It has long been conventional wisdom in the world of books for the tiniest tots that publishers preferred to find their own illustrators, and it was okay to submit a naked story. Maybe so back when that was the last aspect of the business where it wasn’t absolutely necessary to have an agent. And up until maybe five years ago, we consistently refused to do a Customized Fingerprint Report for writers of this type of book. Not enough data out there we said.
These days it’s all changed.
There’s plenty of info and plenty of agents who are taking on this segment of the market. After all, J.K. Rowling has become a billionaire. Okay, she began by writing what the kid’s biz calls a chapter book (who knew even those first books were going to attract a huge adult audience as well, and that the later ones would be YAs). Doesn’t matter. Publishing believes in fairy dust. Some of it might sift down to the baby book set. So now we do plenty of customized reports for those writing for the very young. And because I do those reports, I can tell you without question that the bar has been raised in the matter of the illustrations. What sells to publishers - and therefore to agents - is a unified vision as unique and as special as possible. If you’ve got that, and you can draw as well as write… As the gecko says, “Piece o’ cake, that is.” (And don’t all you folks writing and illustrating for kids wish you’d thought of that little green Aussie…)
And for a final word on this show and tell subject - graphic novels continue to be hot. We’ve now got an agent or two making a real specialty of same. If this is what you do, be advised.