publishers · Submissions · unsolicited manuscripts

Publisher update 2013

At the birth of the new year (I was going to say the demise of the old year, but that sounded a bit depressing and we try to be positive over on this blog!), it’s time to check over my list of children’s publishers accepting unsolicited manuscripts and see what’s changed over the year.

Sadly but predictably, some of the publishers have closed their doors to unagented work (Oxford University Press), or even ceased trading altogether (a fond farewell to Meadowside, Ragged Bears and the briefly present Rebel Books).  It seems as though A&C Black has finally been fully absorbed by Bloomsbury and no longer has its own site.  And Catnip Publishing, which a reader kindly suggested be added to the list, has now stopped accepting unagented submissions and so never made it on to the list after all.  Frances Lincoln and Bridge House are not accepting anything at the moment – hopefully that will change in the future so I have left them here for now – and the Strident website has temporarily disappeared, although a short notice assures us it will return.

On the positive side, there are still some big hitters on the list such as Egmont and Little Tiger, and the youngsters like Curious Fox, Nosy Crow and Phoenix Yard are keenly embracing new technology such as interactivity and apps.  Plus there’s a new addition: Caterpillar, a publisher of novelty picture books.  As the tidal wave of e-publishing settles down and integrates into the mainstream, publishers are regaining their strength and seem to be out to prove they deserve a place in the new literary landscape.  As always, good luck with those submissions and do let me know how you get on – I love a success story!

Visit the updated list of publishers

Advice on writing a synopsis

Advice on word count


20 thoughts on “Publisher update 2013

  1. Really helpful stuff Lou, I am sending a submission to Curious Fox today. I didn’t know they existed until I found you, and thanks to your email you’ve helped me make up my mind where to go next.
    Thankfully yours David.

  2. Dear Loutreleaven, it is very good of you to make this information available. I am a published writer but some time ago and in Australia, which means that since I now live in Oxford I have been casting around for ways into the web. Thank you for your helpful blog.
    Michal Bosworth

  3. Thanks Lou, just updated the list of publishing I’m sending too. It’s so great to have regular updates!

  4. Hello, Lou. Happy New Year from Colorado, US.

    As I reflect on your updated list of publishers who accept work from unpublished authors, I was wondering if they generally accept work from outside the UK? I hadn’t considered that they may not. I have submitted four manuscripts thus far (all at the end of the summer, 2012) and have not heard back.

    While I will not give-up my dream, I want to be sure my energy is being sent in the right direction. Is there someone in the US that offers the services that you provide? A blog for writers who are yet to be published and resources for those people? I have searched on my own for such a resource, with no success.

    I appreciate you being here and will continue to use your invaluable services, if you think I am in the “right place.”

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Christine! You are definitely in the right place for the UK market (but then I would say that)! I don’t think there’s any problem submitting from outside the UK in this day and age, as long as you are open about it in your communications. So much publicity is done online these days anyway. You might also consider The Greenhouse Literary Agency, as they are ‘transatlantic’, having one agent in the UK and one in the US. As for an equivalent blog in the US, I don’t know of one but will let you know if I find one. I have considered doing a list for the US market myself but it’s quite a big task – maybe one day I’ll get round to it! All the best and good luck with your submissions. Lou

      1. Thank you for getting back to me so quickly! I will continue to submit to the UK and will also keep looking for options here. I will also keep you posted on the outcome when I hear back from publishers 🙂
        Again, thank you for your continued support.

  5. Thank you again for this amazingly helpful list. I used it at the beginning of this year to submit a book I illustrated to several publishers. Interesting that you point out the young companies – not only do they embrace new technology, they get back quick too! I’ve already received rejections from Phoenix Yard and Nosy Crow (I didn’t try Curious Fox). Too bad Frances Lincoln are no longer accepting stuff. A very helpful lady there suggested I email my book to them at the end of 2012, so it seems I just got in there with my (rejected) submission.

    One publisher you might want to add as something of a footnote is Walker Books as they accept illustrated manuscripts. While that’s no good for many writers, it’s an opportunity for picture book writers who have already teamed up with an illustrator and for those who both write and draw their work.

