By Stephanie Bearce
Are you an author trying to get your manuscript published? You've done everything right - revised, rewritten, sent it through critique groups. Everyone agrees, your story is ready to go!
So how do you get your book published?
Should you start the agent search? Look for publishers? Start on a new project?
My advice is all of the above.
Whenever I finish one project, I immediately start on a new one. Career writers know that you can't depend on every manuscript getting published. You need to keep generating new material. Plus, both agents and editors like to know what else you have in your files!
If you are at the point where you have a finished novel, or a couple of full nonfiction proposals for MG/YA, or three to four perfected picture books, then you are ready for the agent search. But the reality is - finding an agent takes a lot of work and TIME. And sometimes, especially when writing nonfiction, your project can be time sensitive. You need to get it in front of an editor as soon as possible. In this case you may want to submit directly to open publishers.
I have an amazing agent and I am grateful to be her client. But before I signed with my agent, I sold 28 books on my own. (and this wasn't a hundred years ago) It is possible to sell your work directly to editors. You may find that getting an offer on your manuscript will even help you find an agent!
Submitting to publishers yourself is definitely something to consider for unagented authors. I have done the research for you and located publishing houses open to submissions. I've even given you the links to their submission guidelines.
Your mission - should you choose to accept it - is to find the publisher that is looking for your type of manuscript. Researching the publisher is just as important as researching for the perfect agent.
I would love to answer questions you may have. Put them in the comment section ans I will do my best to give helpful answers.
I wish you publishing success!
Children’s Book Publishers Open for Submissions
Albert Whitman https://www.albertwhitman.com/submission-guidelines-for-unrepresented-authors/
Allen and Unwin https://www.allenandunwin.com/about-allen-and-unwin/submission-guidelines
Andrews McMeel https://publishing.andrewsmcmeel.com/submissions/
Annick Press https://www.annickpress.com/Submission-Guidelines
August House https://www.augusthouse.com/submissions-guidelines
Beyond Words Press https://beyondword.com/pages/manuscript-submissions
Cider Mill Press https://www.cidermillpress.com/pages/submissions
Chicago Review Press https://www.chicagoreviewpress.com/information-for-authors--amp--agents-pages-100.php
Chronicle Books https://www.chroniclebooks.com/pages/submissions
Dover Publications https://www.doverpublications.com/faq/contacting-dover#EDITSUB
Entangled Publishing https://entangledpublishing.com/submission-information
Flashlight Press http://flashlightpress.com/submission-guidelines/
Fly Away Books https://www.flyawaybooks.com/submissions
Flying Eye Books https://flyingeyebooks.com/flying-eye/submissions/
Gibbs Smith https://www.gibbs-smith.com/submissions
Hogs Back Books http://www.hogsbackbooks.com/HBB/pages/About-us.html
Holiday House https://holidayhouse.com/faqs/
Judaica Press https://www.judaicapress.com/pages/submissions
Just Us Books https://justusbooks.com/pages/resource-center/submission-guidelines.html
Kids Can Press https://www.kidscanpress.com/writers
Laurence King https://www.laurenceking.com/getting-published/
Lee and Low https://www.leeandlow.com/writers-illustrators/writing-guidelines
Levine Querido https://www.levinequerido.com/submissions
Lion Hudson https://www.lionhudson.com/authors-and-illustrators/prospective-authors
Magination Press https://maginationpress.apabooks.org/?page_id=15
Mighty Media Press http://www.mightymediapress.com/submissions.html
New Frontier Books https://www.newfrontier.com.au/submission-guidelines
No Brow https://nobrow.net/flying-eye/submissions/?from=fe
Pants on Fire Press https://pantsonfirepress.com/submissions
Page Street Publishing https://www.pagestreetpublishing.com/submission-guidelines
Pelican Publishing https://www.arcadiapublishing.com/ContactUs/MakeMeAnAuthor
Penny Candy Books https://www.pennycandybooks.com/submit
Salaam Reads https://salaamreads.com/
Sky Pony Press https://www.skyhorsepublishing.com/sky-pony-press/submissions/
Tanglewood Publishing https://www.tanglewoodbooks.com/submissions/
Thames and Hudson https://thamesandhudson.com/page/getting-published
Tilbury House https://www.tilburyhouse.com/submissions
Andrea Somberg loves variety in her reading and in the genres she represents. As a literary agent for Harvey Klinger, INC., her clients include writers of nonfiction, science fiction, romance, picture books, middle grade, and young adult. Andrea's clients have nominated for The Edgar Award, The Governor General’s Award, the Lambda Award, and named best books of the year by NY Public Library and Book of the Month Club.
