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ServiceScape Incorporated
2020

Top 10 Children's Book Publishers Who Are Accepting Unsolicited Manuscripts

EditrixJD

If you're a children's book author, you face many different options today for publishing your work. The online resources available today offer many choices and opportunities for writers to publish their work, although it can take some careful planning to navigate this landscape. Traditional publishing involves hiring an agent, who then contacts publishers and seeks to generate interest in your manuscript. But what if you have no agent and no publisher?

One option is to go ahead and submit your work to publishers anyway. This is called an unsolicited manuscript, or a work of writing that an editor of a publishing house has not specifically requested from you. It suggests that all the work is done on your part as the submitting author. This can seem scarier than it is. No one is born with a publisher; every author in the history of mankind was once unsolicited and unagented! Luckily there are several publishing houses that accept unsolicited work, such as the following:

1) Holiday House

Holiday House publishes both fiction and nonfiction children's books. This well-known publisher specializes in hardcovers, including picture books for kids ages 0 - 6, chapter books for ages 5 - 9, middle grade literature for ages 11 - 13, and young adult books for ages 14 - 17.

To submit your manuscript, send a hard copy of the entire work by U.S. mail to Editorial Department, Holiday House, 425 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10017. Holiday House does not return manuscripts, so don't include a SASE in your submission.

2) Cameron Kids

Cameron Kids primarily focuses on picture books with a target audience of children ages three to seven. This small publishing company only accepts six titles per year, but one of these could be yours! As found on its submission page, We love to see poetic, highly visual, picture book stories – think spare and lyrical, not necessarily end-rhyming – and compelling picture book and board book concepts. They also accept submissions of "creative nonfiction."

Does this sound like your book? You can submit your manuscript (or a brief query for fiction) via email to Amy Novesky, Children's Book Editor, at amyn@cameronbooks.com. You can also submit your manuscript by post with a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) to Cameron + Company, 149 Kentucky Street, Suite 7, Petaluma, CA 94952 (without a SASE, your mailed submission will be recycled). Even better news: Cameron Kids responds to each submission within four weeks.

3) Chicago Review Press

This well-respected publishing house accepts submissions from almost all genres, including children's books and young adult stories. Chicago Review Press releases over 60 new titles every year, and it values originality in the work it accepts. It is particularly seeking works of nonfiction on several different topics. Note that it doesn't publish picture books, and it is currently not accepting fiction.

While it has won several awards for its children's book line called "For Kids," Chicago Review Press is open to any type of kid's book, so give it a try, as it values long-term relationships with its authors. It's best to mail a brief query to one of the editors first, and only then follow up with the full manuscript submission.

4) Sleeping Bear Press

Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Sleeping Bear Press is a leading children's book publisher that publishes gripping children's titles. The company started in 1988 with their famous book "The Legend of Sleeping Bear," and since then it has established a reputation as one of the best children's book publishers and has won several awards and critical acclaim for its production of thoughtful content.

Sleeping Bear Press specializes in picture books and middle-grade novels in both fiction and non-fiction. It only accepts email submissions right now. Attach your manuscript as a Word file, and in the body of the email, provide your cover letter (no cover letters as an attachment, please), your full name, your postal address, any previous publishing experience, word count of your book, and a brief summary of your manuscript.

5) Boyds Mills Press

Boyds Mills & Kane specializes in socially conscious, educational fiction and nonfiction titles for children. This publishing house is currently seeking picture books, middle-grade fiction and nonfiction, poetry, and teen nonfiction. Boyds Mills & Kane's Submissions page includes an editor wish list for each of its senior/assistant editors, which can give you an idea of what might have a better chance at acceptance. When submitting your work by email, specify which editor you would like to reach, as well as your book title, genre, and word count. Further specifications apply for each genre of fiction and nonfiction, so make sure to check off those boxes when submitting.

6) Kane Miller Press

Kane Miller Press is a division of EDC Publishing. It publishes picture books in all genres, specializing in stories with American subjects. It's seeking to expand its list of picture books, in fact, so if that's your specialty, this might be your match.

Kane Miller also accepts chapter books and middle-grade fiction with a focus on community. With this type of book, it is looking for stories written from first-hand experience.

Do you think this publishing house is right for you? Send an email to submissions@kanemiller.com. In the body, include a short cover letter with the complete manuscript (do not send attachments). You can also provide a synopsis and a sample chapter if your book is lengthy. Also within the body, provide the book's word count and your short professional biography (3-5 sentences). Address your submission to "The Editors."

7) Phaidon

Phaidon publishes illustrated children's books for ages 0-8, including picture books, novelty books, and board books. It limits acceptance to work that matches the Phaidon brand, so be sure to explore the publisher's store to get familiar with what it is looking for.

While Phaidon does accept unsolicited submissions, it does give priority to agent submissions. To submit your work, send your query letter, book proposal, and entire manuscript by email to submissions@phaidon.com.

8) Mighty Media Press

Mighty Media Press is looking for books and media that ignite a child's curiosity, imagination, social awareness, and sense of adventure. It places such importance on these aspects that it won't publish books that don't satisfy these criteria. It publishes picture books (ages 0 - 6), junior readers (ages 4 - 11), and middle-grade (ages 11 - 13) fiction and nonfiction.

Submission to Mighty Media Press requires that you provide your email address on its submissions page. Then Mighty Media will send you a link where you can upload your cover letter, a synopsis, and up to 30 pages of your book.

9) Pagestreet Publishing

This publisher is relatively new but already pretty well established. Pagestreet Publishing is particularly interested in children's books, including picture books (fiction and nonfiction) as well as young adult novels. It is expanding its illustrated children's books collection, which makes this house a good option for unsolicited submissions.

To submit your manuscript, send a brief query via email with your book as a Word attachment (if text only) or a PDF for a book with illustrations. Your query letter should contain your synopsis, pitch, and target age range and a bio that describes your occupation, publishing history, social media presence, whether or not you are represented by an agent, and any other information relevant to your submission.

10) Flashlight Press

An established children's books publisher, Flashlight Press specializes in books written for very young readers. Their books often feature relationships between people and multiculturalism with humor and touching moments, depicted through strong writing and high quality illustrations. It is looking for books targeting children ages 4-8.

This publishing house seeks to maintain its brand, so take a look at the previous works it has published to determine if your book is right for Flashlight Press. Your children's book must be less than 1,000 words, have a universal theme, and deal with family or social situations.

When you're navigating the sometimes-discouraging landscape of agentless publishing, these companies can provide a ray of hope as well as some areas of focus for your target audience. While you should be realistic about your chances (for every author who gets published, there are thousands of writers waiting to get their foot in the door), this list provides some candidates to help you to gain access to the right people to help you get your work published and into the hands of eager young readers around the world.

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