Children’s books are treated differently than other kinds in the business of publishing. The market is highly segmented with rigid requirements about reading level and age appropriateness. The number of words and pages are rigidly defined within each sector of children’s books. Having more than one book up your sleeve is important since serial books are more desirable than a single title. Marketing features matter and commercial tie-ins, cross-promotions and syndicated characters are par for the course. Unlike any other sector of the publishing industry, the purchaser of the book and its intended reader are not the same. Parents, teachers, and libraries buy books but children read them.
If you want to get your children’s book published, you will need a complete manuscript ready to submit before you send a query. Do not include illustrations or a full mock-up of your book. Most important to your book proposal is a marketing strategy. Who are your readers and how will you reach them?
The best reference you can buy on the subject of publishing children’s books is the Writer’s Digest publication, 2012 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market, edited by Chuck Sambuchino. For the best publishing tips, the first 175 pages are a gold mine.
In the 2012 edition of CWIM (the acronym used for this desk reference for the past 20 years), Sambuchino added lots of new instructional materials for authors. You’ll find interviews with best-selling authors, the basics for business, agent Do and Don’t tips, and insights into the way agents and editors think and what they want to read.
It’s a writer’s clinic in a book. How-to sections cover writing a query letter and synopsis, creating likeable characters, developing voice and following the path of revision to the road of publishing success. The directory of publishers, agents, contests, awards and grants is comprehensive and up to date.
When you purchase the book you are provided with a 1 year online subscription to the 2012 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market (dotcom). Click on “Sign Up Now” and you enter the scratch-off code on the inside cover of your paper edition.
Another bonus to buying the book is a free one hour webinar with Chuck Sambuchino that teaches you how to use the book and see your work in print. It’s a tool-kit and workshop in one.