FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

How did you get into children’s books?

How does the picture book creation/publication process work?

Can you give me advice on [insert topic here]?

Can you look at my manuscript/portfolio and tell me what you think?

Will you help me publish my book?

How can I get my book published?

How can I become a professional children’s writer and/or illustrator?

Will you illustrate my book?

How do I find an illustrator for my book?

Will you work with us on our project? We don’t have a budget, but you’ll get great exposure …

Will you work with us on our project? We have a budget.

Do you do talks and workshops for adults?

Do you do talks and workshops for kids?

My child loves to write/illustrate/create. How can I encourage their interest?


How did you get into children’s books?

Please refer to this blog post.

How does the picture book creation/publication process work?

Please refer to this blog post.

Can you give me advice on [insert topic here]?

Yes and no … I don’t have the time to answer individual messages from everyone who sends me emails asking for advice (I get a lot of emails), so I made these FAQs instead.

Please do take the time to read through these, rather than emailing me – you’ll find the answers to your questions are here already.

Here’s the best advice for aspiring writers and illustrators that I know.

Please also read this post of tips for aspiring writers and illustrators.

Please also read this list of 6 books to help you make better picture books.

For lots more advice and info, please read the rest of these FAQs.
Also try the ‘tips’ category of my blog.

For more advice on writing and illustrating, check out the websites of Hazel Edwards, Jackie French, Michael Wagner and Shaun Tan .

For advice on publishing contracts, buy the book ‘Australian Book Contracts‘ from the Australian Society of Authors. Also, check out their model publishing agreement template; it’s free for ASA members or $11 for non-members. The ASA also offers a contract assessment service for ASA members or state writers’ centre members.

For advice on the legal and business issues related to writing, buy the book ‘Between The Lines‘ from the Australian Society of Authors.

Can you look at my manuscript/portfolio and tell me what you think?

Yes, but I charge a fee for to cover my time and expertise.
Manuscript and portfolio critiques are one hour long and involve advice and feedback on your work.
They do not involve assistance with publication.
Critiques can be either face-to-face (if you live in Perth, WA) or online via Skype.
To book in a manuscript or portfolio critique, please contact The Literature Centre. They will let you know the rates and guidelines.
Please DO NOT contact me directly about manuscripts or portfolio critiques; I will not be able to answer your email.

Will you help me publish my book?

Sorry, no. I’m a full-time author/illustrator, but I’m not an editor or a publisher.
There are plenty of resources out there to help you either self-publish or pursue traditional publishing. Please see the rest of these FAQs for the advice and info that you’re looking for, especially the next point.

How can I get my book published?

Please refer to this blog post.

How can I become a professional children’s writer and/or illustrator?

Please refer to these three blog posts:
– Tips for aspiring writer and illustrators
How to survive as an illustrator
– 6 books to help you make better picture books

I also recommend joining SCBWI, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. The opportunities they provided kickstarted my career.

Will you illustrate my book?

Sorry, no. I only work with mainstream traditional publishers, and they prefer to pick the illustrator that they think will suit the text.
I do not accept commissions to illustrate self-published books.
Please also see the next point …

How do I find an illustrator for my book?

Please refer to this blog post.

Will you work with us on our project? We don’t have a budget, but you’ll get great exposure  …

Uh, no.
As a wise writer friend once told me, you can die from exposure.
Also, my bank manager is unable to accept exposure as currency.
Also, please see my favourite comic strip about exposure.

Will you work with us on our project? We have a budget.

Let’s talk and see what we can do. Please send me an email at james(AT)jamesfoley.com.au .

Do you do talks and workshops for adults?

Yes! Usually 2 or 3 each year.
See my upcoming events page for details, or sign up to my free quarterly newsletter ‘The James Foley-o’ to hear about events via email.

Do you do talks and workshops for kids?

Yes, lots!
Please see my upcoming events page for details. You can also sign up to my free quarterly newsletter ‘The James Foley-o’ to get the latest on upcoming events sent straight to your inbox.

My child loves to write/illustrate/create. How can I encourage their interest?

Firstly – you are awesome.
Secondly – please refer to this blog post.