Researching Publishers


Who’s accepting?

You can look for direction in a variety of directories/digests that are printed each year or kept up-to-date online.  Print and on-line directories can be excellent aids; however, they do not replace targeted research using publishers’ own websites. You can use the suggestions in these guides to direct you to publishers’ sites and discover each publisher’s exact requirements regarding submissions. 

Here are some excellent guides you might consider using as resources:

Print guides:

  • Childrens Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market: This book, updated regularly, contains information on each book publisher, magazine publisher, & agent. It includes tips for beginners and is particularly recommended by publishers.
  • The Canadian Writer’s Market: This book contains useful sections on consumer magazines (including youth and children’s); literary and scholarly publications; daily newspapers; business, farm and professional publications; writing awards and competitions; literary agents; provincial and federal writer support programs; professional development; and support agencies. I found it helpful as a resource to help me pursue publishing credits in other fields, which eventually helped me to build my bio as a professional writer and then break into the children’s publishing arena.
  • Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents: Includes sections on publishing conglomerates, independent US presses, university presses, Canadian book publishers, and literary agents.
  • The Canadian Children’s Book Centre has compiled a Publishers List. This is available to purchase on its own for $5.95 or as a part of Get Published! The Writing for Children’s Kit ($21.95). The more comprehensive kit also includes practical advice on submitting manuscripts and portfolios, an outline of copyright procedures, and background material on the Canadian children’s publishing industry.
  • The Book: The Essential Guide to Publishing for Children: Available to all members of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) either in print or online.

Online directories:

  • Literary Marketplace: $399.50 USD for a yearly subscription or $24.95 USD by the week.  
  • Writers’ Guide to Canadian Publishers: Created by The Writer’s Union of Canada. $10 via Paypal gives you access to their online directory for a year.
  • The Colossal Directory of Children’s Book Publishers: Colossal lists of information and useful links to websites.
  • You can take out a subscription to the online directories available from Publisher’s Weekly or Books in Print (US). Make sure to access the Global Edition of Books in Print if you’re looking for information that goes beyond the US market to Canada, Europe, New Zealand or Australia. Both of these resources are likely available through your local library if you’re not interested in paying for your own subscription.

Are they a good fit for your manuscript?

Once you have found out who’s accepting, you need to find a good fit for your manuscript. Visit book stores or browse the current catalogues put out by each publisher – in print or online. Backlists are not always reflective due to changes in publishing mandates or changes of in-house editors.

What are they looking for from you?

Do publishers want a query or a full submission? Should you send it by e-mail or regular mail? Do they want a bio, a resume or any additional information? Do they have any particular packaging or formatting requirements? Information on submission guidelines for each publisher can usually be found on their website. Source out this info and use it. It’s all there as your best opportunity to make a good first impression. After you’ve worked this hard, make sure your manuscript isn’t filtered out simply because it is packaged or formatted in a manner the acquisitions department is unable to read.