- Publishing Stats for the Writer
- Literary Agent and Literary Attorney
- Self Publishing vs. Traditional
- Private: 7 Types of Publisher Rejection And How To Deal With Them
- Shady Publisher: Five Things to Check
- Illustrated Book Submissions: The 7 Don’ts
- Publisher vs. Producer: what’s the difference
- How to Publish
- Traditional Publishers: the pros and cons
- Private: The Accidental Trilogy: mistake every writer makes no more than once
- Author Scott Turow Speaks: the biggest issues facing authors today
- Private: How to Get a Literary Agent
- Great Agents Looking for Children’s Books NOW
- Private: Book Sales Seasons
- The 9 Types of Editors
- Private: How To Find the Right Publisher
- Top 20 Children’s Book Agents 2015
- The Best Ways to get an Agent
- What to DO if your Book gets Stolen
- Publishers Accepting Submissions from Authors NOW
- The Query Letter That Works
- Query Letters: how to make them rock
Who are the publishers accepting submissions directly from authors and illustrators these days - but who are still SOLID and reliable? Here’s my list. (I’ll be updating this every so often.)
Just added SIX new publishers to this list, and updated an older link from Peachtree.
This is a rare list of reputable publishers who are currently accepting submissions - without requiring an agent be involved.
If you’ve finally decided to stop worrying about the best way to get published and are now ready to simply start submitting your work to some publishers, this is for you.
I’m a big advocate of Hybrid Authoring, essentially getting published via any and all ways. Self publishing will enrich your scope of knowledge and give you a greater appreciation for all the work that goes into getting a book on the market, and traditional publishing gives you other opportunities that will simply blow your mind (money, connections, clout).
Adjust the Timeline
The traditional publishing business is slow. If you’ve ever worked with someone in the publishing world, you know this well. Time and patience are required - for many reasons, and all of them are valid.
What’s known as The Big Four publishing companies (Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, and Hachette Livre), we know, all have serious weight. Getting published by one of these monster businesses means you’ve stepped up to seriously deal. Oh yah!
The big publishing houses (and most of their imprints) will not look at your manuscript if it doesn’t come from a literary agent (seriously, they’ll just toss it in the bin or hit “delete”). If you’re working on getting an agent - great. But finding and winning over the right agent takes time too. (Naturally.)
That doesn’t mean your only option is to self publish like mad until a savvy-agent-with-heart notices your brilliance and plops a fabulous offer to represent you - right into your lap. Ahem. Self publish, sure - but don’t stop there.
You can get published traditionally while waiting to hear back from an agent (and while self publishing your more niche stories). So how do you get your work published if you don’t yet have an agent?
Submit to an Agent, Submit to a Publisher
While you’re busy looking for the right literary agent, there’s no reason to put your writing career on hold. You can submit one of your manuscripts to publishers who don’t require agents - while waiting to hear back from those literary agents.
WARNING: Do not submit the same manuscript. Choose one manuscript to send to your prospective agent(s) and another, completely different, manuscript for publisher(s) to consider.
If you only have one manuscript…
Don’t worry - you’ve got to start somewhere, after all! But if you want to pursue all your publishing options, you need to treat those options exclusively. It’s extremely rare that any publisher or agent would consider publishing a book you’ve already published yourself. WHY? Because it means First Rights are off the table.
What this means is that you’ll want to have
- one manuscript to self publish,
- another manuscript to submit to agents and
- a third manuscript to submit to publishers directly.
If you currently have one title, you could submit it to publishers as a first step. While you’re waiting to hear back from the publishers, you’ll be busy working on another book, which you can self publish.
NOTE: Don’t self publish the first manuscript unless it’s been 4-6 months since your last submission - yes, it can take that long to get a response. (I once got an offer 11 months after I submitted.) So send out your submissions and just let it ride - in fact, forget about it so you can get on with the next project.
Once your self published book is selling and your first manuscript is either still waiting with publishers or getting a deal, you can start writing another story. It being your third book, you’ll be ready to seriously contact literary agents about it.
