Saturday, February 5, 2011

Quick Answers: Poetry vs Picture Book, Chapter Book vs Novel

Thanks for sharing all your comments and tips with us. I have just begun the process of trying to find an agent to represent my work - picture books written in rhyme. I have heard that some agents and editors will not even manuscripts for rhyming picture books, perhaps partly because they are overdone and partly because often they are not done well. I assume all I can do as an aspiring writer is to send my manuscripts to those who don't include "rhyming picture books" in their lists of what they are NOT looking for. But what if they specify that they aren't looking for "Poetry"? This is what I need clarified for me. Does "Poetry" mean an actual book of poems (Whitman, Silverstein, etc.) or does my rhyming picture book fall into this category as well?  
Well, it shouldn't mean that.  Probably in some cases it does actually mean that, but I think you have to take them at their word and submit it as a picture book. 
I was wondering if the query letter is any different for a chapter book vs. a regular novel. I know that with picture books, you are supposed to include the complete text of your entire manuscript in your query, but would you do that for a chapter book that is around 7,500 words (if you were intending it to have a lot of pictures)? Or would I follow regular query standards for this type of chapter book?
I haven't seen this question directly addressed on any industry blogs, perhaps because there really is no difference so people don't make mention of it. I appreciate everything you do with your blog and I hope everything is going well at your agency.
A.  I am not an agent.  See the "editorial" at the top?
B. Do not include the complete text of your picture book manuscript unless that's what the publisher's/agent's submission guidelines ask for.  There are no industry-wide rules.  Wishfully thinking that there are is just going to get you into trouble.

C. A chapter book is a short novel for short people.  Treat it like that.

8 comments:

Poetry of the Day said...

i like where you went with this


- <3 Famous

Poetry about life

christine tripp said...

>C. A chapter book is a short novel for short people.  Treat it like that.<

Yes. I would assume so because no matter how many illustrations the author thinks will be included in the book, the usual is only one (perhaps 2) per chapter. That's not really a LOT of pictures. The illustration for chapters does not make up 50% of the book so I would think submission would be the same as with anything other then a PB. Most picture book submissions ask for the complete text but that's because a PB text can fit on often one page.

Children's books about nature said...

I would love to read a book that a novel. It is interesting to read both but the book is my favorite. A novel is such short, while a book will give you the detailed story. I am happy to have read this. Thanks for the awesome post!

Anonymous said...

I feel there's no real point in querying a picture book MS, at least in cases where your MS is short enough that you could easily print it on the back of the letter. As an editor, regardless of what the guidelines say, I don't ever really want to have to write back to an author just to request the full; it's doubling the amount of letter-writing I need to do.

Of course you probably shouldn't break the rules; but then I don't know of many houses that ask people to query PBs.

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