Five Ways to Find the Right Publisher for Your Book

The (Almost) Shortest-Ever Blog Series

In today’s news…I’m announcing the conclusion of the shortest-ever blog “series”—if you can even call it a series when it includes only five posts.

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I like the idea of featuring different publishers who accept unagented submissions, but the more time I’ve spent on it, the more convinced I’ve become that this series wasn’t the most effective place for me to put my time.

The problem is that I don’t feel like I have a lot of value to add. It’s not actually that difficult to locate information about publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts. With a little digging, you can come up with editor interviews, Amazon rankings, books published, market needs, etc.—and even if I sum up that info here, because this is the kind of information that changes from week to week. You’ll need to do your research anyway.

So: today’s post marks the official end of our series on small publishers. I won’t be profiling individual publishing companies from here out. I will, however, leave you with this list of how to find and evaluate publishers when you are ready to start submitting.

Five Ways to Find the Right Publisher

image1. Big Six Publishers

  • A few accept unagented submissions, but your manuscript will fall into a huge slush pile and may never emerge again. Be forewarned.
  • Increase your chances (and up your odds) by meeting editors at conferences.
  • Get to know the imprints and how they differ from one another.
  • It’s okay to submit to two different imprints at the same house, but probably not at the same time.
  • It’s NOT okay to submit to two different editors at the same imprint—a “no” from one is a “no” from all of them.
  • Many will respond only if interested.
  • Many will only look at agented submissions or submissions from authors they met at writing conferences. This means they have fewer manuscripts to wade through.

2. Start with a list of publishers’ websites, like this list of children’s book publishers, to streamline your search.

3. Start with a market guide, such as the 2012 Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market.

4. Peruse bookstore shelves for similar titles to find publishers that might be interested in your work.

5. Finally: always, always, always check the publisher’s websites. Market information changes quickly; just because a third-party website says that a publisher accepts unagented submissions doesn’t meant that they still do. Find their submission guidelines. FOLLOW them. Trust me, editors do NOT appreciate cutesy tricks such as singing telegrams, confetti, or pastel paper.

Each publishing house and imprint has its own personality, so just because a publisher accepts young adult fantasy doesn’t mean they will appreciate all young adult fantasy. Look at their most recent catalog. Pick up copies of their recent books at the library or your local bookstore, or download the free samples on Kindle. (Note: you don’t need a Kindle for this—you can run a Kindle app on your laptop or desktop machine)

If you take time to research different houses and different imprints, you might just find the right home for your manuscript!

TRANSMEDIA3

This May and June, we’re taking a look at this “new” buzzword in the writing industry, transmedia storytelling–what it is, how it works, and how you can use  transmedia storytelling techniques to reach more readers and provide readers with a deeper, richer story experience. Posts will share plenty of examples, as well as ideas for ways to incorporate a […]

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I just returned from the Rocky Mountain Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators 2014 fall conference – and it may have been my best conference experience yet. I know, I know: I think I say that every year! But this particular year seemed to deliver exactly what I needed, leaving me recharged, filled with ideas […]

Comments

  1. says

    This is a very helpful post, Cheryl, and something I’ve been asked about a lot. I’m going to tweet it if I can figure out how :)

  2. says

    Nice! I have to say, your second tip is a good one. I have friends who’ve been able to get around the slush pile by pitching to editors in person. It’s smart!

    • says

      It’s a huge help to meet editors in person. Yet another reason to attend a conference, right?

  3. says

    Five posts isn’t a blog series? That does seem like the right length for one, since it can be drawn out into a month of weekly posts.

  4. says

    You guys beat me to it, I was going to mention that meeting editors at conferences is also a good way to go directly to a publisher. And I agree with the previous commenter who said that five posts is a fine number for a series!

  5. Born27 says

    Hi Cheryl!
    Good to hear this tips from you.. This will be a great help if ever I decided to publish the book I am actually starting.
    Big thanks!

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