Once again last week I was approached by someone who has written "the best picture book ever". Seems to happen with shocking frequency. This person was sure that they have a Caldecott winner on their hands if not at least an Amazon bestseller. If only they could get me to do some really cool illustrations, we'd be riding the cash wagon all the way to the bank. Even though it's the first book that they have ever attempted to write and that admittedly, the story isn't really finished yet and that they still need to work out the ending and... you get the picture.
The problem with this scenario is that most folks have no idea how the publishing industry works. They have no clue that 99 times out of 100, the publisher buys the manuscript from the author and then contracts with an illustrator. They have no idea that once sold, the author has very little input into what the illustrations end up looking like. They don't understand that a large portion of publishers will not accept non-agented submissions. That even agents accept only a tiny portion of all the manuscripts they see. At this point I usually dash their dreams of stardom and unbelievable wealth by suggesting that they do some homework and maybe join a writers group or go to a writing workshop. In short, Publishing is a tough game to play and the better you know the game, the better your odds of scoring. I am part of a writing group that is populated with many authors who are having great success currently in the YA fiction market and it's a treat to eavesdrop on the conversation threads. Enjoy this little instructive cartoon about the misconceptions of what it takes to be a writer. I laughed so hard I about fell out of my chair!
Thanks to Rock Canyon Writer's own Jennifer Nielsen for the video link