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Authors who want to have a book traditionally published must submit their manuscripts to literary agents or publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts. Unsolicited manuscripts are manuscripts that have not been requested.
Submitting manuscripts often leads to rejection. But not submitting any manuscripts guarantees no book deal with a traditional publisher.
Many literary agents prefer receiving manuscripts that have not already been sent to multiple publishers. On the other hand, having a publisher interested in a manuscript may help gain the attention of a literary agent. So, what is an author to do? Each author must make his or her own decision.
If you are a children’s book author looking for resources concerning the publishing market, you may be interested in looking through The Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market 2020, The Book: The Essential Guide to Publishing for Children (provided by SCBWI to its members as a free download), The Writer’s Market 2020, or The Christian Writers Market Guide 2020.
If you are interested in publishing a book but don’t know what the best publishing option is for you and your book, the course Choosing the Best Publishing Option for You and Your Book: Traditional Publishing, Hybrid Publishing, or Self-Publishing? may be helpful for you.
If you decide self-publishing is the best option for you and your book, then you will not need to submit your manuscript to a publisher. You can learn more about self-publishing with the course Self-Publishing 101: Things to Consider Before Publishing Your Book in Print.
Keep reading if you are a children’s book author specifically looking for traditional publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts. I have listed 37 traditional publishers who are currently accepting unsolicited manuscripts (at the time of this writing) along with the links to their submissions pages.
Even though these publishers accept unsolicited manuscripts, quite a few of them have separate links or instructions for agents to submit manuscripts. I’m guessing these publishers will take agented manuscripts more seriously than unagented manuscripts since the manuscripts have already been vetted by someone in the writing industry before being submitted to them. With that being said, please do not claim you have an agent for your manuscript if you don’t.
Please visit their websites (not just their submissions pages) before submitting to them to make sure they are still accepting unsolicited manuscripts, to see what style of books they publish and if your manuscript would be a good match, and to read their manuscript submission guidelines.
All of these publishing companies are kind enough to allow authors to submit unsolicited submissions. As a result, they may receive literally thousands of manuscripts each year. Please don’t waste their time (or your own time) by submitting manuscripts that do not fit their book lists. Make sure to properly format your manuscript, cover letter, and whatever else you are required to submit. Follow their submission guidelines exactly as stated.
Some of these publishers may respond within a specified time frame. Others will only respond if they are interested in publishing your manuscript. Please don’t continually pester them if you don’t hear back from them. Be patient and professional.
These are all publishing companies I have found on my own, but I have not had personal experience with them. Please do your own research to make sure they are reputable companies before submitting to them. You can do this by checking out books they have published and reading reviews of their companies online.
Traditional publishers will not charge authors any money to publish their books.
Currently seeking fiction and nonfiction picture book manuscripts, middle grade fiction submissions, and young adult fiction submissions. Accepts manuscripts by email.
Publishes “poetry, inspiration, humor, and children’s books”. Accepts submissions by mail or email.
Currently seeking books on “physical science, engineering, earth science, science or math manuscripts with a cultural/social studies connection, and manuscripts for Pre-K3 to kindergarten-age children”.
Won’t accept manuscripts in rhyme. Does not want books about pets, new babies, magic, fantasy, biographies, counting, ABCs, poetry, fairy tales, or holidays. Also does not want any book series.
Accepts submissions by email only.
“Currently interested in children books, foreign language learning books, business and financial advice books, parenting advice books, art instruction books, sports, fashion, crafts, and study guides.” Accepts queries by email.
Publishes children’s realistic fiction picture books with less than 1,000 words only. Accepts unsolicited submissions only at certain times of the year by email. (The submission window just closed on February 1st.)
Publishes fiction and nonfiction children’s books. Accepts manuscript submissions by mail.
Currently seeking fiction and nonfiction children’s books. Accepts submissions by mail.
Publishes picture book biographies, informational picture books, picture books, middle grade, and young adult books.
Publishes a total of 12 to 18 books each year. These include “picture books, middle reader and young adult fiction and nonfiction” Accepts submissions by mail.
Has multiple children’s book series for elementary, middle school, and high school ages. Accepts queries by email.
11. Flashlight Press
Publishes fictional children’s picture books under 1,000 words in length with a universal theme dealing with family or social situations targeted to ages 4-8. Accepts submissions by email.
12. Flyaway Books
Seeking “manuscripts that reflect themes of diversity, inclusivity, compassion, care for each other, care for the world, social justice, and contemporary issues…appropriate for a general trade market and found in bookstores, libraries, and schools.”
13. Flying Eye Books
Publishes picture book manuscripts up to 1,000 words long and children’s nonfiction books. Accepts submissions by email.
