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How To Publish Children's Books
How To Publish a Children's Book
Children's books are all the rage these days. Series such as the Harry Potter books, The Chronicles of Narnia, and the Series of Unfortunate Events books have already begun making their way to the silver screen after selling millions of copies around the world. Other books are in the process of being transitioned into film, and even more are simply becoming national and international hits with readers of all ages.
With the huge success of so many children's books, perhaps you're thinking that you should try writing one of your own. It's important to keep in mind that just because these books are being written for children, it doesn't make them easy to write. Of course, you shouldn't let this stop you from trying your hand at being a published children's book author. To begin, here are a few things that you should remember to help you along your way.
Contacting Book Publishers
Send an inquiry directly to a specific editor unless you were given other instructions in the submissions guidelines. Include a synopsis of your story and let them know that you have samples available if they want them; never send a whole manuscript unsolicited (unless instructed to do so in the contact information).
The following sections should appear in a query letter to a publisher:
If you want to have the book illustrated, mention that in your inquiry. In almost all cases, the publisher that prints your book will find an illustrator, and it is generally considered to be in bad taste for the author to submit illustrations with his initial manuscript. If you have a specific illustrator in mind or have some pictures ready, however, be sure to mention this to the publisher so that they might consider it.
Mail inquiries to several different publishers at the same time (and make sure that you let them know you've submitted other inquiries as well). Be sure to include self-addressed stamped envelopes with each, so that they'll have an easy way to reply to you. It's also important that you make sure that the publishers that you're submitting to accept simultaneous submissions; while most do, there are a few that prefer exclusive submissions. This information will be found in the submission guidelines for each publisher. (If you want to submit to one that doesn't accept simultaneous submissions, submit to them individually and wait for them to reply before you submit to other publishers.)
The following is a basic query letter format to a children's book agent:
Be prepared to wait weeks or possibly even months before hearing back from publishers.
How to Submit a Children's Book Manuscript
While all publishers are different, there is a basic manuscript format you want to adhere to. The following is a sample of a format:
As you work, make sure that you treat your readers (your book's target audience) as people. Instead of talking down to them as though they were "just children,” let them know they are important as well. Write the books at their level, but make sure that you respect that level.
Once you've finished your manuscript, you need to find potential publishers. Use an Internet search such as Google to look for “children's book publishers.” Or you can use a specialized reference such as the Writer's Market guides or an equivalent website to search for publishers specifically by name.
If no one buys your manuscript, you can either take the opportunity to make revisions based on any feedback you may have received or you can submit more inquiries to other publishers. Persistence is the key to writing and publishing children's books.Caution:
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