If you're an educator, librarian or bookseller interested in my visits (virtual or in-person), please fill out this form instead: https://inkygirl.typeform.com/to/SjevbK

I've compiled a list of frequently asked questions at http://debbieohi.com/debbie-faq/

If you don't find what you need in my FAQ above,
please click the button below:
Contact Debbie
What's your name? *

I have your email address as {{answer_27398892}} Is that correct?

What is your Twitter id, if you have one?

(if you don't, just hit ENTER)
What's the main topic of your message?

Topic: I'd like to work with you or hire you or use your art.

Thank you, I'm flattered!

Which of the following best describes your interest?

Topic: I'm an author and would love to have you illustrate my book.

Again, thank you!

If you are a new author: I do not commit to book projects that do not already have a contract. Also, be aware that the publisher usually selects the illustrator. Here is a great article by Harold Underdown on the topic: http://underdown.org/picture-books-illustrations.htm.

If you are self-publishing your book: Sorry, I must decline. I'm sure your story is wonderful, but I currently only work with established publishers. There are freelance illustrators who do work with indie authors, I'm sure. You can find useful advice here: http://www.hireanillustrator.com/i/blog/1033/hiring-a-childrens-book-illustrator/

If you are an established author who has some say over illustrator choice, please do let your editor know about your preference. They can contact my agent, Ginger Knowlton: http://www.curtisbrown.com/agents/ginger-knowlton-executive-vice-president/ I love my agent! She helps me keep track of my projects and schedules.

I wish you the best of luck, and thank you again for the support of my work!

Topic: I need advice. Will you give me feedback or point me in the right direction?

Please note that these days I lack the time to offer individual career advice and critiques, sorry. I used to try to help every person that asked, but found that I was spending more and more time answering email, less and less time on my own work. I also found that in most cases, I ended up doing online research in order to answer the question...online research that the person could have done themselves.

Before posting your question, pleasepleaseplease do check my FAQ (http://debbieohi.com/debbie-faq/) to make sure your question isn't already answered there. Thanks!

Nice to hear from you. What would you like to say?

Yay, I love educators, librarians and booksellers! What is the main topic of your message?

Thank you for inquiring about my virtual visits, {{answer_27398888}}! You can find out more about my Skypevisits and Google Hangouts at my Virtual Visits page: http://debbieohi.com/virtualvisits

I currently offer a limited number of free 15-minute virtual visits per year, with preference given to those schools who have not had a free visit in the previous year. Students are expected to already be familiar with at least one of my books BEFORE the visit.

My regular virtual visits include a wide variety of formats and topics that can be customized to any age level. For my fees, see: http://debbieohi.com/honorariums/

What is your current title? (Teacher, Teacher-Librarian, etc.)

What's the name of your school, library or other venue?

What is your Skype user handle (I will be sending you a contact request) or Google Hangout email address?

What is your timezone or geographical location?

What age level/grade?

What's the estimated group size? (minimum group size: 10)

Which of the following best describes your main interest for the virtual visit?

If you're mainly interested in a FREE visit: Have you or someone else at your school already had a free Skypevisit from me in the past 12 months?

Which book(s) did your class read? (or that you plan to have your class read before my visit)

You can find a list of my books here:

If there's any other info you think I should know, feel free to tell me below.

(if not, just hit ENTER)
Post your comment below:

Thanks for your interest in a visit/appearance!

I am available for a limited number of in-person visits, but transportation (I don't drive) and a busy work schedule through 2017 makes this more of a challenge.

What kind of in-person appearance were you proposing?

Website URL, if available (if not, just hit ENTER)

When is the event? (press ENTER to skip this question)

Where would the event take place? (press ENTER to skip this question)

Any other information I should know?

Topic: I'd like to help promote you and your work.

Thank you! I'd love to know more...

Again, thank you! I'd appreciate knowing more, especially your deadline.

Thanks for the opportunity, but I must decline at this time.

Topic: I'm seeking permission to use some of your art.

If you are interested in using one of my writer-focused comics for a single non-commercial blog post or in your educational slideshow or workshop, chances are good that you can just skip this form. Please see my Comic Use Policy for conditions: http://inkygirl.com/comic-use-policy/

Please note that I rarely grant permission for any of my images to be used as user icons or logos or permanent features in a website unless I created them specifically for you.

If you'd still like to request permission, could you please give the URL of the website or publication where you plan to use my image?

