Your children's book has been revised and edited, so now it's ready to be published! Fortunately, a number of children's book publishers accept unsolicited manuscripts from writers, with or without an agent. Before submitting to any publisher, review their catalog to determine if your book fits. Check each publisher's submission requirements and follow them exactly.
ABDO publishes nonfiction and fiction titles for schools and libraries for grades PreK - 12, as well as personal interest titles. They have several divisions, though not all of them accept unsolicited work. Two of their divisions (Epic Press and Magic Wagon) do accept unsolicited manuscripts.
- Epic Press publishes young adult (ages 14 - 17) fiction series that are bold, mature, edgy and emotional. Their titles include the Killers series and the Texas Fridays series.
- Magic Wagon publishes fiction series for PreK through eighth grades that blend imagination with original storylines. Their publications include the Band Geeks series and the Box Car Children graphic novels.
If your book fits in one of these divisions, submit your query letter and entire manuscript via email to email@example.com. The maximum size for attachments is 10 MB. Per their guidelines for submission, be sure to specify which division your work should be considered for.
Albert Whitman & Co.
Albert Whitman & Co. has a sizeable catalog of children's titles that includes picture books (ages 0 - 6), chapter books (ages five - 10), and fiction for middle-grade (ages 11 - 13) and teens (ages 14 - 17). This publisher has an open submission policy and is actively seeking picture books, as well as middle-grade, and young adult (teen) fiction.
All submissions should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include a cover letter in the body of the email with your contact information. Attach your manuscript as a PDF or Word document not to exceed 4 MB.
Specific submission guidelines vary for each type of manuscript. The subject line of your email must be formatted according to individual category guidelines. For example, if submitting a picture book your subject line should read, "PICTURE BOOK: (story title) by (author name). Emails that do not use the proper subject line formatting may not be read.
Boyds Mills Press
Boyds Mills Press publishes imaginative, socially conscious, educational fiction and non-fiction titles for children of all ages. They welcome unsolicited manuscripts and are actively seeking picture books, middle-grade fiction and nonfiction, poetry and teen nonfiction.
When submitting to Boyds Mill Press, you will be directed to Highlights.submittable.com to upload your manuscript. Read their submission requirements carefully because they're different for each book category. For all categories except poetry, they ask that you include a bibliography, documentation that an expert has reviewed your manuscript, and information on other books similar to the one you are proposing.
Cameron Kids publishes primarily picture books for kids between the ages of three and seven. They focus on fun and engaging stories. Because they are a small publishing company, they publish only six titles per year. They welcome unsolicited submissions. Their submission/contact page states, "We love to see poetic, highly visual, picture book stories-think spare and lyrical, not necessarily end-rhyming-and compelling picture book and board book concepts." They also accept submissions of "creative nonfiction."
If your book seems to be a good fit, submit the manuscript (or a brief query for fiction) in the body of an email to Amy Novesky, Children's Book Editor, at email@example.com. You can also submit your manuscript by mail with a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) to Cameron + Company, 149 Kentucky Street, Suite 7, Petaluma, CA 94952. Mailed submissions without SASEs will be recycled. They respond to each submission within four weeks.
Capstone Young Readers
Capstone Young Readers and its imprints publish children's fiction, nonfiction, interactive books and audio books. They publish picture books (ages 4 - 8), young readers (ages 7 - 11), middle readers (ages 7 - 12), graphic novels (ages 7 - 12), non-fiction picture books (ages 4 - 12), and young adult fiction (ages 14 - 17). To find a list of titles they've published visit their consumer page. The majority of titles are conceptually developed in-house and written by freelance writers, though they do accept manuscripts and writing samples.
Submission procedures are different for fiction and nonfiction.
- Fiction: Send your submission via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the body of the email, include sample chapters, your resume, and list of previous credits, if applicable. Do not send any attachments.
- Nonfiction: Send your submission via U.S. mail. Include your resume, cover letter, and up to three writing samples. Mail your packet to Editorial Director, Capstone Nonfiction, 1710 Roe Crest Drive, North Mankato, MN 56003.
Holiday House publishes only children's books, including both fiction and nonfiction. They specialize in quality hardcovers, including picture books (ages 0 - 6), chapter books (ages 5 - 9), middle grade (ages 11 - 13), and young adult (ages 14 - 17). To get an idea of the types of books they publish visit their catalog of new releases. That they do not publish mass-market books such as pop-ups, activity books, sticker books, coloring books, or licensed books.
To submit your work, send your entire manuscript via U.S. mail to Editorial Department, Holiday House, 425 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10017. They do not return manuscripts, so don't include a SASE.
Kane Miller Press
Kane Miller Press, a division of EDC Publishing, publishes picture books (ages 0 - 7), chapter books (ages 6 - 9), and middle-grade fiction (ages 11 -13) in all genres (mystery, fantasy, adventure, etc.), particularly those with American subjects.
They are actively looking to expand their picture book list. They also accept chapter books and middle-grade fiction focusing on community experiences. For this type of book, they prefer stories written from firsthand experience. Their guidelines for submissions include additional details about current submission preferences.
If you have a manuscript that fits their list, submit it via email to email@example.com. In the body of your email, include a short cover letter, the complete manuscript or a synopsis and sample chapter, the book's word count, and your professional bio (three to five sentences). Do not send any attachments. Address your submission to "The Editors."
Mighty Media Press
Mighty Media Press publishes picture books (ages 0 - 6), junior readers (ages 4 - 11), and middle-grade (ages 11 - 13) fiction and nonfiction. They are looking for captivating books and media that ignite a child's curiosity, imagination, social awareness, and sense of adventure. They'll only publish books that fit all four parts of this mission.
In order to send a submission to Mighty Media Press, you must provide an email address on their submissions page. Once you do that, they will send you a link where you will need to upload your cover letter, a synopsis, and up to 30 pages of your book.
Phaidon publishes illustrated books for young children (ages 0 - 8), including picture books, novelty books, and board books. Quality must be commensurate with the Phaidon brand, so make sure to check out their store to get an idea what they like.
While they do accept unsolicited submissions, you should be aware that Phaidon gives priority goes to agent submissions. Submit your query letter, book proposal, and entire manuscript via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finding Additional Publishers
While this list can help you get started, it is not all-inclusive. You can find additional publishers accepting unsolicited manuscripts in Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market 2018. The book costs around $15, though you may be able to find a copy in the reference section of your local library.
Another option is to join Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) for their version of the children's writer's market, which is called The Book. An associate membership costs $95 for the first year ($80 annual renewal). As a member, you will also receive discounts to their conferences and workshops, as well as other resources that give you access to editors and publishing houses.