Publishes (along with its imprints) “illustrated, nonfiction, instructional books for children and adults”. Accepts submissions by email.
Does not accept biographies, autobiographies, or religious content. Publishes early childhood board books and picture books on social skills and positive behavior. Accepts submissions through Submittable or by mail.
Publishes children’s books for ages 4 and up. Accepts submissions by mail.
Currently seeking children’s picture books. Accepts submissions by mail.
Interested in nonfiction and fiction submissions for picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and graphic novels for PreK-5th grade audience. Accepts submissions by email.
19. Jolly Fish Press
Accepts submissions for middle grade and young adult fiction. Welcomes “applications from authors interested in producing fiction manuscripts on a work-for-hire basis.” This is an imprint of North Star Editions. Accepts submissions by email.
20. Kane Miller
Currently not seeking holiday stories. Accepts submissions by email.
21. NorthSouth Books
Accepts picture book manuscripts under 1,000 words. Don’t like rhyming text. Seeking “fresh, original, fiction with universal themes that could appeal to children ages 3-8”. Accepts submissions by email.
Accepts resumes from experienced authors for work-for-hire on fiction and nonfiction projects intended for a middle grade and high school-aged audience.
Publishes picture books (ages 4-8), biographies (ages 8-12), young adult fiction (ages 12+), “nonfiction books in such categories as cooking, sports, science, nature, interior design, crafts, and parenting”, and occasionally board books (ages 0-3). Accepts submissions by email.
Publishes fiction and nonfiction picture books, Early Reader fiction, nonfiction chapter books, fiction and nonfiction for middle grade, and young adult fiction and nonfiction. Accepts manuscripts by mail.
Publishes young adult fiction and nonfiction with a minimum of 25,000 words, juvenile fiction and nonfiction for ages 8-12 with a maximum of 25,000 words, and juvenile fiction and nonfiction picture books for ages 5-8 with a maximum of 1,100 words (plus author’s note). Genres include holidays, history, biography, African American, regional, and STEM depending on the age range. Accepts manuscripts by email.
Publishes journals, personal organizers, and children’s activity and picture books among other works. Accepts manuscripts by mail.
Publishes board books, novelty books, and picture books for children ages 0-8. Accepts submissions by email.
28. Pow! Kids Books
Prefers author/illustrators. Seeking children’s books that “represent diverse characters, cultures, identities, and points of view” and “deal with contemporary topics”. Prefers submissions by email, but does allow submissions by mail.
29. Press Box Books
Seeking “new projects that offer a fresh perspective or untold story in the sports realm.” This is an imprint of North Star Editions. Accepts submissions by email.
30. Quarto Knows
Has multiple imprints. Quarto Kids is the imprint for children’s books. Accepts submissions by email.
Currently only accepting manuscripts from July 1 to September 30. Seeking unique picture book manuscripts for ages 2-8. Accepts submissions by email.
32. Sky Pony Press
Publishes “picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and YA fiction and nonfiction.” Accepts submissions by email.
Publishes fiction and nonfiction picture books and middle grade novels. Accepts submissions by email.
Publishes board books, picture books, early readers, and chapter books (fiction and nonfiction). Seeks to publish “books that are entertaining, meaningful and sensitive to the needs of all children.” Accepts submissions by mail.
Publishes picture books, board books, middle grade fiction, and young adult fiction under the Sterling Children’s Books imprint. Accepts submissions by mail.
States that part of their mission “is to publish writers whose voices haven’t been heard before.” Accepting picture book and graphic novel submissions by email.
Publishes nonfiction books for children and adults. Not accepting picture book submissions. Accepting submissions by email.
Whether you decide to submit to literary agents or directly to publishers, you should keep track of all your submissions. If you have your own way of doing this that works for you, great! I’d love to hear about it. If you don’t have any chart of your own, you are welcome to download the chart I use to track all of my submissions.
The chart is pretty self-explanatory. I write the title of the submitted manuscript in the column that says “Manuscript title”, the name of the publisher or the literary agent (along with the name of the agency the literary agent works at) under the “Publisher/ Lit. Agent”, and the date I sent the submission under the “Date Sent” column. Under the “Method” column, I record whether I sent the submission by email, mail, Submittable, or some other online portal. I write the response (along with the date I receive the response) under the “Response” column. Any additional information such as how long it generally takes for them to respond if they do respond and what was submitted (if different than usual) gets written under the “Additional Info.” column.
I keep the chart in an easily accessible folder, so I can update it as needed. Color coding the book titles by putting a specific color dot (with a marker) next to the manuscript title (just to the left of the chart) makes it easier to find specific titles.
This is just what has worked for me up to this point. I’d love to hear what has worked best for you or if you know of any other children’s book publishers currently accepting unsolicted submissions in the comments section below.
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