Children Book Publishers

Finding the right publishing house for your children's book

Children’s book publishers look for certain qualities and characteristics in a manuscript. Each house wants titles that reflect their overall philosophy in the children’s book publishing industry.

Because of the highly competitive nature of the industry, some authors choose to self publish a children’s book. This comes with its own unique set of challenges since everything from marketing to sales falls on the shoulders of the author.

Children’s stories publishers are very selective. That’s what makes the industry difficult to break into. Writers often think they’ll break into the writing industry with a children’s book because they’re easy to write. In truth, children’s books are difficult to write due to the highly defined areas of audience, vocabulary and age appropriateness. Look for children’s book publishers who:

1. Publish the kind of writing you do.

2. Accept unsolicited manuscripts from new authors.

3. Have a good reputation among children’s book publishers.

4. Return manuscripts in a timely manner.

Research publishers of children's books to find a good match for your manuscript

Not all children's stories publishers take every genre of children's literature. Some houses specialize in Young Adult and Mid-Grade novels, while others do trade paperbacks or educational publishing only. The picture book industry varies from year to year, so check to see if the houses you're looking at currently take them.

Send out unsolicited manuscripts only to those publishers of children's books that accept them

It's bad enough to get a rejection, but having your manuscript returned unopened is even worse. Most houses specifically indicate on their websites whether they take unsolicited manuscripts. Look under the contact us section for more information.

Houghton Mifflin Website under frequently asked questions and click on submissions for a sample of their guidelines.

Read works from children book publishers before submitting manuscripts to them

Vanity publishers often take advantage of new authors by encouraging them to self publish children's books. Although there is some potential for success, most self-publishers charge lots of money without any guarantees.

For children's book publishing help, join the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators is the most widely respected organization in children's literature. Both published and unpublished authors can join.
  • Attend writer's conferences through SCBWI or other writing organizations to get exposure to the industry and meet agents and representatives from publishing houses.
  • Three months used to be the industry standard response time from a publisher. Look for the publisher's response time frame listed on its website or in Children's Writers Market. If it's over 6 months, look for another place to publish a children's book.