Friday, June 8, 2018

Orca Books, Canadian publisher of Picture Books, Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction and other Kid Lit




Orca Books
1016 Balmoral Road
Victoria, BC

Founded in 1984, Orca Book Publishers is an independently owned Canadian children’s book publisher. With over 1,000 titles in print and more than 80 new titles a year, Orca prides itself on publishing Canadian authors (only) and bringing them to a wider market.

Orca Books is seeking manuscripts in the following genres:
  • Board Books
  • Picture Books
  • Orca Echoes: Early chapter books for ages 7-9
  • Middle Reader fiction: Ages 8-13
  • Orca Footprints: Ages 9 and up
  • Orca Currents: For reluctant readers ages 10-14, with a reading level of grade 2.0-4.5
  • Orca Soundings: For reluctant readers ages 12 and up, with a reading level of grade 2.0-4.5
  • Teen or Young Adult fiction: Ages 12 and up
  • Graphic Novels
  • Nonfiction
  • Rapid Reads

Email all submissions to: submissions@orcabook.com
Attach the manuscript (or partial manuscript) in a single, separate document. See particulars below…

 

Board Books

  • Manuscripts should have minimal text and be aimed at ages 0–24 months.
  • No art should be included with board book submissions unless you are a professional illustrator. Original art should never be included.
Please send submissions to the attention of Liz Kemp.

Picture Books

  • Good stories, well told. Any lesson or moral should be secondary to credible characters, an engaging plot and strong writing. The point of view should invite the child reader into the story.
  • Even if you have written a series, please send only one submission. We rarely publish sequels to our picture books, and then only if the first book has been very successful.
  • Picture book manuscripts should typically be 1,500 words or less.
  • No art should be included with picture book submissions unless you are a professional illustrator. Original art should never be included.
Complete manuscripts (no queries, please) should be sent to the attention of Liz Kemp.

Orca Echoes


  • Aimed at ages seven to nine
  • Contemporary stories or fantasy with a universal theme, a compelling, unified plot and a strong, sympathetic child protagonist who grows through the course of the story and solves the central problem him/herself
  • Currently seeking stories where humour, imagination and play are at the forefront
  • Any lesson or moral should be well-disguised, and secondary to an engaging plot, strong characters, and child-appeal
  • 6,000 to 8,000 words (max.)

  • Submissions should be sent in their entirety to the attention of Liz Kemp.

    Middle Reader fiction

    • Contemporary stories with a universal theme, a compelling, unified plot and a strong, sympathetic child protagonist who grows through the course of the story and solves the central problem themselves
    • 35,000 to 50,000 words
    • Target audience: readers for this genre can range anywhere from 8 to 13 years old. Please be clear about the target age group for your work in your cover letter.
    A cover letter and the first three (3) chapters should be sent to the attention of Tanya Trafford

    Orca Footprints

    • Straightforward books about the complex environmental issues that kids face every day. Each 48-page book aims to inspire kids to take action in any way they can.
    • Well-researched, simply-expressed information and powerful images to readers ages 9 and up who are asking questions about the state of the natural world.
    • 2,000 words (or less); approximately 60 photographs (with captions)
    Please submit QUERY ONLY to Sarah Harvey.

    Orca Currents

    • High-interest novels aimed at reluctant readers aged 10-14
    • Protagonists are between 12 and 14 years old and should be appealing and believable.
    • These stories should have middle-school-appropriate story lines (family issues, humor, sports, adventure, mystery/suspense, fantasy, etc.).
    • 14,000 to 16,000 words, 12 to 16 chapters.
    A cover letter, a short (100–200 words) synopsis and a chapter-by-chapter outline should be sent to the attention of Tanya Trafford.

    Orca Soundings

    • High-interest novels aimed at reluctant readers aged 12 and up
    • Protagonists are between 14 and 17 years old and should be appealing and believable.
    • These stories should reflect the universal struggles that young people face. They need not be limited to "gritty" urban tales. Can include adventures, mystery/suspense, performing arts, romance, sport, and fantasy.
    • 14,000 to 16,000 words, 12 to 16 chapters
    A cover letter, a short (100–200 words) synopsis and a chapter-by-chapter outline should be sent to the attention of Tanya Trafford.

    Teen or Young Adult Fiction

    • Issue-oriented contemporary stories exploring a universal theme, with a compelling, unified plot and strong, sympathetic protagonist(s)
    • Well-researched stories dealing with or taking their inspiration from historical subjects, but not thinly disguised history lessons
    • 40,000 to 60,000 words
    • Submissions should include a cover letter, synopsis and the first 3 or 4 chapters only.


    Graphic Novels


    • We are looking for stories for all ages that can be told in graphic novel format. We are not looking for manga and anime.
    • Submissions should include a cover letter, synopsis and full text of the story. The more complete the submission, the better. If you are working with an illustrator, please include samples of their work and any finished art (copies only).

    Nonfiction

    • Orca publishes a very limited selection of nonfiction titles. We are looking for unique, stand-alone projects that will have broad appeal to young North American readers.
    • Material should be appropriate for juvenile and young adult readers.
    • Query first, please. DO NOT send outlines, sample chapters, complete manuscripts or illustrations.
    Queries should be sent to the attention of Sarah Harvey


    Rapid Reads


    • Plots should involve contemporary, straightforward stories using a linear narrative format (little or no use of flashbacks) and the action should take place over a relatively short time frame.
    • 12,000—20,000 words
    • Written in simple language with limited use of complex sentences and multiple clauses A small cast of characters is most effective.
    • Your initial submission should include a brief synopsis, a sample chapter, a detailed chapter outline and an author biography.
    Send submissions to the attention of Ruth Linka, Associate Publisher

    Email all submissions to: submissions@orcabook.com
    Attach the manuscript (or partial manuscript) in a single, separate document.
    See full guidelines here. See also Guidelines for Illustrators.

    See many more listings of publishers looking for children’s and YA books here (and scroll down) and especially here for nine Canadian and British kid lit publishers that don’t require an agent and here for twenty-one American and Canadian kid lit publishers that you can approach without an agent.

    Author Jennifer Mook-Sang at home signing bookmarks
    If you’re interested in Writing for Children & for Young Adults, Brian Henry will lead a mini-conference with Yasemin U├žar, senior editor at Kids Can Press, children’s author Kira Vermond, and YA author Tanaz Bhathena, Saturday, Sept 22, in Oakville (see here).

    He'll lead a Writing Kid Lit weekly course on Friday afternoons, Oct 5 – Nov 30 in Toronto with picture book and middle grade author Jennifer Mook-Sang and nonfiction children's author Kira Vermond (see here).

    And he'll lead a Writing for Children & for Young Adults workshop Saturday, October 12, in Sudbury (see here). 

    For updated listings of Writing for Children & for Young adult workshops and for weekly Kid lit classes, see here (and scroll down).

    See Brian’s complete current schedule hereincluding writing workshops, weekly writing classes, and weekend retreats in Algonquin Park, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Cambridge, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Saint John, NB, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

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