Sunday, April 8, 2018

21 American and Canadian children’s and young adult book publishers accepting unagented manuscripts

Note: I originally posted this piece in April 2017, so if you come across anything that's out of date, please leave a Comment for others, but this is such a popular and helpful piece, I'd thought I'd re-post it. For more recent postings about book publishers and journals seeking children's lit, see here (and scroll down). ~Brian 
Note: I'll be leading a Writing for Children & for Young Adult mini-workshop on Saturday, Sept 22, in Oakville with Yasemin  Uçar, Senior Editor at Kids Can Press. Details here
For updated listings of Writing for Children & for Young adult workshops and for weekly Kid lit classes, see here (and scroll down).

If you can get an agent, I think it’s usually a good idea and there are many agents representing authors of children’s books, especially middle grade and young adult. Start your search for the right agent for your children's or young adult book here. If you prefer to go it alone,though, or can’t get an agent, here are 21 American and Canadian publishers of children's and YA books who accept unagented authors:

Annick Press (15 Patricia Avenue, Toronto, ON  m3m 1H9) publishes books by Canadian authors for children ages six months to twelve years and for young adults, though at the moment Annick is not accepting picture book manuscripts.
Teen Fiction: Annick Press invites writers to submit proposals for teen novels which possess a high degree of originality and capture strong and distinctive contemporary voices. There should be creativity in the use of language—language that is lively, dramatic and vivid. The story must involve and stimulate the reader. It is essential that it have authentic dialogue and richly visualized settings. The reader must see the real teen experience reflected through the story line. We encourage the use of appropriate and well-timed humor.
Please mail a synopsis, together with a sample chapter. (No email submissions.)
Middle Reader Fiction: Annick Press seeks middle reader fiction (8 – 11) which captures the imagination of readers and readily engages their interest. The story must be memorable, well-written and notable for its originality. Humor, even if used occasionally, is an asset. The characters in the novel should come to life for the reader and the settings must be vivid and rich in detail. We look for gripping action, even though it may be delivered in a subtle form. Stories should involve the reader while simultaneously provoking thought and reflection. 
Please mail a synopsis, together with a sample chapter. (No email submissions.)
Nonfiction for mid-grade and teen readers: The degree of originality in an idea or in the approach to a subject is key to our non-fiction program. The subject matter must have inherent appeal to the readership. The key is to combine the skills of a fiction writer, including narrative techniques, to draw the reader into the text. At the same time, there must be a dedication to accuracy—fictionalization is not a stylistic option. The text should encourage the reader’s natural sense of wonder, and avoid any tendency to become didactic. Attention should be given to little-known details that serve to fascinate the reader and encourage further exploration. The work should have a distinctive voice that uses language in an engaging and lively manner. The topic must be thoroughly researched and a passion for the subject matter must be evident. The writing level must be age appropriate. 
Please mail a synopsis, together with a sample chapter. (No email submissions.) Annick Press also uses illustrators.
Full submission guidelines here.

Arthur A. Levine Books (U.S.) was founded in 1996 as an imprint of Scholastic Press. Since then, they have produced more than one hundred seventy-nine works of hardcover literary fiction and nonfiction for children, teenagers, and adults. 
SubmissionsPicture Books: Query letter + the full text; 
Novels: Query letter + the first two chapters + synopsis; 
Other: Query letter + five page samples (five poems, five nonfiction pages, etc.); 
Illustration: Three sample illustrations via attachment, and links to online portfolios. Do not send full manuscripts.
Full submission guidelines here.

August House (U.S.) focuses on world folktales and the art and uses of storytelling. 
Submissions are by regular post only. Please review their guidelines  their before contacting them about publishing your work. They do not respond unless they are interested.

Capstone (U.S.) publishes both fiction and nonfiction books for struggling and reluctant readers. They have four imprints and three separate divisions with over 3,000 books in print. 
Most of Capstone's books are produced in-house, but they are also interested in receiving writers’ manuscripts and reviewing artists' portfolios. Fiction submissions should be sent via email, nonfiction by regular post only. They respond only if they are interested. See guidelines here.

