How To Publish Children Books? Best Full Guide [2022]

How To Publish Children Books

There are many benefits to reading with your child. Reading to children has many benefits. It can help develop their social skills, stimulate their imagination, and form the foundations for their learning abilities. Reading is essential to a successful career. Children can avoid underachieving by acquiring basic skills in infancy. Many people are eager to publish books for children to encourage the development of many generations. How to publish children books? Below are the top ways Penn Book can help you.

How To Publish Children Books?

Children Books

1. Know the market

When you write your book, it is crucial to know your audience. This is also important when selling it. An editor will want to determine if the book is a good fit for their audience. Your understanding of publishing will help you to communicate your knowledge and be a good collaborator.

What age are ranges available for books for children?

Children’s fiction can be divided into four groups:

  • Picture Books: Under 6 Years Old, less than 1,000 Words
  • Early Readers for 6+ Years: 2,000-5,000 words
  • Chapter Books: 7-9 Years Old, 5,000-10,000 words
  • Middle Grade (MG), 9-12 year olds, 30,000-50,000 words
  • Young Adult (YA), 12-18 years, 50,000-100,00 words

Modern editors are very serious about word count. Editors rarely have the time or resources to edit all of their books. If you write a middle-grade novel with 200,000 words, editors will often think, “Who needs that level of stress?” and then give up.

Register for this free online course at Reedsy Learning to learn more about the writing process for each category of children’s publishing.

Do your market research

It is important to be able to see what the bookstores are selling. While you can scan Amazon’s Best Sellers list is great; going to a Barnes & Noble will give a better idea of the ongoing trends. Brick and mortar shops still account for a significant portion of the market for children’s books, and parents prefer them more than online retailers.

Put on your spy hat, and head to the bookstore’s children’s section. Take notes and locate the shelf where your book is located (e.g., picture books, middle-grade).

  • What are the authors most popular in your genre?
  • What are the most popular topics and themes?
  • These books are published by which publishers?

It’s easy to scan through the major titles within your genre and determine which books will compete. Publishing is often referred to as “writing to market,” which some critics interpret as “cynically copying successful books”. But it comes down to understanding readers’ tastes and publishing preferences. To subvert or play to certain tropes, you need to understand what your audience has read.

2. Refine your manuscript

We’ve already mentioned that editors are often busy, so you need to make sure your manuscript is as polished as possible before you send it.

Continue to rewrite and edit your book

The result of careful, thoughtful rewrites or edits is almost always a great book. Roald Dahl wrote to his daughter a letter detailing the hard work that went into creating his classics.

It would help if you worked on your manuscript until it is impossible to imagine a way to improve. Picture books and early readers have such a short life span that every sentence must be perfect. Although it may take you less time to create a children’s novel than a full one, it doesn’t make it any easier. It would help if you spent any time that you don’t write thinking about how you can improve your idea.

Receive feedback from readers

Many authors ask their nieces or nephews to read their manuscripts. Children are honest and make the best beta readers. You can also get feedback from parents. They are the ones who will buy your book. Their reactions can help you determine if the book is appropriate for the market.

Writing communities for children

You can get feedback from other authors and readers online. You can start by joining Facebook groups such as Children’s Book Authors or Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators.

Consider joining the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Members have access to many resources, including their “Book”, which includes directories of agents and publishers and reviews.

SCBWI has more than 70 regional chapters all over the globe, which allows you to connect with like-minded authors and children’s writers. Although the annual fee for SCBWI is $80, it is well worth it, even if you only use a small portion of their offerings. The Children’s Literature Association is another group worth considering. They take a more academic approach and can provide great insight into what works and doesn’t.

A writers’ group can help you make a difference in your career. It will be easier for you to seek out beta readers and request a referral to an editor or publisher if you have established yourself as a contributing member.

Get in touch with a professional editor

An editor can help improve your writing and correct your grammar. They also help you understand if you are writing for the right audience. Experienced editors will ensure that your book follows the rules and guidelines of the trade and guide you through the submission process.

Reedsy’s freelance editors have all worked for some of the largest publishers in the world, so they are familiar with what editors are looking for. They can be invaluable, and you should consider hiring a professional editor to edit your children’s book. Learn more about professional fiction editors in this article.

