Hi Nicola, I'm a new writer in the States, although screenplays are my game. Coincidentally, I'm currently adapting the biography of Robert Stanford-Tuck (Battle of Britain Ace) for the big screen. Well, that's where I hope it ends up, anyway. Having said that, my kids and I came up with a concept for a children's book based on an word game we invented. We laugh almost constantly while we play, and virtually anyone within earshot laughs too, whether they like it or not. I plan to follow your sage advice and, once this movie business is out of the way, have a go at our game in book form. The book will need illustration in my opinion. What's the protocol for submitting a manuscript to a publisher in such circumstances? Need one include illustration? Or simply the promise of illustration? Thanks for a great site.
If you have an illustrator friend whose drawings you'd love to use, forget it. If you admire some illustrations and wish to use that artist, forget it. Leave the illustrating side to the publisher. (If, on the other hand, you plan to self-publish an illustrated book, for crying out loud get a professional illustrator. Please! But that's not what Greg is doing.)
And my extra comment? Unasked for. It's cautionary advice. Greg said, "We laugh almost constantly while we play, and virtually anyone within earshot laughs too, whether they like it or not." Already, I am cringing. I just hope that Greg is not going to use this line, or anything similar, in his query.
Kids laugh when someone breaks wind. It doesn't make it worth putting in a book.
Seriously. I don't mean to sound snarky. I just want to make this point: never tell an agent or publisher about anyone else's reaction to your book, idea, words, anything. It's one of the biggest turn-offs, means nothing and marks you out as a newbie. There's nothing wrong with being a newbie - we all were once - but you must not sound like one.
So, Greg, I'm really glad you came here because I hope to set you on the right route. You'll find stacks more advice about submitting your work, but I want you first to think about the idea for your book. Does it really work as a book? Sounds to me as though it should perhaps stay as a game? Or am I just being very unimaginative? Screenplays, games, books, illustrations - four very, very different things. I know you know that, but just make sure you know exactly in what ways they are different.