frequently 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.
When you're 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.
Research the market.
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 publishers.
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 particular
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