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Cheryl Head Shot

Cheryl Reif

Cheryl lives and writes with her inspirational family, two energetic dogs, and a small mammal menagerie, all of which are fairly tame. She writes about cool science stuff for children and adults, daydreams about stories and characters 87% of the time, and tries not to plot novels while driving. You can also find Cheryl on Twitter @CherylRWrites, Pinterest., and Google. Come say hi!

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.

SteveD-period

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!

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