If you are querying agents, skip the illustrations.

Don’t worry about the illustrations unless you are a professional artist like Raymond Briggs (The Snowman) or Jon Klassen (I Want My Hat Back). Do it yourself, and don’t ask your child, spouse, or college roommate for help. Do not even give guidelines. You should not even provide guidelines.

If you are interested in self-publishing your children’s book and want to know how much an illustrator might cost, take this quick quiz. It will provide you with a rough estimate based on real data.

Let’s now sell the manuscript, having polished it to within an inch.

3. Locate a children’s agent

First, you need to find a literary agent to sell your book to publishers. Anna Bowles, an ex-commissioning editor at Hachette, says that it is rare for publishers to accept submissions from unagented authors these days.

We have compiled a list with 200+ experienced children’s book agents who are open to queries and submissions. This list can be a great starting point if you don’t know where to begin.

Here’s some information about agents. Their job is to sell your book to publishers and negotiate the best deal for you. Agents will handle your TV and merchandising rights if your book has the potential to be the next Rainbow Magic or Percy Jackson.

Agents for querying

A query letter to a manuscript for children, including a picture book, does not differ from any other type of fiction query letter. It is a query letter asking if an agent would be interested in representing you. It should be a 1-page note with an elevator pitch that sells your book and you. It should be concise and explain:

How your book is doing in the children’s publishing marketplace

What makes your book special?

The reason you and the agent are so well matched.

You want to make an impact. Sometimes, new writers try to make an impression by filling their query letter envelopes with glitter. But those guys are more likely to be arrested.

There are many tips to help you write a compelling query letter. Here are two ideas that can increase your chances of success.

Agents who specialize in children’s authors should only be contacted. Too many authors do not research their agents before they contact them. Do not waste your time reaching out to agents who are only interested in adult books or books outside your genre. This shouldn’t be an issue if you look through our list of children’s book agents who are experienced.

Find out where your book will fit in their list. If they already have a few picture books about unicorns on their list, you can mention how your book will fit in with them. If the agent doesn’t already have any unicorn picture books, mention how your book will add depth to their collection.

What happens when you hire an agent?

It’s not easy to get an agent to take you on, but if you do catch their attention and they accept to represent you, it’s not a good sign. J.K. Rowling was an example of this. Her agent tried unsuccessfully to sell Harry Potter’s first book, but finally, an editor took a chance.

What happens if your agent isn’t available?

What happens if you send out 12 perfect queries letters but still don’t get the response that you desire? You still have the option of submitting the book yourself.

4. Send your submission directly to the publishers

Send your submission directly to the publishers

You will need to search for publishers that accept unagented submissions if you don’t have an agent. Major publishers may accept unsolicited manuscripts, depending on where you live. Penguin Australia, for example, encourages children’s authors not to submit through their offices in the USA and UK.

Start your search by checking out our list of 35 incredible children’s book publishers currently accepting submissions. You’ll find the perfect match for your beloved children’s books, from fiction to nonfiction and picture books to middle-grade. These strategies are available to help you if you don’t know where to look.

You can find niche imprints from big publishers

Although indeed, major presses will not accept unsolicited manuscripts, it isn’t necessarily true. Penguin has a Dial Books for Young Readers imprint that allows authors to submit directly. Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, is also available to unagented authors when this article was written. They won’t reply to authors unless they are interested in publishing. Be prepared for silent rejection.

Publishers of small and medium-size

Unagented submissions are more attractive to smaller independent publishers. It’s all about finding the right ones. Both the industry tomes Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market (UK) and Writers’ & Arts’ Yearbook(UK) have directories that will help you locate the right publishers. Members of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators have access to their extensive database.

Picturebook Planet has great resources for free. They have a list of picture book publishers that you can submit to. The Published to Death blog also has a section on other categories for kids (scroll to the halfway point).

While many companies don’t accept submissions year-round, if you sign up for the free newsletter of Authors Publish, you will be notified when they start accepting submissions.

Be wary of vanity presses.

Runaway from publishers who want you to pay money to publish your book. Many vanity presses want to take advantage of the hopes and dreams of inexperienced authors.

What is the average amount of money authors make for writing children’s books?

It’s not all about the money; it’s about the passion for the craft.

