Sunday, November 22, 2009

Researching Publishers of Children's Books

Researching publishers should be a one-step process, but it’s not. Using the CHILDREN’S WRITER’S AND ILLUSTRATOR’S MARKET used to be the only thing I looked at to research publishers. It’s great in that it gave me an overview of each publisher all in one book for easy reference. But the advice I kept hearing was, “always refer to the publisher’s website for updates and current needs” and “always study the kinds of books they publish.” So now I have a different approach that works for me. Below is my 10-step process to finding the right publishers for my manuscript.
Step 1: I browse through bookstores and libraries to read as many books as a can in my genre: picture books for ages 4-8.
Step 2: When I run into a book similar to my style of writing, I jot down the publisher of that book in my notebook.
Step 3: I Google and find the publisher’s website and study its contents to get an idea of who they are and the kinds of books they are looking for.

- about us
- recently published books
- their catalogue
-submission guidelines

Step 4: I request a copy of the catalogue, if available.
Step 5: I record the title and author of the other books in my genre that they recently published.
Step 6: I print out their submission guidelines and “about us” for my file, which I place in a binder, organized alphabetically.
Step 7: I go back to the bookstore and library and read the books that I listed from step 5 to
read more of their books similar to mines.
Step 8: I narrow down my publisher list to those that my manuscript is best suited for.
Step 9: I cross-check the submission guidelines and the publisher’s current needs to the ones printed in the CHILDREN’S WRITERS AND ILLUSTRATORS MARKET.
Step 10: I rewrite my cover letter or query and personalize it to each publisher.
Lastly, I prepare my manuscript package for submission & PRAY!

Publishers are very specific in the types of books that they acquire and sell. The diligence and research you put into selecting a publisher for your work will be worth the effort. By doing so, you are respecting the publisher’s time and yours. And the careful selection of publishers will increase your possibility of getting published.

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