Upon the death of my mom last summer, I began to help my father get organized and discovered an 18-typed-page children's book written by my grandmother, probably 50 years ago. It was never published. Some of the language has an old-fashioned feeling to it, but my cousin for whom it was originally written and I think it has potential. The story suggests some unusually good visuals - animation, in fact - though I have learned I should not bother with illustration before submission for publication.That is correct.
Do you have any thoughts about the process or sequence of events if a cartoon series is actually a better use of the text? Do people usually start in the print medium? Are there any special considerations in publication of a work whose author is deceased?I know nothing about the movie/TV industries. But I do know that most studios don't take submissions from unagented writers, and even if they did they wouldn't take a book manuscript. Maybe my readers have some tips.
First, I would recommend you go ahead and rewrite that manuscript, if only for the experience. You've already noticed some issues with it; I promise an editor will notice more.
The problem with a manuscript whose author has passed away is that the editor cannot work with the author to fix the manuscript. So that leaves you to work with. You should be willing to change the manuscript (perhaps a lot) in order to make it market-ready. If you are unwilling to change anything about that manuscript, I would bet the chances of you getting it published are very slim.
Second, take my advice and do not mention in the cover letter that your mom is deceased. Publishers get tons of mail referencing sick people, handicapped people, people going through a messy divorce, people being channeled from the other side, and people grieving for their 127th china doll "Miss Calliope" who was recently decapitated by their incontinent Chihuahua. None of this has anything to do with publishing. It will be seen as a play for sympathy, and even if it works, our sincere sympathy has nothing to do with publishing.