how to

Many people ask, how did you get your children's book published?
Again, I don't know if this is the best way to go about it, but this is what I did.

I went through my favorite books, bookstores and libraries and found books I liked that were similar in style or format to what I was looking to create (in my case, hardcover picture books with art and stories I liked). I wrote down the names of the books' publishers. I might have made a list of 20. Then I looked them up in the latest edition of Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market (CW&IM), and made sure that they:

a) didn't require agents
b) would accept unsolicited manuscripts (many would for picture books since they are so quick to read)
c) were still planning on publishing the kind of thing I was creating.

The book gave me the addresses, contact names and their submission requirements. I really can't say enough about how useful CW&IM is. Now my list was around 15.
Then I made a picture book dummy (rough art and the words together in a rough book form). Making this hand made prototype book took longer than I expected but now there are websites that will do it for you. I mailed out the dummy in a padded envelopes to the first name on my list, with a pre-stamped return envelope. I included a cover letter, a resume, the manuscript in written form, and anything else their submission guidelines required.

Four to eight weeks later, the rejection letter came. I repaired the dummy and mailed it out to the next name on the list. Sometimes there would be no response so I had to make a new dummy. All replies I did receive were rejections. I did this for over a year. All rejected or not returned.

I thought maybe I should get an agent. I looked in the latest CW&IM (I have several copies at this point) and looked at agent websites and started submitting the dummy packages to agents now. I sent to six or seven agents and they each rejected the book.

By now I started considering a new project and I got an email out of the blue from an editor who was at the top of my first list of 15. She said she was slogging through the submission pile of an editor who left her firm and found my dummy, fell in love with it and wanted to know if it was still available after all this time.

The photos above show a dummy for Love That Puppy! with an earlier title.