Joe Midzalkowski

September 22, 2003

Post #1668 – 20030922

After over thirty years of teaching I retired, in part to write a novel that’s been kicking the back of my head since I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Marshall Islands. Then, a few weeks ago, I was suddenly inspired to write a children’s book based on a strange thing I observed while driving from my home in central Florida to the family’s cabin in the Smokeys.

I have a friend who is an excellent, though unlettered and completely amatuer, painter. I would like to contact her about illustrating this book. What is a fair split between the originator of the idea/author and the illustrator. This book would rely heavily on the illustrations.

I would appreciate your advice in this matter. I have enjoyed listening to you read your works with Scott Simon on NPR. “The Picture of Morty and Ray” sounds absolutely hilarious.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.

Daniel replies:

You taught for over thirty years--I've been an author for over thirty years. Your email is roughly equivalent to me asking you, ""I've decided to be a teacher. What advice can you give me?"" Next to impossible to convey all you need to know.

I can tell you that publishers usually prefer to pick the artist themselves--except for categories with don't appear to apply to your case. There are a great many books about how to go about getting pubished. My advice is to read five or six. And read a hundred recently published kids' books, maybe a couple hundred. Then you'll have a general idea.

Good luck, and thanks for the kind words.