It’s a joke! It doesn’t matter how much money you have, especially if you want to write full-time.

A child’s author can expect a $5,000 to $10,000 advance on their first book. Then, there are subsequent royalties of approximately 7% for printed books and as high as 25% for ebook sales. Picture book royalties are divided between the author and illustrator, and sometimes in favor of the illustrator.

Statistics show that most authors who are published don’t earn enough to be able to work full-time. You’re setting yourself up to disappointment if you view children’s publishing simply as a way to make big money. If you have a unique idea for a story and the creativity to make it enjoyable and original, and you are driven to get it published, you will almost certainly succeed.


You may be curious about indie publishing. Self-publishing children’s books were once considered an option for those authors who cannot find the right press. This allows you to have creative control and not wait for traditional gatekeepers to decide.

This is a quicker path with greater publishing certainty. However, it takes a lot more work from the author. The next post in the series will explain how to self-publish children’s books.

4. Marketing is a constant

Marketing is a constant

We mentioned that children’s authors would be expected to do significant marketing work no matter if they are self-publishing. Marketing “kidlit”, 80% of all the time, is just as important as marketing any other book. You can find various book marketing strategies that you can use, including creating a mailing list and collaborating with other authors.

This section will focus on the 20% remaining: marketing strategies specific to children’s books.

Reviews are more important than ever.

When buying books for their children, parents rely on reviews more than they do when purchasing the book for themselves. Parents want to know what other parents think about the book, how their children enjoyed it, and whether it is suitable for their kids.

A picture book without reviews is more difficult to sell than a self-published romance novel or thriller. It will also be hard to place it in a bookstore or library. This post will show you how to get reviews.

You can find influencers in online communities and street teams/people to help you.

Blogs, Instagram and Facebook Groups, Twitter, Reddit. Most parents of young children are millennials these days. Therefore, they will rely on the internet to find almost any type of recommendation (another generalization, though).

You can search Facebook for groups of children’s authors or those who might be interested in the subject of your book. You can bet on a Facebook group passionate about fire trucks if you have written a picture book.

Use relevant hashtags to share photos of your book on Instagram and Twitter. These hashtags can either relate to your book’s topic (#unicorns#fire trucks) or tap into your audience (#mommy lifestyle @picturebooksaremyjam).

Partner with an influencer

Most people have heard the term “influencer”, which describes YouTube and Instagram stars who brands pay to promote their products. It’s a good idea to reach out to any influencers who share your interests, but remember that there are many types of influencers!

Yvonne Jones created a picture book (Lil’ Foot, the Monster Truck) about a monster truck. To promote the book, she reached out to Bob Chandler, the creator of Bigfoot and the originator of the monster trucks sport. He enjoyed the book and gave her an honest review. This helped her get in touch with several monster truck associations and blogs.

If you can identify someone with some influence amongst those interested in your book, politely approach them and introduce yourself. Offer to send them a copy.

Visits to schools!

Many schools welcome authors to visit their schools. Some schools have an annual budget. Talk to administrators or librarians and see what you can do. Jones recommends selling copies to anyone who is doing a school visit.

“Follow-up your first email by calling the school to inform them that you are visiting local schools free of charge. In return, the school will send slips home, allowing the school to offer the chance to purchase signed copies of the book.

You can pursue many other avenues of marketing, including those that Reedsy offers in its free course on children’s book marketing.


How much does it cost to publish a children’s book?

Children’s books are not cheap. Publishing a children’s book can be expensive due to the high-quality illustrations and color printing (which is more costly than black and white), as well as the number of books that you will need to print in advance.

Is it hard to publish a children’s book?

Publishing a children’s book takes time.

The process of writing to reach shelves takes time (nine to twelve months seems to be a reasonable amount of time if you keep the momentum going), and publishing requires a lot from the writer.

Is writing a children’s book profitable?

Children’s books can earn more than picture books, with possible royalties of up to 10%. To increase your earnings, you will make a steady income from royalties as you write more books.

Is it better to self-publish a children’s book?

Pros for self-publishing your children’s book

Publishing is much easier than pitching agents and negotiating a publishing deal. The author can choose to work with any professional that interests them. The author does not have to adhere to a strict word count. The author can emphasize diversity.

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