Finding a Publisher for You
Finding publishers - professional, For Real Publishers who know what they’re doing - is an entity all writers need to hunt down. It’s tough work, so I thought I’d help you out.
Here is my list of reputable publishers (and whose names you should get to know) who publish kid’s books (baby books up through young adult) each year and who (currently) accept submissions directly from writers and illustrators.
My one gripe: publishers who accept submissions very often require snail mail submissions. For me, living in Germany, this is a deal breaker because I cannot afford to send full-color manuscripts across the sea (and it’s a waste of paper). Still, I’ll leave it to you to decide what works for you and what doesn’t.
Some of the publishers listed here do accept email submissions, and for that I’m grateful. I’ve provided direct links to each of the publisher’s Submissions Guidelines. Be sure to follow them to the letter (if you don’t, that’s reason enough for a rejection).
publishers accepting unsolicited manuscripts
Unsolicited manuscripts are manuscripts submitted directly from a writer rather than through an agent.
The following publishers range greatly in size and also in the types of books they publish for kids. Some are independent, some are imprints. Each one has its own style, and even if their philosophies sometimes sound similar, the books each publisher brings to the market vary quite a bit.
What all of these publishers have in common is that they
- have a very good reputation,
- publish more than 3 kids books per year (many only publish 0-1 per year and they aren’t on this list),
- accept submissions from writers and illustrators, and they
- don’t require that an author be from a specific area.
If you should find that any of these publishers have changed their policy on one of these four points, please let me know so that I can update the list.
Albert Whitman & Company
Albert Whitman & Company “All Albert Whitman & Company books treat their readers in a caring and respectful manner, helping them to grow intellectually and emotionally. We are dedicated to continuing our tradition of creating award-worthy books for children.” -from the publisher website.
Bancroft Press “The most interesting thing about Bancroft Press is that, as of 2014, the company has survived for twenty-three years without a niche.” -from the publisher website.
Barron’s Educational Series, Inc.
Barron’s is most known for their textbooks and educational materials. But they also publish coloring books and children’s books that have a storyline that teach an important lesson or interesting topic.
Bess Press “Our goal is to regularly provide customers with new, creative, informative, educational, and entertaining publications that are directly connected to or flowing from Hawaiʻi and other islands within the Pacific Region.” -from the publisher website.
Boyd Mills Press
Capstone “Helping children develop a love of reading and learning, no matter their ability level, is at the heart of what we do at Capstone. Our passion for creating inspired learning has made us the most trusted publisher of children’s books and digital solutions for libraries, classrooms, and consumers for 25 years.” -from the publisher website.
Charlesbridge “Charlesbridge publishes high-quality books for children, with a goal of creating lifelong readers and lifelong learners. Our books encourage reading and discovery in the classroom, library, and home.” -from the publisher website.
Chronicle Books This San Francisco based publisher produces high quality books and novelty items designed for gift-giving (all ages). Very beautiful books.
Creston Books has only been around since 2013, but they’ve quickly established a strong reputation. In just four years they’ve won over 20 awards. Fully a third of their list is by first-time authors, so this is your chance!
Dawn Publications “Dawn Publications is dedicated to inspiring in children a deeper understanding and appreciation for all life on Earth. We aim to help parents and teachers encourage children to bond with the Earth in a relationship of love, respect, and intelligent cooperation, through the books we publish and the educational materials we offer online.” -from the publisher website.
Dial Books for Young Readers
Dial Books for Young Readers “Dial Books for Young Readers is a hardcover division publishing approximately seventy titles per year for children of all ages, from preschool through young adult.” -from the publisher website.
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers “These children’s books tell delightful stories about adventure, family, and friendship, but they also help children wrestle with special issues, such as grief, divorce, racism, poverty, and war.” -from the publisher website.
Flashlight Press is an indie publisher with international distribution and they publish “books (that) explore and illuminate the touching and humorous moments of family situations and social interactions through captivating writing and outstanding illustrations.”
