I've been reading your blog and the archives for a few months now. There are several posts where you explicitly state that one of the worst mistakes a querying writer can make is to send a manuscript at the same time to agents and editors.
However, you also recommend (and did so just as recently as 11/5/18 post ) that SCBWI is the single most valuable author association you know of. Every SCBWI conference or webinar I have attended always offers agent/editor submission opportunities for attendees. Even Big 5 publishing house editors are included, although they usually have shorter submission timelines (i.e.., editors will only accept manuscripts for 2-3 months after the conference whereas an agent will have a year deadline). So it's not like you can query an agent first and then wait and see what happens.So here's my question: Is publishing somehow different in the kidlit world where this practice of querying agents/editors at the same is more acceptable? If not, could you please comment on why we're given such opportunities, if you believe they ultimately work against us?Thanks for all you do with this blog and Query Shark. It's my go-to source for publishing infotainment.
Publishing infotainment. Honestly, I may add that to my business cards!
This is a really good question, and I'm glad you asked.
Yes, the kidlit world is different.
Just for starters, picture books often have an author and an illustrator who are not writing partners rather are paired by the editor. If you're an artist, getting your work in front of an editor is often not a question of "do you want to buy this" but "keep me in mind for a project that my art will pair well with."
And, editors at many kidlit imprints have a lot of IP work too. IP means intellectual property. It's shorthand for series that are owned by the publisher, and for whom they seek writers. Having an editor see your work can help you be considered for those opportunities.
I'm still advocating an author query agents first.
It's a strategy, not a rule.
You can query anyone you want IF you're willing to hear me scream bloody murder when I love your work and you've exhausted half the kidlit imprints by sending your work out before I got my mitts on you.
A lot of authors in kidlit don't have agents. Fewer now than in previous years, but still, more than in the adult world. SCBWI offers opportunities. YOU get to decide which ones are best for you.