish ( Running Press Kids, Spring 2021)
Tell Someone (Albert Whitman, Fall 2021)

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Thanks! Really appreciate the info and the link!
#5 - September 02, 2020, 12:47 PM
Mark A. Hicks

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General advice for querying is "The Hook, The Book, and The Cook."

I love this!
#6 - September 02, 2020, 04:04 PM
Odd Bods: The World's Unusual Animals - Millbrook Press 2021
Coming up: CSIRO Publications, Australia

www.juliemurphybooks.com

Reader, Writer, Teacher, Wife & Mother
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General advice for querying is "The Hook, The Book, and The Cook."

I love this too.

Mark, I wrote an article about querying (this is for a magazine but the general principles apply): https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com/2016/09/query-letters-personal-journey.html

Good luck!

#7 - September 02, 2020, 04:43 PM
Little Thief! Max & Midnight, Bound, Ten Easter Eggs & 100+ bks/mags
https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com https://bodachbooks.blogspot.com

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It's a good idea to get you query critiqued as you would with your manuscripts. Some agents prefer the book section before the hook section so read interviews, etc.  to see if there is a preference before querying. So here are the four paragraphs with parts of one and two possibly switching places.

Reason for this querying agent with this book (title, genre, age category, word count).

Brief plot synopsis that leaves them wanting more. (Include no more than a third of the plot unless someone specifies wanting to know the end.)

Bio.

Thank you.
#8 - September 02, 2020, 07:00 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
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