Jelbert 25/07/12 – first letter to a literary agent

This is me sitting at my art desk. Nothing much has changed, apart from the fact that I no longer tuck in my pyjamas. Ever since I was little, I have always wanted to make books. My mother had the good fortune to stumble upon a great publisher with her first ever letter, but things have definitely changed since then. Many publishers don’t seems to even read unsolicited manuscripts these days. It doesn’t help, though, when she asks, “Haven’t you found a publisher yet, Becky?” She asked this quite a lot and generally,  I take a deep breath and change the subject.

After a few years of early rejections, I wrote new stories and created a new style of painting – one which I really enjoy, and which actually helps me to create the story line ( I might have an idea about what’s going to happen but once I have started the illustration, I find that somethings slightly different has ended up on the page!).

The iPad is a great vehicle for children’s stories but I would dearly love to have my books published as ‘real’ paper books as well. With a view to finding a good literary agent who deals with children’s picture books, I have been trawling the web for tasty morsels of information. Eventually I stumbled on Lou Treleaven’s blog and found a great list of UK agents –

Quite a few agents accept email submissions, which is great. You have to be careful to follow their individual submission guidelines, though, for instance some agents like you to save your attachments with a particular structure to the file name. On the same blog, there is also a link on how to write a good covering letter to an agent:,_editor_or_agent/

I think the long and the short of it is to sell the idea of your book in the first few sentences, write about why they should take your submission seriously and be honest – let your personality and your passion for your work come through. But what do I know?! I have sent off my first ‘query letter’ and now I just have to wait. I am off to develop my relaxation skills, and to try to develop a thick skin…


About jellywalk

I am a professional artist who is happy to take commissions, be they portraits, paintings of baby ultrasound scans, houses, or pets... Please see my art website for contact details: I have prints available for sale from
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