receive emails from people writing for children,
who ask me to recommend a publisher or
publishers. It seems like a simple question.
Ah, if only life were so simple
The problem with most of these emails is that the
author neglects to include pertinent details:
a) What they've written - novel, article, short
b) The genre - horror, romance, thriller etc
c) Fiction or non-fiction
e) And in the case of children's fiction, whether
it's a picture book, easy reader, chapter book
f) Where the author lives
But, even with these details, I'm not in a
position to recommend publishers.
I provide FREE information on my wesbite to help
people writing for children. I provide FREE
advice on how to get your children's book or
books published. So why don't I recommend
Simply put, because the author of a book is the
best person to find a publisher.
The author of a book knows that book better than
With little knowledge of the book, I can only
guess about suitable publishers.
What if I guess wrongly? After all, I really
don't know anything about the book in question. I
could be giving you bad advice. And, trust me
when I say, the last thing I want to do is give
you bad advice.
I could be wasting your time. I could be costing
So if I recommend publishers to you then I'm not
really being fair to you. I'm not necessarily
giving you and your book the best chance in the
Only you can do that, or a good agent if you have
Now this doesn't mean that I want you to send me
your manuscripts to read so I can learn more
about your children's story. It doesn't mean that
I want you to send me a synopsis of your novel.
It means that you, as the writer and manager of
your career, are in the best position to find a
suitable publisher. You know your children's
book. You know what you want from a publisher and
your career. You know what matters to you.
What I can do, though, is give you advice on how
to find a publisher or publishers.
So here's some more FREE advice to help you with
your writing career.
1) Write your book.
starting out in your career of writing for
children, publishers want to see a finished
product, or at least part of a finished product.
They want to know that you're capable of writing
the whole novel. So before you approach a
publisher or, even research the market, write
your children's novel.
2) Research the
First you need to
know what sort of book you've written. Who is
your reader? Males? Females? Both? What is the
age of your audience? Is your book genre fiction?
What genre? What about the length?
Visit local bookstores and look for children's
books similar to your own in length and genre.
You'll find the publisher's information easily,
both on the cover and inside the book. Write down
a list of the publishers you find that might be
interested in work similar to your own.
3) Research the
I own a copy of The
Australian Writer's Marketplace. You can buy
Writer's Marketplace reference books for other
countries as well, including the US and UK.
You'll find details of many publishers in this
reference resource. These details include their
address, phone number, email address, website and
The Internet has made finding publishers a much
easier task. If a publisher has a website, and
most of them do, then visit the website. Research
what they are publishing. And look for submission
information. Firstly, do they accept unsolicited
manuscripts? Your manuscript is unsolicited if a
publisher or editor hasn't requested to read it.
In other words, your manuscript is unsolicited if
you're sending it to a publisher without their
A lot of publishers include submission guidelines
on their websites, which can be downloaded with a
minimum of fuss. Always read a publisher's
guidelines and always follow their instructions.
Give your manuscript the best chance. If
guidelines aren't readily available on a
publisher's website, then send them a polite and
professional email asking for a copy of their
The reason you conduct research on publishers
before you submit a manuscript is to save you
time and money. There's no point sending your
horror novel to a publisher that only publishes
romance novels. There's no point sending your
children's picture book to a publisher that
doesn't publish children's books or picture
books. There's no point sending your unsolicited
manuscript to a publisher that doesn't accept
4) Be professional
When you deal with
publishers or anyone associated with the
publishing industry it pays to always be polite,
friendly and professional. Publishers are looking
for writers who can produce great novels and
conduct themselves professionally. This includes
submitting your work in a professional manner. A
neatly formatted manuscript, accompanied by a
well-written query letter will be more readily
accepted than a hand-written, unedited story!
5) Be Realistic
Biggest does not
equal best! Almost every writer wants to see his
or her own book up there on the New York Times
Best Seller lists. But aiming your book at the
biggest name publishing house you can locate is
not always realistic - nor is it always the best
possible publishing home for your precious work.
In many cases, a smaller, more specialised
publisher might have a better chance of placing
your book in front of the right readers for your
6) Research again!
Just because you
may have found the name of a publisher willing to
publish a book similar to your own does not
necessarily mean they are still accepting
submissions! Keep a close eye on websites that
list publishers actively seeking manuscripts.
Some of these even list publishers who are no
longer accepting submissions, so you'll at least
have some idea of where NOT to send your work.
Here are some links to help you find a