Five frequently asked questions answered by Cate Sutherland, Children's Book Publisher at Fremantle Press.
1. What’s the first step towards becoming a children’s book author (or illustrator)?
Get your ideas down on paper. It sounds simple but it really is the first step.
2. How do I know if my manuscript is ready to be submitted?
Write; revise; revise again; give it some breathing space; revise; test it on kids; read it out loud; solicit the opinions of readers you trust (not just your partner or parent); revise; revise; revise again. Once your story is as good as you can possibly make it, it’s ready.
3. How do I submit a manuscript?
Research publishers to find the best home for your manuscript. Go to a bookshop, get online, talk to other writers. There are organisations that you may find useful such as WritingWA (www.writingwa.com), Children’s Book Council (www.cbc.org.au/), Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (www.scbwiaustralia.org), Australian Society of Authors (www.asauthors.org) and Australian Publishers Association (www.publishers.asn.au). Follow your chosen publisher’s submission guidelines; you’ll usually find them on their website.
4. Do I need to find an illustrator if I’ve written a picture book?
No, although you may like to include illustration notes in your submission if relevant.
5. How hard is it to get published?
Competition is fierce. Fremantle Press receives hundreds of children’s manuscripts every year of which we can publish only a handful. But if you have a fantastic story, beautifully written and originally told — send it in!