Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tips #1: Finding a Publisher

You've completed your novel and want to submit it to a publisher. By now, you'll be familiar with the names of a number of publishers that produce the genre you have written.

In Canada, you'll find a list of Canadian publishers on the Canadian Children's Book Centre's website ( Quill & Quire also publishes a new edition of the Canadian Publishers' Directory every summer and winter. The Writers' Union of Canada produces and sells The Writers' Guide to Canadian Publishers. This is available as an on-line subscription. Go to

Even if you are not yet published, you can become a Friend of the Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators and Performers (CANSCAIP), which will entitle you their quarterly bulletin, CANSCAIP News. Joining CANSCAIP as a Friend was the best move I ever made. Not only did I begin to feel connected with other children's writers in Canada, it was through their regular marketing section that I found my first publisher.

The next step is to visit the websites of the publishers you've selected and click on "submissions." Follow the guidelines posted there exactly.

The guidelines will tell you whether or not the publisher will accept unsolicited manuscripts, whether they accept multiple submissions, whether you should query them first or send sample chapters, and how many they like to receive. They will tell you what to include in your cover letter (more on this all-important document in a later blog.) Some publishers also ask for a resume or c.v. If you're asked for sample chapters and a synopsis, be prepared to spend much time on the latter.

Be sure to look at the publishers' catalogues, where you'll find their new releases and back list. It's a good idea to read a couple of their books so that you'll know the type of writing that appeals to them.

Publishers' websites will also give you their phone numbers. Take a couple of minutes to call their office to find out to whose attention your submission should be addressed.

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