Frequently asked questions

Submissions - How do I like to receive your work?

All submissions from writers and illustrators should be sent by post together with a stamped addressed envelope for return postage - essential if you require a reply of any kind. I do not consider emailed submissions. I do try to look at work on a regular basis but if a Book Fair is looming in March or April, it can take a little longer.

Submission letters are important - they should give me a flavour of who you are and what makes your writing special.

Potential authors should send a synopsis (which should give a broad brush outline of your plot) and three sample chapters of their fiction typed in double-line spacing on A4 paper with numbered pages preferably without staples or fancy binding, together with a covering letter giving relevant information (including word count of the finished manuscript: please don't contact me unless the manuscript is complete) about themselves and their plans, and details of where their work has been sent previously. I don't usually have time to consider work that's been sent out on multiple submission.

Obviously if you're submitting picture book texts, you should send the complete text: but I'd need to see more than one text.

Illustrators should send some samples of their work, directions to their website and again information about their experience and training and interests.

Because of the great volume of submissions received, I'm unable to give advice on any unsolicited manuscript unless I really believe it has potential. There are editorial consultancies listed in publications such as Children's Writers' & Artists' Yearbook for this kind of assistance.

Never, ever send your only copy of a story or illustration.

Nicola Morgan's book, Write to Be Published, provides much useful information to potential writers.

What am I looking for?

Not a silly question at all, but not easy one to answer. Perhaps if I tell you what I'm not looking for that will help: I don't represent science fiction, poetry, plays or adult books of any kind. I'd love to find a new writer of funny fiction (not an easy genre to write for), a writer of gentle romance for young teens, someone who writes wonderful picture book texts that engage today's pre-school child - and works not just for the UK market (and just because the wonderful Julia Donaldson has made such a success of rhyming texts, please don't think these are an easy option) and someone who can come up with some great ideas for series for the 8-12 middle grade fiction market.

More than anything, I'm looking for a voice that will excite, provoke, amuse and compel me to turn the page.

And an illustrator who will make me fall in love with a picture.

What not to do..

Send me tea bags/ sweets/stuffed toys instead of return postage and a carefully considered submission.

What makes me cross?

People who think children's books are an easy way to get into print.

People who haven't taken the trouble to look at what I do represent: adult horror or self-help manuscripts are never going to be of interest to me.

Parcels wrapped with so much parcel tape and so many layers of packaging that I have to make a cup of strong coffee before I feel able to attack them.

Return envelopes so old that the sticky bit doesn't work.

Handwritten letters of questionable legibility.