She is on the look out for nonfiction that look at the world in a new, unusual way, or that give her insight into a topic that she's not familiar with.
Nonfiction Ninjas are excited to have a conversation with the incredible Ms. Somberg.
Why did you become a literary agent?
I’ve always loved to read — it’s my one, true passion in life — but it wasn’t until college that I realized it could become a career (before that I thought I might go into social work). I interned for a literary agency and loved everything about it — advocating for authors, working in a community where everyone loves books, and helping projects find their way out into the world.
What excites you most about working in publishing?
I love the excitement of reading a new proposal or manuscript, of thinking that this could be something I fall completely in love with or that could change my perspective on things. But I really love all aspects of my job — pitching projects, negotiating contracts, forging relationships with others who love books. I also love how the publishing industry is constantly changing — it keeps me on my toes! -- and I'm always on the look out for new opportunities for my clients and their work.
What are you looking for in nonfiction projects?
I love books that shine a light on topics in a fun way or that teach readers something they didn't know, especially if there is an interactive element. I also love books that engage the reader in someone else’s life, that give them a window into what it's like to live in a different place or time, and that helps to expand their world.
Are there specific topics that interest you?
I am very interested in OwnVoices projects and books that help the reader better understand an experience that might not be their own. I am also particularly interested in books that encourage kids to get involved in the world around them, to engage with their community and their environment, and to follow their passions.
What trends are you seeing in the industry?
Years ago it was hard to get books published by underrepresented voices but I’m happy to say that that’s changed. The Own Voices movement continues to gain momentum and we have been seeing this reflected on publishers’ lists.
Who is your ideal client?
Someone who is passionate about books.
Are you more interested in PB, MG, YA, or all three?
I tend to do more MG and YA, however I would love to find more OwnVoices PB.
What do you want to see in a nonfiction proposal?
The competitive books section is very important — I want to know what other books are out there, and how your book is different. Why is there a need for it? I also want to know more about you. Who are you and why are you interested in this topic? What is your background, your credentials? Do you have a promotional platform? (In other words, why are you the best person to be writing this book?). For children’s nonfiction, promotional platform isn’t necessarily as important for adult nonfiction, however it can certainly help. For more narrative-driven books ,such as memoir or biography, .the more sample material you have, the better.
What are some of your favorite kidlit nonfiction books?
There are so many I love! But if I have to name a few: for MG I love Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s Hey, Kiddo and Ben Brooks’ Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different; for YA, Dashka Slater’s The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime that Changed Their Lives and Joanna Spathis’s Wake, Rise, Resist: The Progressive Teen's Guide to Fighting Tyrants and A*holes; and for PB, Jacqueline Woodson’s When You Begin and Ibram X. Kendi’s Antiracist Baby.
What advice can you give to people who want to break into the nonfiction market?
Do your research. If you are interested in a topic, learn what else is out there. Make sure that your book is different, that it fills a hole in the marketplace and that there is a need for it. And then make the best case as to why you are the best person to write it.
And last but not least – are you a dog person or a cat person? And do you have a pet?
Both! Growing up I had several dogs, but when I married I inherited two cats (who have unfortunately passed away). No pets at the moment but I’m sure that will change soon.
Do you think Andrea might be the perfect agent for you? Email your submission to email@example.com
Please send along a query letter and the opening five pages of your manuscript.
We are nonfiction authors who support readers and writers through our writing, author visits, and workshops.
Disclaimer: The Nonfiction Ninjas are a group of writers with diverse ideas . The views expressed in each post are those of the author and may differ from others in the group.