Does book type decide our publishing path?

I guess I’ve discussed reasons for self publishing, and while I only completed one Middle Grade book that is available in ebook, I plan on doing more. The traditional publish route is everyone’s ultimate goal, yes, but there’s one major reason why I think I shouldn’t bother querying an agent – at least not for some of my work.

I already have illustrations for my MG books. In fact, the illustrations inspire some of the stories.

I asked on #mglitchat last night (an extremely nice group of people who didn’t mind that I crashed their discussion) if publishers ever take MG manuscripts with illustrations. I’ve heard over and over, mainly from Writer’s Market, to not even consider submitting illustrations along a manuscript. They like to pick the illustrator.

Well, I have an illustrator already: my husband.

The advice I was given was that Steve should have an online portfolio to show his credentials. If a publisher asks for that, I think it’s kind of silly. If we can potentially sell a breakout novel, why can’t we have awesome illustrations of our choosing?

I understand the artist may not be up to par, but Steve is a professional graphic artist. He made the Pottermore logo. He’s worked on video games and graphic art for years now. If I submit my book with his illustrations, they’re obviously good. They would be able to see that before considering his credentials.

Anyway, this is why I just don’t think I’ll bother querying some of my MG work. I know how I want it to look. I write it with the illustrations in my head, so it seems a bit lame that I have to not only try to please a publisher with my writing, but also let them make the decisions about any cover art or illustrations used.

I like working as a team on some of my writing projects. I have YA work that wouldn’t need illustrations, so I could query that. As far as the MG work I’m doing, I’ll keep that for my own publishing house.

Also, I read a statistic that said 1% of any genre book has a chance of being sold in a brick and mortar bookshop. [How Many Novelists are at Work in America?]

Here are some links discussing not submitting illustrations with a manuscript:

“Editors always choose illustrators; writers seldom have any input in that decision.” –

“It’s great to see an author who has really thought about the marketing of their work, or potential illustrations, but that is the work a publisher will do after taking it on – so it’s not necessary at this stage.” –

“The publisher chooses the illustrator. In fact, you cut your chances of selling in half, if you try to team up with an illustrator and submit a package.” –

So, no. Submitting with illustrations is not what publishers and agents are looking for, so I won’t submit them.

In other news: expect an update later this year for the release of my new Middle Grade novel!


About Suzanne Schultz Pick

Married to Steve. Mother of Jack. Librarian IT Assistant. Writer, teacher, blogger, podcaster, technological princess.
This entry was posted in All About Me, Books, Publishing, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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