So you want to publish a Children’s book, but you aren’t sure how to go about it? To aid you in your process, here are some of the basic steps you will need to take to get your book out there.
Step 1: Consider an Agent.
While it is not necessary to get an agent to represent you, an agent can find you a publisher with more ease than probably you can. Do some research and find the agent that works for you.
Some sources to look for agents that specialize in Children’s Books:
But make sure you find an agent who is passionate about your book, first and foremost.
Step 2: Polish Your Manuscript.
Just because a children’s book has less words doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t put just as much effort into your manuscript. Take your time and make sure it is ready to go. Don’t make your own illustrations, leave that up to a professional illustrator (unless you are one).
Step 3: Find a Publisher.
If you do choose to work with an agent, they will be largely responsible for finding and submitting to a publisher. If not, do research to find some potential publishers. This doesn’t just mean going straight to the most well known ones. Find some children’s books that you like and make note of their publishers. You are trying to find the right fit for you. Consider submitting to a small or medium sized press.
Check out this link with a list of publishers accepting queries from authors directly: http://thejohnfox.com/2016/03/children-book-publishers/
Step 4: Contacting the Publisher.
When contacting a publisher, you will likely be asked to send a query/cover letter and a CV with relevant information. Send a plot synopsis and break-down if requested. Don’t send a full manuscript until they ask for it. Make sure the manuscript is clean. All notes should be separate, organized, and relevant.
Step 5: What to Do Next.
A publisher may ask for revisions before agreeing to work with you. The same with any publisher you are deciding on, it is up to you to decide if this is something you want to do. It is always your prerogative as the author to say no and seek another place to publish. It’s your book.
Step 6: Repeat.
Keep sending your stuff out until you find the publisher that is the right fit for you. They will (most likely) provide an illustrator for you. If you don’t have luck finding an agent or publisher, take the time to do another round of edits and then try again.
Alternative Route: Self-Publishing
Step 1: Find a self-publishing option.
Once again, DO YOUR RESEARCH. There are a lot of ways to self-publish, including services and ebook options. The important thing is to be careful not to get scammed or to lose your rights to your work. See what kind of PR these options get and how much it will cost you out of pocket to spread the word about your book.
Step 2: Know What is Required.
Make sure you know what format your book will be in based on the option of self-publishing you chose, especially before finding an illustrator.
Step 3: Marketing.
Self-Publishing means that you will likely have to do a lot more marketing to get your book spread and read.
A targeted Facebook advertisement.
A linkable blog or website with a clean design.
Hiring a book publicist before the launch of the book.
- The size and format of your book will most likely be determined by the publisher, so don’t stress the details too much.
- Don’t bother describing the illustrations either. If there is a specific scene you really want done one way, send this to the illustrator once they are picked, rather than to the publisher when you are pitching.
- The average word count for a children’s book can vary between 200-700 words, but some early reader books can reasonably have a word count over 1k.
- If you are an illustrator, put together a portfolio and seek out a publisher rather than an individual author.
- Join Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators: http://www.scbwi.org
- Consider investing in this guide by Writer’s Digest: http://www.writersdigestshop.com/childrens-writers-and-illustrators-market-2017?source=igodigital
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Kim Batchelor is a recent graduate of University of Michigan and avid consumer of media. She is the Buzz Manager at BookHive and is working on creating her own blog.