Charlesbridge (U.S.) publishes both picture books and transitional “bridge books” (books ranging from early readers to middle-grade chapter books). Nonfiction books focus on nature, science, social studies, and multicultural topics. Fiction titles include lively, plot-driven stories with strong, engaging characters. 
Please submit only one or two manuscript(s) at a time. For picture books, please send a complete manuscript. For fiction books longer than 30 manuscript pages, please send a detailed plot synopsis, a chapter outline, and three chapters of text. For nonfiction books longer than 30 manuscript pages, please send a detailed proposal, a chapter outline, and one to three chapters of text. Regular mail only. No simultaneous submissions.
Read guidelines here.

Coteau Books (2517 Victoria Ave, Regina, Sk S4P 0T2) is a literary press and a children's publisher. For adults, it publishes novels; short fiction collections; poetry; drama and nonfiction. For children, it publishes novels for young readers aged 9 – 12 and novels for teens 13 – 15, and for teens 15 and up. They don’t publish kids’ picture books. 
To see what they prefer, check out their previously published books. Also, they'll send you a copy of their current catalogue upon request.
Query Coteau by mail (not email) and include a brief sample of your work. No more than 20 pages. Coteau evaluates all submissions and will get back to you if they want to see your whole manuscript.
Coteau only publishes authors who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
Full submission guidelines here.

Free Spirit (U.S.) publishes nonfiction books and learning materials for children and teens, parents, educators, counselors, and others who live and work with young people. They do not publish fiction.
Proposals to be considered must be sent by mail (not by fax or email). Include the following: A cover letter briefly outlining your project, the intended audience (including age ranges), and your relevant expertise; A current résumé; A detailed chapter-by-chapter outline; At least two sample chapters. (If a full manuscript is available, you may send it.); A market analysis with a comprehensive listing of similar titles and detailed explanation of how your project differs from available products; A description of your personal promotion plan for the proposed book (including both in-person and social media outreach). Read guidelines here.

Great Plains Publications (Winnipeg,Manitoba) is a non-fiction publisher specializing in Prairie history and biography. Their mandate is to publish books that are written by Prairie authors (Note: their other imprints are open to authors from across Canada). 
Enfield & Wizenty is a literary imprint of Great Plains that publishes original novels and short story collections by Canadian writers at all career stages. Before submitting a manuscript, check out their backlist to decide if your work is likely to fit with our publishing program. While you may query us email, they do not accept email submissions of full manuscripts except by invitation; attachments should be in doc format only. 
Great Plains Teen Fiction primarily publishes contemporary and historical fiction from Canadian authors for readers age 14 to 16, and 15 to 18. Humour is appreciated, as is romance. Stories can be set anywhere, though they prefer stories set on this world, present or past. If you have been previously published by a traditional book publisher, you may query by email with a synopsis of your story, a short bio with your previous publications, and one to three chapters of your novel as a Word attachment. If you are an emerging author or self-published author, please send by standard mail a cover letter, synopsis, and the first one to three chapters of your book. 
Full submission guidelines here.

Harbour Publishing (Madeira Park, B.C.) is an independent book publisher owned and operated by Howard and Mary White. The company was established in 1974 and is based on British Columbia's Sunshine Coast. It publishes about twenty books a year in many genres, but mainly on topics concerning the west coast of British Columbia. 
Harbour also publishes children’s books, poetry, books concerning Canada’s north, and assorted other books with a wider range of interest than the west coast.
Harbour has published more than five hundred titles, including Raincoast Chronicles, a series of anthologies on BC coast history and culture, of which twenty have now been produced, and the bestselling, Fishing with John by Edith Iglauer.
Recent children's books from Harbour include Boys, Girls and Body Science and Fishing with Gubby.
Recent poetry releases include Patrick Lane's Witness: Selected Poems 1962-2010. Other titles include novels, gardening titles, art books, cookbooks and anthologies.
The press publishes books about life in Canada's North Under its Lost Moose imprint, including titles such asHouse Calls by Dogsled: Six Years in an Arctic Medical Outpost and The Boreal Gourmet: Adventures in Northern Cooking.
Submissions: Harbour accepts unsolicited manuscripts and regularly receives 1,000 per year, which they read as time permits. Submit a letter of inquiry which includes an outline, a bio, publication credits (if applicable) and a sample of the work. Manuscripts should be submitted on hard copy or by email as an attached MS-Word (.doc) file. 
Send your submission to:
Full submission guidelines here.