(hit ENTER to skip to next question)
What is the exact URL or URLs of the image(s) you are inquiring about? *

This is IMPORTANT. I have created hundreds of images and the easier it is for me to find the image, the more quickly I will be able to get back to you. If it's too hard for me to figure out which image you're talking about, I will have to decline, sorry.

If you are listing more than one URL, please separate them by a comma and/or a space.
How do you plan to use the image?

Depending on intended circulation and venue, I may ask my agency to contact you re: licensing fees.

Thanks for your interest in my work, but at present I am not licensing my images or characters for use as a permanent part of websites, user icons or logos.

Thanks for the info. If you're only planning to use my image in the occasional blog post, use a few in your Powerpoint presentation or educational workshop AND you include attribution, feel free to go ahead without getting explicit permission from me. 

If you're still not sure, feel free to give more info below:

What is the estimated circulation of your intended audience?

What kind of work were you considering for me?

I'm flattered! Be warned, however, that my book project schedule is such that I very rarely take on freelance illustration projects anymore.

Some people think that because I post casual doodles so frequently that I can easily "whip off a quick drawing" in just a few minutes. Doodling freeform for myself is play. Doodling for other people ALWAYS takes more effort and thought.

However, timing sometimes works out so if you're still interested, post details below (please include info like your deadline, payment etc.):

Topic: I have a book, project, event, service or resource of interest to your community.

Great! Be aware that the focus of my blog (http://inkygirl.com) is on reading, writing and illustrating CHILDREN'S books. I am not interested in general writing resources or adult books.

What is the main topic of your comment?

Thanks, but I will have to pass.

I'm sure your info or event or service is useful to many people and I may have posted about something similar in Inkygirl.com at one point, but the focus of my blog has changed over the years.

I am also making a point of spending less time blogging and more time making new books this year.

Which of the following best describes your book?

Thanks for the info, but I must regretfully decline. As I said, I don't have as much time to review books these days because of my own work, and my To-Read pile currently consists of several massive To-Read piles.

I promise to change this page's info if my situation ever changes. Until then, please do not put me on your mailing list (especially if you are Smith Publicity; I've been having so much trouble getting off their lists). Thank you for understanding!

Thanks for the offer to take a look at your book! My sweet spot is picture books and middle grade, especially science fiction, horror and magic realism. However, my reading time is short these days and my To-Read pile is massive. Please post a URL below that has summary info about your book (make sure the info includes publisher info & your publication date) and if I'm interested, I will contact you within 1-2 weeks. If you don't hear back within that timeframe, you can assume that I had to regretfully decline.

Please do NOT put me on your mailing list, thanks.

Ok, I'm intrigued. Please tell me more.

Post your info below.

Topic: I need advice. Will you give me feedback or point me in the right direction?

Before posting your question, pleasepleaseplease do check my FAQ (http://debbieohi.com/debbie-faq/) to make sure your question isn't already answered there. Thanks!

Before posting your question, pleasepleaseplease do check my FAQ (http://debbieohi.com/debbie-faq/) to make sure your question isn't already answered there. Thanks!

Q. Any advice on how to get an agent? How did YOU get your agent?*
I've been asked more and more frequently about agents, eg. "I just finished my middle grade/picture book/YA novel and am hoping to find an agent. Any advice?" If you're hoping to get your book published by one of the larger publishing houses in the U.S., having an agent will greatly increase your chances of getting your mss in the door. 

My agent is Ginger Knowlton, an agent at Curtis Brown Ltd. I adore her.

How I got my agent:

Years ago, children's book author Lee Wardlaw generously agreed to look at my manuscript as a (BIG!) favour to my father-in-law. She gave me some advice on how to improve it and after I revised it, she passed it on to her agent. Ginger accepted me as a client.

Although Ginger is still open to snailmail submissions, she very rarely accepts new clients. Please do NOT ask me for a referral to my agent if: (1) We don't really know each other in person and especially if (2) I've never read your unpublished work (in the latter case, please read this post before asking me to critique your work).

In Aug/2015, I asked children's/YA writers and illustrators with agents to answer a survey about how they met their agents and what resources they found most useful. Here's what they said: http://inkygirl.com/inkygirl-main/2015/8/14/survey-results-how-did-you-find-your-agent-what-resources-di.html


Do NOT sign up with an agent before doing your research*. Having the wrong agent can be worse for your career than having no agent at all.

