childrens book publishers

Explore the Top Children’s Book Publishers in 2024

Looking to publish a children’s book but not sure where to start? You’re in the right place. This article cuts through the clutter to guide you to children’s book publishers that match your manuscript’s genre and target audience. With a focus on those open to submissions in 2024, we provide key insights into finding a publisher and crafting a submission that stands out. Prepare to take the next step in your publishing journey with confidence.

Key Takeaways

  • Children’s book publishers vary greatly, with some focusing on specific genres and styles such as picture books or young adult literature; it’s essential for authors to find a fitting publisher by evaluating publishers’ specialties and submission interests.

  • A polished submission package, adherence to submission guidelines, and a compelling query letter are crucial for making a strong impression; supplementary materials should only be included if they enhance the submission and convey the book’s vision effectively.

  • Made for Kids offers a comprehensive children’s book publishing solution, guiding authors through editing, design, printing, distribution, and marketing, with a focus on producing high-quality books and reaching a broad audience.

Navigating the World of Children’s Book Publishers

Diverse world of children's book publishers

The world of children’s book publishing is as varied and colorful as the stories it brings to life. As a children’s book publisher, one may specialize in particular types or genres of books, ranging from children’s picture books to young adult novels. For instance, Flashlight Press exclusively publishes picture books, while publishers such as Kids Can Press and Allen and Unwin cater to a broader range including picture and chapter books for varying children’s age groups. Thus, embarking on the publishing journey begins with understanding and navigating this diverse landscape.

Finding the right publisher is akin to finding a fitting home for your unique story.

Identifying the Right Fit

As an author, finding a publisher that matches your vision and book genre is of utmost importance. But how do you identify the right fit? Start by researching what each publisher is looking for. Some publishers may have specific interests, like:

  • award-winning literature

  • health

  • self-esteem

  • bullying

  • disabilities

These interests can guide authors in targeting the right fit.

The key is to align your manuscripts with publishers’ focal points by drawing comparisons to recent successes and demonstrating compatibility with the publisher’s catalog, without exaggerating the book’s prospects.

Understanding Submission Guidelines

While securing a suitable publisher is paramount, strict adherence to their submission guidelines is just as vital for serious consideration of your work. Submission guidelines can vary across publishers, but there are some general standards to keep in mind. Manuscripts are usually expected to be formatted with:

  • A4 or Letter Size paper

  • 1” margins

  • Times New Roman 12pt black font

  • Double spacing

These formatting guidelines are important to meet industry standards.

The cover page of a manuscript should display the title in ALL CAPS, author’s details, and word count, while every page should have a header with page number, title reference, and author’s last name. For fiction submissions, a complete manuscript is usually required. However, children’s non-fiction writers may submit a proposal containing an overview, author bio, comparative titles, and sample chapters. Adhering to these guidelines is not only about following rules—it’s about demonstrating your professionalism and respect for the publisher’s time and process.

Crafting Your Submission Package

Having pinpointed the ideal publisher and grasped their submission guidelines, the next step is to assemble an engaging submission package. This package is your golden opportunity to showcase your manuscript in the best possible light, making it essential to polish every aspect—from the manuscript itself to the query letter and supplementary materials.

Perfecting Your Manuscript

Your manuscript forms the core of your submission package. It’s the product of your creativity, imagination, and hard work. So, finishing and polishing your manuscript is the first critical step before submitting to agents or publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts.

But how do you ensure your manuscript is the best possible version of your story? One effective way is to have your manuscript reviewed by a critique group or a professional before submission. This can provide early feedback and identify areas for improvement. If regular critique is not accessible, consider having a professional editor review the manuscript.

Editorial reviews by an unbiased third party can assess the manuscript’s content, offering valuable insights that streamline the publisher’s selection process. If faced with multiple rejections or lack of response, authors may need to reassess and revise their unsolicited manuscripts or submission materials, especially if the publisher does not accept unsolicited submissions.