Heritage House (103 - 1075 Pendergast Street, Victoria, BC, V8V 0A1) began telling Canada's stories in 1969. Many of our books celebrate the pioneer spirit and colourful history of western Canada, particularly the Cariboo region in which the company's roots are founded. Others delve into contemporary themes, focusing on significant cultural, social, political, environmental and recreational subjects. 

Heritage House also has a range of full-colour pictorials and recreational guides, and a series of shorter narratives designed for younger readers, new Canadians and casual readers, called Amazing Stories. Heritage House publishes 20-30 new titles per year. Most of authors are Canadian citizens or residents, as the company’s mission is to publish and promote distinctive nonfiction works by Canadian authors. 
Full guidelines here.  
Heritage House is a member of The Heritage Group, an affiliation of five separate entities. In addition to Heritage House, it includes TouchWood EditionsBrindle & Glass and Rocky Mountain Books, which also publishes some children’s books (see below). By sharing select resources, The Heritage Group is better able to generate publicity, expand promotional activities and serve retail customers and readers alike

Holiday House (U.S.) specializes in hardcovers, from picture books to young adult, both fiction and nonfiction for ages four and up. They do not publish mass market books, including pop-ups, activity books, sticker books, coloring books, or licensed books. 
Holiday House only responds if they are interested in publishing your manuscript. Please send the entire manuscript, whether submitting a picture book or novel. All submissions should be directed to the Editorial Department, Holiday House, 425 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10017. No email or fax submissions. 
Full submission guidelines here.

Ideals Children’s Books (U.S.) publishes fiction and nonfiction picture books for children ages 4 to 8. Subjects include holiday, inspirational, and patriotic themes; relationships and values; and general fiction. Manuscripts should be no longer than 800 words.
CandyCane Press publishes board books and novelty books for children ages 2 to 5. Subject matter is similar to Ideals Children’s Books, with a focus on younger children. Manuscripts should be no longer than 250 words. Ideals magazine welcomes the opportunity to review your poetry or prose.
For Ideals or CandyCane, send complete manuscript to: 2630 Elm Hill Pike, Suite 100, Nashville, TN 37214.

Just Us Books and Marimba Books (U.S.) publishes children’s books that celebrate the diversity of Black history, culture and experiences, and Marimba publishes multicultural books. 
Just Us Books is currently accepting queries for chapter books and middle reader titles only. Please send a query letter pitching us your manuscript, 1-2 page synopsis of your manuscript, 3-5 sample pages of your manuscript, a brief author bio that includes any previously published work, self-addressed stamped envelope. Mail your query to: Submission Debt., Just Uss Books, P.O. Box 5306, East Orange, NJ 07019
Marimba is looking for fiction and nonfiction chapter books for children aged 8–12 (middle grades). Mail your query to: Submissions Dept., Marimba Books, P.O. Box 5306, East Orange, NJ 07019
Full submission guidelines here.

Kane Miller (U.S.) is expanding its picture book, chapter book, and middle-grade fiction lists. They are interested in all genres (mystery, fantasy, adventure, historical, etc.), especially those with particularly American subjects. 
Please send either the complete picture book manuscript, or a synopsis and two sample chapters of your fiction work. Electronic submissions accepted.
Full submission guidelines here.

Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario) is looking for “quality picture books and nonfiction manuscripts for children, as well as chapter books for ages 7–10. We do not accept young adult fiction or fantasy novels for any age. To ensure that your manuscript is appropriate for our publishing list, please familiarize yourself with the books that we publish.
“For picture book submissions, please send a copy of the entire manuscript. For chapter book submissions, we require a synopsis and approximately three sample chapters. Please do not send the entire manuscript unless requested to do so. No email submissions.
“You are welcome to send your proposal simultaneously to other publishers rather than submitting it exclusively to Kids Can Press.”
See the full writers’ guidelines here. See the guidelines for illustrators here.

Lerner Publishing Group (U.S.) is one of the nation’s largest independently owned children’s publishers with more than 5,000 books in print. Their Jewish-themed imprint, Kar-Ben, is the only division accepting submissions. 
Kar-Ben accepts unsolicited manuscripts by regular post only. Full submission guidelines here (scroll down page for PDF submission guidelines for fiction, nonfiction and illustrations).

OnStage Publishing (U.S.) publishes chapter books, middle grade novels and young adult novels. 
Fiction: If under 100 pages, submit the completed, double-spaced manuscript. If over 100 pages, submit the first three chapters and a plot summary. Cover letter with market analysis is required. Submissions may be sent via regular mail or email.
They do not publish picture books, short stories or poetry. Query first for non-fiction. They only publish fiction books for ages 8 to 18.
Full submission guidelines here.

Pajama Press was established in early 2011. A small literary press with big ideas, Pajama aims to publish titles of exceptional quality for children and teens of all ages. Pajama publishes picture books – both for the very young and for school-aged readers – and novels for middle grade readers and for young adults aged 12+. Pajama’s nonfiction titles typically contain a strong narrative element.
Query Pajama Press at:
Your query should include an overview of your book, information about your writing background, and an excerpt. Send the equivalent of one or two pages of your finished book—this means that novel excerpts will be considerably longer than those for picture books. The excerpt will give a taste of your writing style.
Full submission guidelines here.

Pants On Fire Press (U.S.) publishes picture, middle-grade and young adult books. They are always on the lookout for Action, Adventure, Animals, Comedic, Dramatic, Dystopian, Fantasy, Historical, Paranormal, Romance, Sci-fi, Supernatural and Suspense stories.
Pants on Fire is acquiring Chapter Books, Middle-grade and Young Adult fiction.
Full submission guidelines here.

Rocky Mountain Books (Calgary, Alberta) Since its inception in 1979 at the hands of renowned mountaineers Tony and Gillean Daffern, Rocky Mountain Books has been publishing books focused on mountain culture, outdoor adventure and "writing of place," including volumes on hiking, climbing, skiing and outdoor recreation; history, art, memoir, biography and travel; and environmental writing. 
“At RMB we ‘Think Outside.’” Rocky Mountain Books only accepts submissions relating to the following:
·                     Mountaineering & Alpinism
·                     Exploration & Discovery
·                     Adventure Travel & Eco-Tourism
·                     Eco-Politics & the Environment
·                     Aboriginal History & Issues
·                     Natural History
·                     Art & Photography
·                     Guidebooks (hiking, climbing, scrambling, winter sports)
·                     Children's Picture Books (in areas relating to the above topics)
·                     At this time, RMB does not accept fiction, poetry, drama, self-help, family histories, self-publishing endeavours or corporate histories.
Full manuscript guideline here and submission guidelines here.

Rocky Mountain Books is a member of The Heritage Group, an affiliation of five separate entities. In addition to our company, it includes our distribution partner, 
Heritage Group Distribution, and publishing houses TouchWood EditionsBrindle & Glass and Heritage House Publishing. By sharing select resources, The Heritage Group is better able to generate publicity, expand promotional activities and serve retail customers and readers alike.

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

Navigating tip: For more postings about Children’s Book Publishers, click on the button in the right-hand column under More Content, and scroll through the listings. Also, besides the buttons across the top of the page and in the right-hand column, other collections of postings can often be accessed by clicking on the Labels found beneath individual postings. 

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