Flux “Flux is an imprint of North Star Editions, Inc., a privately owned publishing company dedicated to guiding readers toward a lifetime love of reading. NSE publishes fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults that inspires, informs, and entertains.” -from the publisher website.
Gibbs Smith This is a large publisher who does all sorts of hardback full-color books. All their titles are visual, nonfiction or fiction.
Hachai Publishing “Children’s books play a vital role in every Jewish home, classroom and library. Hachai Publishing is dedicated to producing high quality children’s literature with Jewish themes.” -from the publisher website.
Holiday House Books for Young People
Holiday House Books for Young People was founded in 1935 and publishes everything from picture books to young adult.
Immedium publishes childrens books that are quirky, innovative and appealing to boys and girls. Their catalogue is international, both in style and themes.
Lerner Books & Ken Bar
Lerner Books “Lerner Publishing Group is one of the nation’s [the US’s] largest independently owned children’s publishers with more than 5,000 books in print.” -from the publisher website.
Lerner doesn’t generally accept unsolicited manuscripts, but it will open their doors at specific times to writers without agents. Follow the company blog for announcements (pay particular attention around October-November).
Ken Bar Publishing (an imprint) accepts unsolicited submissions.
Magination Press This is a seriously cool imprint of the APA (American Psychological Association), which is “the world’s largest association of psychologists, with more than 117,500 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students as its members.”
What they publish are books for kids (from pre-readers to teens) about really tough topics. For example, a book about how a toddler deals with death, or ADHD.
Mighty Media Press (formerly Scarletta Press)
Mighty Media Press is a multi-media publisher (including books) of childrens books and they have a positive mission behind their choices. “Our mission is to deliver captivating books and media that ignite a child’s curiosity, imagination, social awareness, and sense of adventure. And we take our mission seriously.”
Milkweed Editions is probably best known for their successful Kickstarter campaign (you can check it out here). This publisher’s motto is: “Bookshelves should never be boring.” This is a nonprofit indie publisher of fiction, nonfiction and poetry, and they also publish Middle Grade and Young Adult titles.
Peachtree Publishers “Peachtree Publishers is an independently owned trade book publisher, specializing in quality children’s books, from picture books to young adult fiction and nonfiction.” -from the publisher website.
Submissions Guidelines (The Peachtree website has been updated and this is the new link. Check it out!)
Persea Books “is an independent, literary publishing house founded in 1975 by Michael Braziller and Karen Braziller, who still own and direct the company.” Recently, the publisher has decided to branch-out into YA novels.
Sleeping Bear Press
Sleeping Bear Press “Since our first success with The Legend of Sleeping Bear in 1998, Sleeping Bear Press has impressed young readers, parents, teachers, and booksellers with high-quality, beautifully illustrated picture books.” -from the publisher website.
Stripes Publishing (an imprint of Little Tiger) “Please note, Stripes publishes fiction for children aged 6–12 years and teenagers. We do not accept books for adults, educational books, poetry, graphic novels, comics, multimedia, scripts, screenplays, short stories, non-fiction or picture books for babies and toddlers.” -from the publisher website.
Top That Publishing
Top That Publishing “Top That Publishing Ltd is an award-winning, book publisher and app developer located beside the river Deben in Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK.” -from the publisher website.
Turner Publishing “Turner Publishing Company is an award-winning, independent publisher of books. The company is in the top 101 independent publishing companies in the U.S.” -from the publisher website.
Workman Publishing “The Workman imprint publishes exclusively nonfiction books for children and adults, as well as calendars.” -from the publisher website.
Getting it OUT There and Read
Don’t be shy about submitting your work. Not if you’re certain it’s well edited and really ready to go. If you’re not quite sure about THAT - I highly recommend asking someone for help. Here’s how to give and get helpful critiques so that your manuscript will really shine.
What about you? Are you submitting or planning to submit one of your manuscripts somewhere? Write below, let me know - or, as ever, send me an email. I’d love to know what you’re doing.
Keep creating, no matter what.