Remember, copyediting is a vital part of manuscript preparation which corrects punctuation, addresses inconsistencies, and ensures factual accuracy in nonfiction books and other non-fiction works.

The Art of the Query Letter

Once you’ve fine-tuned your manuscript, your submission package’s next key component is the query letter. This is your chance to make a great first impression and pique the publisher’s interest in your manuscript. A compelling hook in the query letter should quickly intrigue the recipient with a gripping description of the book’s premise, akin to an elevator pitch.

Given the concise nature of picture books, the query letter should disclose the book’s ending and clearly indicate if the manuscript is attached or included in the body of the email, alongside a note regarding simultaneous submissions. In the author biography, known as ‘the cook’, one should be concise and highlight relevant background, while the pitch should succinctly outline the story, the intended audience, the competition, and the author’s commitment to marketing activities.

This part of the process is something that Made for Kids assists authors in navigating, especially in the realm of middle grade fiction.

Supplementary Materials

Supplementary materials can enhance your submission, providing additional insights into your vision for the book. For picture books, illustrator notes should be concise, conveying essential visual elements not obvious from the text, and authors should be clear if they are open to working with other illustrators.

Include supplementary materials like character sketches or a book outline only when they add depth to the author’s vision and are polished and relevant to the publisher. Enhance the submission with testimonials from credentialed individuals if genuinely supportive, and provide a realistic marketing plan to show the book’s market potential.

Lastly, the author bio should be succinct and highlight relevant credentials, expertise, or experiences that relate to writing for children or the content of the book.

Spotlight on Made for Kids: A Comprehensive Publishing Solution

Comprehensive publishing solution for children's book authors

Having navigated the world of children’s book publishers and perfected your submission package, let’s turn our spotlight to Made for Kids—a comprehensive publishing solution for children’s book authors. This imprint of Made for Success aims to ignite a literary passion in young readers and empower children’s book authors. Offering a results-driven program for ambitious authors, Made for Kids guides authors through every step of the children’s book publishing process, including:

  • Editing

  • Illustration

  • Design

  • Printing

  • Distribution

  • Marketing

Program Highlights

Made for Kids offers a suite of services designed to ensure the highest quality for your book. These include:

  • Professional copy-editing

  • Layout proofing to ensure high-quality text and visual content

  • Book cover design

  • Interior layout graphics

  • Audiobook production services

With these services, you can create a polished final product for your book.

But the support doesn’t end there. Made for Kids manages eBook development and distribution, paperback distribution, and has a global distribution network to reach readers worldwide. This ensures that your book is not only well-crafted but also reaches the widest possible audience.

Authors also have multiple book format options with Made for Kids, including square and landscape, printed on gallery-quality photo paper or affordable uncoated paper. This flexibility allows you to choose the format that best suits your book’s needs and your budget, whether it’s graphic novels or other genres.

Marketing Mastery Post-Publication

Publishing your book is just the beginning—the real challenge lies in getting it into the hands of readers. That’s where Made for Kids’ robust marketing strategy comes into play. Authors can reach their audience through various channels, including:

  • the author’s website

  • the Blurb Bookstore

  • Amazon

  • Local bookstores

  • Audible

  • iTunes eBook store

Moreover, Made for Kids has shown capability in aiding authors to launch successful Kickstarter campaigns for their children’s books. This innovative approach can help raise funds for your book’s publication while generating buzz and anticipation among potential readers.

The marketing and publicity departments of Made for Kids collaborate with authors to develop and execute promotional plans, secure pre-orders, and set up interviews and promotional events to enhance the book’s success. With Made for Kids, you’re not just publishing a book—you’re launching a successful literary career.

The Path to Publication: From Manuscript to Bookshelf

Path to publication from manuscript to bookshelf

Now that we’ve covered the preparation and support available, let’s walk through the path to publication—from manuscript submission to the bookshelf. This involves a rigorous process which starts from manuscript submission and leads to the final product being available to the public in bookstores. Let’s break down this journey into its key stages: review and acceptance, production and design, and finally, distribution and sales.

