How to Query a Picture Book

Sending a query for a picture book follows the same guidelines as any other type of manuscript, and you can read the rest of my querying blog posts here. But with picture books, there are a few extra things to keep in mind.

Include a pitch. Just because a picture book is short does not mean you shouldn’t include a pitch. Many query letters for picture books are missing this vital component. You need to explain what the book is about. And because your word count is short, keep your pitch short too. You should be able to say everything you need to about the plot in three to five sentences. 

Link to sample art or an online portfolio. This only applies if you’re an author/illustrator (if you’re only querying the text of a picture book, don’t worry about the illustrations at all—don’t hire your own illustrator). For author/illustrators, agents need to see your art. Most agencies restrict attachments in query letters, so linking to sample art or an online portfolio is your best bet. 

Know where your picture book belongs in the market. There are a lot of picture books out there, and there are many more picture book writers trying to break into the market. Including smart, business-savvy details in your query letter will help: Is your picture book character-driven? Is it a stand-alone or does it have series potential? What age range is the story for? What are some comp titles? Little tidbits like this show that you’ve done your research and understand the publishing world. 

Picture books are super difficult to write. They’re also one of the most common projects sent out to agents. Your query needs to stand out and contain all the necessary information for an agent to want to read the picture book manuscript.