Have realistic expectations. Getting an agent may enable your manuscript to reach more editors, but your manuscript may still not find a home. My agent and I sent out two of my middle grade manuscripts over the years and although I got very close sometimes (editor liked it but it got rejected by sales/marketing), we ended up pulling both from circulation.

Find out how an agent can help you before you sign with them. Are they respected in the industry? Do they have a reputation for offering the right manuscript to the right editor because they know what the editor likes? Do they already have a lot of contacts in the industry, or are they just starting out themselves? Do they work on their own or with an agency that might have extra resources (like a foreign rights department)?

Are they a good communicator? Do they respond to emails in a timely manner? Would you feel comfortable reaching out to them if you have a question? I try to be respectful of my agent's time since I know she has many other clients (I don't bug her with minor stuff) but I also know that when I do ask her a question, she responds quickly and honestly. One way to find out more about an agent's communication style is to talk to one or more of their current clients. This is yet another reason to become an active member of a kidlit/YA community; approaching someone who doesn't know you with this kind of question is more likely to get a generic or wary answer.

Do you need an editorial agent? Some agents will work with you on helping to improve your manuscript before they send it out. Not all agents do (mine doesn't). This may or may not be something you want, but you should decide this before you start approaching agents.

Attend children/YA author and illustrator conferences where you can meet agents like SCBWI events, both annual and regional. Many agents who attend these events are actively looking for new clients. Look for any opportunities which will let you meet agents face-to-face. In Canada, check out CANSCAIP events like Packaging Your Imagination. 


Find agents online (there are many). Several of them have their own blogs, and this can be a good way to find out what kind of books they like and get a peek into how they work. I also strongly recommend that you join Twitter; I've compiled a list of agents on Twitter who represent kidlit/YA: https://twitter.com/inkyelbows/lists/agents-who-rep-kidlit-ya/members

*Some helpful links:

*Harold Underdown on Agents for Children's Book Authors & Illustrators: If you're not sure what an agent does, I strongly recommend you read this overview of the basics. http://www.underdown.org/agents.htm

My list of agents on Twitter who represent kid/YA (see earlier link)

Literary Rambles: lots of great info about different agents and what they're looking for. http://www.literaryrambles.com/

Agentquery.com: Searchable database on literary agents. http://www.agentquery.com/default.aspx

What Can I Expect From My Agent? from Editorial Ass. http://editorialass.blogspot.ca/2009/12/what-can-i-expect-of-my-agent.html

Guide To Literary Agents: by Chuck Sambuchino. Esp good for finding new literary agents who are actively seeking clients. http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents

The Truth About Being An Editorial Agent: by Molly Jaffa. http://mollyjaffa.blogspot.ca/2013/11/the-truth-about-being-editorial-agent.html

Querying Do's and Don'ts from agent Rebecca Sherman. http://ingridsundberg.com/2010/05/24/querying-dos-and-donts-from-agent-rebecca-sherman/

8 Myths About Literary Agents - by Ingrid Sundberg. http://ingridsundberg.com/2010/05/26/eight-myths-about-literary-agents/
These are only a few resources available online about agents! Take the time to do some research online. Talk to other writers and illustrators who have had agents about their experiences. Go to conferences and meet agents.

Hope this helps!*

Q. Will you look at my manuscript/portfolio and give me feedback?

See my answer here:

Q. Will you look at my manuscript/portfolio and tell me where I should send it?

See my answer here:

Q. I'm an aspiring children's book illustrator. Any advice?

See my answer here:

Q. I'm a student writing a paper. Will you answer a few questions for me?

See my answer here:

Q. I just finished my first picture book manuscript. What should I do now?

See my answer here:

Thank you so much for reaching out.
I'll respond as soon as I'm able.
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Thank you for your response. I appreciate the feedback!

In case it helps, here's a list of questions
I am frequently asked, with my answers:
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Thank you for your interest in me and my work, {{answer_27398888}}! I'll respond as soon as I am able.*
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Thank you so much for contacting me! I will respond as soon as I am able.

Meanwhile, here are some resources you might find useful:

Free, print-ready READING posters, activity sheets, bookmarks, etc.

Most of my free, print-ready material in one place:

Format, rates and info about my Skypevisits and appearances:

If your students send me snailmail about one of my books, I'll write back with doodles:
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Thank you for contacting me. I hope my answer was helpful! You can find more of my answers to frequently asked questions here: http://debbieohi.com/debbie-faq

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