If you have come upon this post because you have a completed children’s book manuscript, then I have this to say to you:
Cue the parade! Pop the champagne!
I’m serious. Finishing writing your story is a huge accomplishment. You need to treat it like one.
Your Next Steps
Unless you are one of those freakishly fast writers who can churn out stories as if they were a direct download from the great story depot in the sky, it probably took you a long time to get your children’s book manuscript written.
And if you have also taken your story and revised it several times, had it thoroughly critiqued, and feel it is polished to a shine, you are probably ready for the next step: finally getting it published!
Well, I really do hope you celebrated thoroughly–because you are about to enter the next major phase of the process, and you need to be ready.
I am going to proceed under the assumption that you are at least considering traditional publishing, and that’s why you are reading this post. If you are still on the fence about whether to go the self publishing or traditional publishing route, this information will still be useful.
Choosing Which Path to Take
After all the time and effort you went through to get your story written and thoroughly polished to a shine, you are probably wanting to get this show on the road. If you want to be traditionally published, you have two routes you can take.
You can start looking for an agent.
You can start looking to submit directly to publishers.
I do think at this point you may find the whole process of trying to get an agent completely deflating. Because the process of trying to land an agent and trying to get a publishing contract are very, very similar.
Both processes take a fair amount of time and effort. Both paths are often long and filled with rejection.
If you are impatient to get published, you may find the idea of going straight to a publisher attractive.
Seeking a Publisher Without an Agent
There certainly are advantages to going through the submission process on your own. You are basically skipping a step. And you don’t have to share your advance and royalties with an agent.
One huge downside to not having an agent is that many publishers do not accept unagented submissions. This includes all the large New York publishing houses (the big five, which could possibly become the big four if they are allowed to merge).
But don’t fret! There are many publishers, mostly small, independent houses, that are open to submissions. If you are okay with a smaller publisher (and there are lots of reasons to not only be okay with one, but to even prefer one), then being unagented is less of a downside.
So who are these publishers?
I Made You a List
There are a few websites that contain lists of publishers who have an open submission policy. But rather than send you to them, I decided to put together an updated list myself.
I have put together a list of 39 publishers that have either an open submission policy, or have designated months during which they accept unagented submissions.
If you are about to fire up your computer to mass-submit to these publishers–
Don’t do that. Please, I am begging you.
You Must do You Research
It is EXTREMELY important that you research each of these publishers carefully. I have included a brief description of each publisher and the kind of books they publish. This is to help you quickly assess whether to investigate them further.
Also, every publisher on this list accepted unagented manuscripts when I wrote this post. Please check to make sure that is still the case, as this can change at any time.
Because most of these are small houses, they generally have a narrow focus on the type of books they publish. It is very important that you study what that focus is for each publisher. You will just be wasting your time and theirs if you submit your nonfiction picture book to a publisher that only publishes middle grade and young adult books, for example.
Also, once you determine that your manuscript is a good fit, very carefully read the submission guidelines. Each publisher is different and if you do not follow their guidelines exactly, it will very likely be grounds for elimination.
Reputable Publishers Only, Please
Finally, I have done my best to only include publishers who are known to be reputable on this list. However, I am not familiar with each and every one of them. To be honest, some of these are more well-established than others.
I have placed an asterisk next to publishers that I personally can vouch for. I have either worked with them, or know someone who has been published by them. This doesn’t mean the other publishers are questionable. It’s just that I am not familiar with them.
Okay, are you ready? Here is: 39 Children’s Book Publishers Who Take Unagented Submissions:
You do NOT need to provide an email to access the document. It’s a direct download.
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And again, if you are looking for my 39 Children’s Book Publishers Who Take Unagented Submissions, click on the title and it will be a direct download. I hope it is helpful!