Review and Acceptance

Review and acceptance constitute the initial stage of the publishing process. Literary agents play a crucial role in this phase by assessing a manuscript’s potential, considering representation, and suggesting revisions to align with their vision for the book. Once an agent is on board, they will pitch the manuscript to suitable publishing houses, leveraging their professional relationships and knowledge of editor preferences.

Once a publishing house decides to acquire a book, the author goes through the following steps:

  1. The editor presents an offer via the agent, detailing the advance and other contractual terms.

  2. After signing the book deal, the author collaborates with the editor.

  3. The editor provides an editorial letter with suggested improvements.

  4. The author revises the manuscript accordingly.

However, authors should remember that patience is a virtue in this process. If a publisher such as Made for Kids shows interest in the manuscript, the author is advised to patiently wait for further contact within the specified evaluation period rather than follow up incessantly.

Production and Design

When your manuscript gains acceptance, the production and design phase commences. This is where your manuscript is transformed into a polished book ready for readers. The book production process typically spans an eight-week period where editors and designers collaborate closely with the author.

Proofreading editors, cover designers, and interior layout designers work in tandem to turn the author’s manuscript into a polished book. Throughout the production process, team members collaborate closely together to ensure that all layers of the process work together seamlessly.

During the production and design phase, the author collaborates with the editor on cover ideas, and the design team creates sample covers for approval, though the final decision lies with the publisher. The pre-production phase also involves marketing and copyediting, and the final proofreading ensures formatting is correct and checks for any missed errors before the book goes to print.

At the end of the production phase, authors are provided with all design files, including cover and interior layouts, and a final edit meeting is arranged after the printing of a proof.

Distribution and Sales

The final stage of the journey is distribution and sales. This is when your book makes its way to the bookshelves and into the hands of eager young readers. A good publisher’s sales team will engage with bookstores and include children’s books in their catalog to facilitate widespread distribution.

Books published traditionally have a greater likelihood of being placed in physical bookstores thanks to existing publisher distribution networks and options for book returns. Book distributors act as a critical intermediary step by supplying books to libraries, retailers, and chain stores, significantly expanding the potential readership.

And let’s not forget independent bookstores. They provide an accessible avenue for local or regional authors and publishers; they are often more open to stocking children’s books from smaller presses. With the right distribution strategy, your book can reach countless readers across the globe.

Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

Comparison of self-publishing and traditional publishing

Now that we’ve walked through the publishing journey, let’s pause to consider an important decision every author must make: self-publishing or traditional publishing? Both paths have their pros and cons, and the best choice depends on factors such as:

  • control

  • rights

  • investment

  • rewards

Control and Rights

When it comes to control and rights, self-publishing and traditional publishing offer different benefits. Authors who choose self-publishing retain complete creative control over their book, as opposed to the traditional publishing route where publishers may influence the final content.

On the other hand, traditional publishing contracts, often provided by a traditional publisher, can be intricate and often require authors to concede certain rights, which may include complexities such as:

  • different territorial rights for text and images

  • restrictions on self-publishing or publishing with other publishers

  • limitations on the use of illustrations or other artwork

Traditional children’s book publishers manage all aspects of book creation, from editing to limited marketing, without charging authors any fees.

Authors aiming to publish with Made for Kids should prepare for discussions around publishing rights and royalty rates during contract negotiations.

Investment and Rewards

When it comes to financial investment and potential rewards, again, self-publishing and traditional publishing differ. The financial investment for self-publishing falls on the author, including costs for editing, design, and marketing, while traditional publishers take on all upfront costs and may offer book advances.

Self-published authors potentially enjoy:

  • Higher royalty rates, ranging from 35% to 90% after platform fees

  • Contrast against traditionally published authors who receive a smaller percentage of sales, and only 7-30% earn royalties. Sometimes an advance on royalties is paid to the author.

