Dear Editor

How Many Picture Book Manuscripts Should I Have Ready When Pitching Agents?

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Dear Editor…

I have an opportunity to pitch my picture book about a funny animal to a group of agents and publishers. If any of them like it, they’ll request to read my manuscript. I’m prepping two other manuscripts to have at the ready if an agent is interested in me. I’m going to write a second story about that funny animal because it’s a planned series, along with one of my other stories to have three altogether. Is three a good number?

Sincerely,
Seizing the Moment

Dear Seizing the Moment…

You’re smart to strategize this opportunity. Three is a great number. But I recommend you don’t pitch a second story featuring the same character. Agents know that every writer would happily expand to companion books or a series. The goal at this moment is to show agents you’ve got a wide storytelling range, and you do that by pitching entirely separate projects. Agents are interested in writers as long-term project producers. Should your funny animal book not sell well enough to justify a series/companion book program (I hope it will, of course!), they’ll want different stories and characters to sell to publishers. It’s enough that you have the storylines for companion books at the ready if the agents ask to know more. For this opportunity, pitch your whole storyteller-self first.

Happy writing!
The Editor

The Editor, Deborah Halverson, has been editing books for over 25 years and specializes in Middle Grade/Young Adult fiction and nonfiction, New Adult fiction, and picture books. For her editorial guidance in making your manuscript ready for submission to agents and publishers or for self-publishing, click Editorial services.

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