Author Annie Sullivan has found success with traditional publishing for her young adult novels, but the road to getting a children's picture book picked up by a traditional publisher has been a little more challenging. She's pitched a few children's books over the years, but has discovered that literary agents and traditional publishers look very closely at what types of children's books are selling in the market. They tend to shy away from manuscripts that aren't marketable at the moment. Sullivan did ultimately land a publishing deal for her book Ghouldilocks and The Three Ghosts, and while the query and pitch process were similar to her previous books, the writing and editing process were quite different. Every word counts, she says when going from writing 80K - 90K words down to just a few hundred. An additional challenge she encountered was making sure the text complements the illustrations, which don't exist yet! Traditional publishers will assign an illustrator once they've decided to pick up a book. The types of children's books that she sees doing well in the marketplace include topics and themes around animals, relationships, and positivity. If you aspire to write a children's picture book, Sullivan recommends you start by writing what is real to you, and then determine how you can different your book from what's out there.
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