    1. Adam,
      I have to compliment you on the positivity you exude in your message. “I already received rejection letters!” Even though they were rejections, you heard back and recognize the value in that. I am still waiting for my rejections, which I believe will push me onward.
      (Or a welcome letter would be nice, too.)
      Keep at it and good luck,

    2. Thanks for that tip off about Walker, Adam. I didn’t know they accepted illustrated work and they are a big hitter in the picture book world! I’ve added them to the list. Let me know how you get on with your submissions.

  6. I’m glad the Walker books info is useful. I’ll be lucky if the book I’ve submitted gets accepted, as it was designed more as an early readers book that might be better suited to a publisher such as Oxford University Press or Scholastic (originally the book was to be part of an Arabic reading scheme). However, it’s a really nice story and I’m proud of the pictures so the author and I felt it was definitely worth a shot and putting it out there. Now I’m working on a new book which I’m both writing and illustrating. It’s a big enough challenge getting it to the point where I’m pleased with it, let alone sending it to publishers!
    Christine, rejection letters are part of the process for most people, but I hope you hear positively soon.
    Lou, thanks again for this excellent and encouraging site. BTW your Grindle site and portraits are great too!

  7. Hi Lou,
    we have one of our books that would really work well on Kindle as the original illustrations are in pen & ink.
    I was wondering if there is a rule about submitting work for Kindle when you are about approach other publishers?
    Many thanks, Lisa.

  8. This is for you Lou x Bear Smile Town

    On the hill of Bear-Smile, lived a rich crocodile
    who was mean to the poor bears below,
    He kept them at guard, and made them work hard
    And never once said hello.

    Now the poor bears of Bear-Smile, cried help for a while
    As a great storm battered their town,
    They climbed up above, to avoid the big flood,
    But the crocodile pushed them back down.

    This is my castle, I don’t need the hassle,
    Crocodile said with a frown,
    You horrible bears with filthy brown hairs
    Go back to your poor town and drown.

    Oh please let us stay,the bears began to pray
    We will hunt for your food every day,
    No no said the croc no, you filthy bears go,
    And he pushed them back down all the way.

    But the bears never drowned, because they hung around,
    On a rock that stuck out of the hill,
    They was there for while, but then started to smile,
    As the great storm became very still.

    One last bolt of lightning, it was very frightening,
    And it blew up the crocs castle above,
    Down went the guards like a stacked pack of cards
    And the bears danced with joy full of love.

    The croc climbed down, to Bear Smile town,
    And begged the poor bears could he stay,
    Oh no you cannot you filthy green croc,
    Now go on croc, be on your way!


  9. Hi Lou,

    Can publishers spot a best seller or is it a matter of dumb luck, personally I think it’s the latter. Take the case of Harry Potter — that book was rejected a dozen times b/4 the 8 year old daughter of a Bloomsbury editor insisted that her father read the manuscript.

    Other famous rejections: Gone with the Wind was rejected 38 times, it went on to sell 30 million. Peter Rabbit was rejected numerous times, it went on to sell 45 million, same deal with Dr. Seuss — his books have now sold over 300 million. I could go on and on, but you get the idea…

    I’m not saying that every rejected manuscript is a work of genius, but when publishers routinely fail to spot such best sellers how are we to have any faith in their abilities?

    1. True but I think it goes to show that publishing is a very subjective process. You have to find the publisher that ‘fits’ your work and that may not happen straight away. That’s why it frustrates me when people give up after one or two rejections. They’ll never know what might have happened!

      Beware some of the rejection myths though – Gone with the Wind was never rejected (see and Harry Potter was picked up by the second agent JK Rowling sent it to (the agent then sent it round publishers but if you can bag an agent you’re pretty much there). Peter Rabbit had only 6 rejections before Beatrix Potter decided to self publish. However, you are right about Dr Seuss. I can sort of see why – he does have a very particular brand of humour! However he eventually found the right ‘fit’. Hopefully we can all do the same! The main thing is not to be disheartened. To put it bluntly, if your book is good enough to make money, publishers will want to be in on the action, hence the number of successful self publishers who get picked up by a major publishing house as a result of outstanding sales…

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