From Childhood Cancer to Finding an Agent

by Adam Orsborn
8th November 2021

Long story short - In Spring 2017 my 2yr old daughter gets cancer. My partner and I enrich her imagination throughout treatment to keep her spirits up.

Much of the silliness we concocted forms the basis for a picture book that I set to work on and, after 3 years, have now completed.

The book is designed to appeal to all kids, but to have extra meaning to kids in hospital (and their parents) giving them a little bit extra courage and hope.

If I have to self publish, I will. But I first want to try and get an agent, publisher, yadda, yadda.

I've never so much as set foot in this industry/community and was wondering if anyone might have any suggestions or point me in any particular directions.

Right now I've submitted my book to only one agency as I'm unsure if I should be sending the book out whole or not. Or if I should be sending out with big watermarks stamped over the pictures - for fear that someone could steal/upload my work and use the images... etc, etc. (Is this something I should be fearful of?)

Any replies will be most appreciated :)

Lydia and Nurse Floppy

Replies

Hi Adam,
Welcome to the W&A site.

Firstly, I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter and I hope she is doing much better now. What a brilliant idea to create something during such a difficult time – and if the accompanying image is anything to go by – then it looks so imaginative and wonderful.

If you would like to try and get an agent first, then I hope the following advice will be of use to you.

With a picture book submission – if you have both written and illustrated – then you can send the text and a few accompanying images. The submission process can differ for different literary agencies, although not hugely, so it is important to read the submission guidelines on websites.

For example, the David Higham literary agency requests the following:
For picture books, attach:
• The full manuscript
• A maximum of three texts
Please send your attachments as Word documents or PDFs. We will not open documents sent by a file link such as One Drive, nor zip files.
If you’d like to submit your illustrated material – such as a novelty book – in dummy form as a hard copy in the post, please email us first with a sample of one or two pages (as jpegs or PDFs). If we want to see more of your work, we will request it.

If you’re looking for literary agents to submit your work to, the Children’s Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook is a good place to start. It lists hundreds of agencies, including contact details: https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/childrens-writers--artists-yearbook-2022-…

Every literary agency has a website and you can find the individual profiles of agents so you can see who represent picture book writers and/or illustrators.

If you are submitting your work to literary agents, then you don’t need to be fearful about someone stealing your work. In the UK as long as the work is 'original', copyright will happen automatically as soon as the work is created and fixed in material form. You don’t need to register anything at this point, but do bear in mind that ideas are not protected by copyright; only the expression of those ideas as fixed in a material form are protected. (More on copyright can be found here: https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/guides/copyright-law-the-basics)

All best,
Clare
W&A Admin

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Clare
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10/11/2021

Hi Clare, thank you for your very helpful reply. (And yes, she's doing great. She just turned 7 and is getting pretty good at Karate) :)

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In reply to by Clare ADMIN

10/11/2021

Hi Adam,
You're most welcome and please do feel free to get in touch if you have any other questions :)
Excellent to hear! I hope you're not on the receiving end of too many karate chops...! :)

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In reply to by Adam Orsborn

11/11/2021