How Do We Choose Our Projects?By The editors of LEE & LOW BOOKS
"How do you decide which projects to publish?" This is the question writers ask of editors everywhere, and LEE & LOW is no exception. We receive hundreds of submissions each month, and we read every single one that falls within the parameters of our guidelines for multicultural literature.
The easiest way to address the question of how we choose our projects is to ask more questions. Many authors have found that exploring these questions can be a useful starting point when it comes to deciding whether a story is ready to submit to us:
- What is the general appeal of this story (humor, emotion, history, etc.)?
- What makes this story both multicultural and universal?
- Does it have a strong plot with a beginning, middle, and end?
- Are the characters developed enough to come alive for young readers?
- Is the ending satisfying? That is, will readers feel a sense of redemption, closure, etc.
- Are the cultural references authentic and well-researched?
- What, if any, other picture books exist that may be similar to this story? What sets this story apart from the others?
- Can this story inspire an illustrator to produce the 18-24 paintings needed for a 32-page picture book?
Since our launch in the spring of 1993, we've published over 70 first-time authors and illustrators, most of whom we were introduced to "over the transom"– that is, through their unsolicited submissions of manuscripts and/or art samples. We are one of the few children's book publishers still willing to encourage and nurture new talent.
The best advice we can give to prospective writers and illustrators is to go to your local bookstore and get to know its children's section. Get to know which publishers are producing the books you admire. If you're planning to submit work to LEE & LOW, get to know our books.
*Editor's note: Please do not submit manuscripts through email attachments. Print illustration samples or URLs to illustration websites are fine. Please make sure to read our writing guidelines before submitting any work.