You've written, rewritten, and polished your manuscript. It's time to submit, but, to what publisher?
Ten years ago, it was much easier. There were more trade publishers to chose from. Editors were willing to read manuscripts in their slush pile. More publishers, than not, were open to submissions.
My, have things changed! Houses have gone out of business or been absorbed by one of the larger publishing conglomerates. Others refuse to even look at a manuscript and will send it back unopened, or worse, will simply throw it out (even though you've enclosed a SASE for its return).
What do you do? A little research. Start with the oft-repeated advice to visit a bookstore and look at the new releases. You'll get an idea of what a particular house is publishing. Look at publishers' catalogs (most publishers' catalogs are now available online), again, to get an idea of what is currently being published.
Next try to find out which publishers are still accepting unsolicited manuscripts. You'll also need editors' names. Here are several places to visit that may help you find the information you need:
1. Check publishers' websites, often, on the "Contact Us" page you'll find out if they are accepting submissions.
2. One of my favorite places to look for publishers is the Children's Book Council website. If you click on "About" and then "CBC Members List," you'll find out if a publisher is accepting unsolicited manuscripts, names, addresses, and links to their websites. Of course, if the publisher you're interested in isn't a CBC member, this information won't be available, but, most of the larger trade publishers are members.
3. Another favorite place is Ellen Jackson's website. Ellen has compiled lists of editors, and what they are interested in, which writers can consult. She's done a fabulous job--thanks, Ellen!
4. Join the Society of Children's Writers and Illustrators organization and you'll have access to the members only areas of the website. Read the SCBWI newsletter and visit the discussion boards.
5. Join children's writers' lists, such as Children's Writers and Illustrators. There are several others found on Yahoo.
6. Visit Harold Underdown's site, The Purple Crayon, for information about editors' moves between houses.
7. Check out Verla Kay's Blue Boards here.
8. Pick up the latest copy of the Children's Writer and Illustrator Market. The 2011 edition is already available. It provides more than publisher contact information, so you'll get your money's worth if you purchase a copy for your home library.
Good luck with your submissions, and let us know when you have good news to share!
Image courtesy roadeeccha