  • Made for Kids authors enjoy a 50% royalty rate with low costs for author inventory

While new authors typically receive lower average book advances and need considerable sales to surpass the advance, traditional publishing can lead to passive earnings, particularly for bestsellers, which may spawn additional media deals. Ultimately, the choice between self-publishing and traditional publishing depends on your personal goals, resources, and commitment to the publishing process.

Success Stories: Authors Who Made It Big

Success stories of authors in children's book publishing

In the world of children’s book publishing, success is not just about sales figures—it’s about impacting young lives with your story. Traditional publishing can elevate an author’s status, opening doors to speaking engagements and instilling pride in family and a sense of personal accomplishment.

Take the example of Steve Sombrero, recently published by Made for Kids. His exuberant and imaginative tale, “What Day Are You?”, shares a simple pathway toward living life in the moment. It’s a mindful story of self-discovery and resilience, for young readers aged 8-12, with an actionable message for ALL ages. Success stories like these inspire and motivate aspiring authors to embark on their own publishing journey.

The Editorial Review: Your First Step Towards Publishing with Made for Kids

As you envisage your journey in children’s book publishing, Made for Kids could be an ideal first step. This publisher offers a complimentary editorial review to provide professional feedback on manuscripts, a crucial first step towards publishing with the imprint.

Complimentary Review Offer

The complimentary editorial review is exclusively for authors making their first manuscript submission to Made for Kids. To take advantage of this offer, authors should include a cover letter with their manuscript and send their submission via the publisher’s designated submission email address.

Submissions should be formatted according to the guidelines provided by Made for Kids, ensuring the manuscript is in a readable font and layout. After submission, authors can expect to receive a confirmation of receipt followed by a comprehensive editorial review detailing areas of strength and suggestions for improvement.

Next Steps After Review

After the editorial review, authors can expect one of three responses: outright acceptance, acceptance requiring revisions, or rejection accompanied by improvement suggestions. If revisions are requested, authors should review the feedback carefully, considering how to refine their manuscript in accordance with the comments received.

Authors may seek advice from writing groups, mentors, or professional editors to further enhance their manuscript before resubmitting. Once a manuscript is revised, authors can resubmit it to the original editor, accompanied by a cover letter outlining the specific changes made based on the feedback.

Remember, the road to publication is often filled with revisions and rejections. But with persistence, patience, and a bit of guidance from the right publisher, you can successfully navigate this journey and see your children’s book come to life, especially when you publish chapter books.

Summary

Embarking on the journey of children’s book publishing can be daunting, but with the right guidance and determination, it can also be incredibly rewarding. Navigating the world of publishers, crafting a compelling submission package, and understanding the path to publication are all critical steps in this journey. Whether you choose traditional publishing or self-publishing, know that there are resources and supports available to you, including comprehensive solutions like Made for Kids. Remember, at the end of the day, the goal is to share your story and ignite a love of reading in young minds. So, are you ready to turn your dream into a reality?

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to publish a children’s book?

Publishing a children’s book typically varies greatly depending on how comprehensive a publishing solution you seek. Made for Kids publishing solution starts at $8,000 if you have already completed your illustrations.

How to publish children’s book?

To publish a children’s book, start by refining your manuscript and knowing your target audience. Then, find an agent or submit your manuscript to publishers, and consider copyrighting your book. This process can help you navigate the path to getting your book published.

What kind of children’s books do publishers typically specialize in?

Publishers typically specialize in various types or genres of children’s books, such as picture books, young adult novels, and specific themes like health, self-esteem, and disabilities. This allows them to focus on specific interests and cater to diverse reader needs.

How important is it to adhere to a publisher’s submission guidelines?

It is crucial for authors to adhere to a publisher’s submission guidelines as it ensures their work is taken seriously and considered for publication by children’s book publishers. Following these guidelines often includes meeting formatting requirements and including specific details in the submission.

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