Frequently Asked Questions
How did you get into children’s books?
How does the book creation/publication process work?
How do you get your ideas?
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.
And here’s 10 tips for budding graphic novelists.
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 . And if you’re an absolute beginner wanting to make books for kids, check out this awesome post by Laura Backes.
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.
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 below.
How can I get my book published?
How can I become a professional children’s writer and/or illustrator?
have a read of these three blog posts:
– Tips for aspiring writers and illustrators
– How to survive as an illustrator
– 6 books to help you make better picture books
– 10 tips for budding graphic novelists
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?
Will you work with us on our project? We don’t have a budget, but you’ll get great exposure …
Um, generally no. Sorry.
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! Send me an email at james(AT)jamesfoley.com.au .
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?
Firstly – you are awesome.
Secondly – have a read of this blog post.