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Writing Books/Getting published


Hi E.W.
I'm trying to come up with an idea to make my book proposal "different/unique"; something that publishers would appreciate but seldom see from other would-be authors.  I've written a children's poetry book and I'm in the process of assembling my book proposal. Wrote it primarily for my grandson(3 y/o) and  because I love words and metaphorical descriptions. This will be my first attempt at publication. Written lots of poems but all unpublished.  I feel like my proposal is pretty extensive in regard to its content.  Although children's books don't appear to be your specific field, any advice on the following would be greatly appreciated:
1. any ideas what would "wow" a publisher, something unique that would get their attention
2. generall speaking, how much money can one expect in advance, if any, providing a contract is signed? $2,000-$3,000 range?
3. how many "copies sold" is considered  by a publisher to be a successful book? I presume it depends on the type of book but is 10,000 copies reasonable?
4. is it more difficult to get published if I don't have an agent and would you recommend addressing my proposal simply to "Editor" or should I call the publishers to determine who specifically to send my proposal to?
5. i can't tell from the writer's guidelines I've read if I should find someone who can do the drawings and submit them with my verse or if the publisher will provide an artist. Do you know?
6. if I find an artist, should he/she receive half of any advance payments and royalties, or do I pay them a one-time fee?
7. interesting comment in your profile about how you can make more money publishing a book from a web site than from traditional publishing. i didn't know that. Can you expound and do you have any "good" resources on the 'Net you can point me to?
Thanks so much for you help, or if you aren't sure, if you can point me in another direction I would appreciate it.

1.  Publishers don't "wow" very easily.  Let your material speak for itself.

2.  Advances are rare for new authors and, where given, they're usually "against royalties."  You'd thus be well advised to focus on the royalty rate rather than an advance.

3.  I don't know of any quantitative definitions of success.

4.  Agents are commonly used in adult fiction and by established authors.  I've no experience with juvenile material.  You might consult Writers' Digest's annual market publication on this point.  I'd be inclined to try going direct to publishers at the outset.  You always can find an agent if that doesn't work.

5.  A few illustrations to show the publisher what you have in mind probably would be helpful but, again, I've no experince with juvenile material.  

6.  Arrangements with an artist presumably are negotiable if you're going to buy the artwork and own the project in its' entirety.  Personally, I'd try to find an artist willing to speculate on the project, i.e., provide samples at no cost to you in hopes the publisher would like his/her work enough to want him/her to do the remainder.

7.  When you self-publish, you set the price and, in essence, determine the royalty rate, which often runs to 50 percent vs. the 5 to 10 percent offered by commercial publishers.  AuthorHouse (formerly 1stBooks) ( might be a good starting point but I don't know if they handle juvenile material.

Good luck.  

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E.W. Brody


How to get published. I`ve written eight books, edited a ninth, and have published more articles in business and professional journals than I care to remember. I`m in process of working with an agent at the moment on several non-academic books


Three university degrees, eight published books, more periodical and newspaper articles than I can remember. And I've two more books in development.

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