The original 10,000 word manuscript with copious illustration doesn’t fit any standard category.  I’m unknown, so it’s not likely any agent or publisher will be interested if I don’t fit somewhere normal.  I wasn’t even certain what age group it fit.  It needs to be for children old enough to understand the concept of death, but the language and ideas can’t be too scary.  The style of illustration depends in part upon the age group of its audience, and I think the subject matter and general illustration style fit middle grades best.  That’s 10-12 years old.  Middle grade books are generally up to about 50,000 words, but they aren’t illustrated.

     At 18,000 words, with a bunch of illustrations finished, I saw the project collect dust as I remained confused about which direction to take it.  Then at a local authors’ event, I got some great advice that cleared it right up: The book should be around 50,000 words, and  I shouldn’t include illustrations with my submissions.  Mention that they are available when an agent shows interest, but not before.  I was disappointed, because I’m an artist as well as a writer, so of course I’m invested in the characters of Mort and Shuck.  I know who they are.  I want the people who read about them to see what they look like to me.  However, since I am not famous, I do need to cooperate with industry standards and accepted ways of doing things.

     On with it.