What to write in query letter sent to illustration agency?



  • I am in the process of query agents, some are literary agency, so I basically write synopsis of my PB in the mail, plus a short intro of myself.

    But what to write in query letters for illustration agency? Is it mainly my bio? Does anyone know where can I find information, or do you have experience applying for illustration agency? Thanks much!


  • SVS OG

    @idid based on my experience, here’s what I wrote:

    1. Firstly, I wrote who I am, what I do, where I live, and my purpose for writing, looking for representation.

    2. Include a link to your portfolio right off the bat. Most agents prefer a link for ease of access rather than attachments. Make sure your link is easy to spot. Sometimes agents won’t even read your letter and just go straight to your portfolio. Make sure your portfolio contains only your best work.

    3. Mention any art project you’ve done previously. If you made a book or some other illustration work, include them

    4. I then wrote my background in art which for me is only SVS. You can include any relevant art education/training that you have. It will add credibility to your work.

    5. I then included what type of work I prefer (e.i. Picture books, editorial, middle grade etc.) you can describe your process but I don’t find this a must have.

    6. Lastly, enumerate what unique thing you’ll be bringing to the table. For me I mentioned that I can provide a unique in sight into the Filipino culture.

    I hope this was helpful



  • @idid do everything @Nyrryl-Cadiz said 🙂



  • @Nyrryl-Cadiz I can't upvote your post a bunch of times, so i'll say thank you instead. Lots of good stuff to think about even for those of us not writing letters.


  • SVS OG



  • I would send in a dummy book in addition to a synopsis for querying literary agency if I want to market myself as an author/illustrator. I think spending time on packaging your picturebook idea is probably the most important thing to find a literary agency. Here is my understanding of what a literary agency look for:

    1. Does the applicant has an interesting story, and is the story the kind that the agent is also interested in representing? (look at the dummy book).
    2. Can I trust the applicant to complete a project? (looking at the portfolio, and past experience).
    3. Does the applicant have the potential to make more than One interesting story? (this may be the reason that it will take some back and forth for an agent to decide. Usually, an agent is looking for a partnership for many years to come, not just selling one book for you).

    I spent some time researching this topic, and I would love to hear what others think. Does my understanding make any sense?



  • I agree with everyone's suggestions. Just make sure you read the agency's/agent's submission instructions--whether they be a literary agent or art rep. Every agent is slightly different in what they want and how they want it. Some literary agents want just a synopsis but most will ask for the entire pb manuscript. Some art reps only want a link to your work, others will want attachments. Once you know how they want you to submit you can tweak your query to fit their requirements. If you don't follow their instructions, they will not even look at your work. Good luck!



  • @Nyrryl-Cadiz said in What to write in query letter sent to illustration agency?:

    Firstly, I wrote who I am, what I do, where I live, and my purpose for writing, looking for representation.

    Include a link to your portfolio right off the bat. Most agents prefer a link for ease of access rather than attachments. Make sure your link is easy to spot. Sometimes agents won’t even read your letter and just go straight to your portfolio. Make sure your portfolio contains only your best work.

    Mention any art project you’ve done previously. If you made a book or some other illustration work, include them

    I then wrote my background in art which for me is only SVS. You can include any relevant art education/training that you have. It will add credibility to your work.

    I then included what type of work I prefer (e.i. Picture books, editorial, middle grade etc.) you can describe your process but I don’t find this a must have.

    Lastly, enumerate what unique thing you’ll be bringing to the table. For me I mentioned that I can provide a unique in sight into the Filipino culture.

    I hope this was helpful

    Wow, that is so helpful, lots of things I never thought of, such as include what I can bring to the table. Thank you @Nyrryl-Cadiz !



  • @xin-li said in What to write in query letter sent to illustration agency?:

    I would send in a dummy book in addition to a synopsis for querying literary agency if I want to market myself as an author/illustrator. I think spending time on packaging your picturebook idea is probably the most important thing to find a literary agency. Here is my understanding of what a literary agency look for:

    Does the applicant has an interesting story, and is the story the kind that the agent is also interested in representing? (look at the dummy book).
    Can I trust the applicant to complete a project? (looking at the portfolio, and past experience).
    Does the applicant have the potential to make more than One interesting story? (this may be the reason that it will take some back and forth for an agent to decide. Usually, an agent is looking for a partnership for many years to come, not just selling one book for you).

    I spent some time researching this topic, and I would love to hear what others think. Does my understanding make any sense?

    Thank you @xin-li ! Your suggestions definitely make sense.



  • @Joy-Heyer Thank you! Will absolutely check out webpages and instructions of each agent! Their requirements can be really different, all over the place.

    I am also thinking putting my query letter here for critique, once it is done. Thank you guys so much!


  • SVS OG

    @Nyrryl-Cadiz this is gold, thank you so much!



  • Hey guys, I have a couple of questions to add to this if anyone has any insights.

    What do you guys think qualifies as relevant education in this case? For example, I didn't study illustration but Digital Arts - still worth mentioning or is education really not that relevant unless it fits very specifically?

    Do you guys send loose jpegs as attachments to show your work, as some agencies request, or do you have a PDF portfolio for these occasions? How do you name your Jpegs attachments? It's probably overthinking, but I feel silly or lazy no matter what I name them.

    I'm also wondering how much one should try to refer to the specific agency. For normal job applications, I'd find it easier to research the company a little, but I find most illustration agencies have versatile and impressive rosters and have done plenty of awesome work.

    To contribute, my current formula is this:

    1. Dear Illustration Agency
    2. UK based Illustrator looking to work in Children's Books
    3. Previous experience as a mobile games illustrator
    4. Here's my portfolio
    5. Thanks for taking the time to review my work
    6. Kind regards.

    Feels a little subpar perhaps but I couldn't help but feel like anything else might just not be interesting at this stage 😅 Maybe I'll add in that I'm German and bi-lingual or something.



  • @Nathalie-Kranich I don't think it could hurt to include that you have a degree in digital arts, but to be honest I don't think it's necessary to include if you have a degree when querying agents as your portfolio will speak for itself. I do include that I have a degree in the about section of my website though.
    I research what each agent wants, as some state '10 JPEGS' and some might state less than that. If they don't state what they want on their submissions page, I pick a few of my best pieces to send as JPEGs and then include my website in the email body, and say that I also have PDFs of my dummy books available.
    I don't think it's necessary to hype up the agency loads in your email, I always find this comes across a bit cheesy! If you have a genuine reason why you like that agency then you can say, but as long as it doesn't look like you've copy pasted the same generic email to 50 other agencies then I think you're good. Your current formula looks good to me. At the end of the day it really just comes down to the portfolio!


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