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About Laura Backes

Laura Backes is the publisher of Children's Book Insider, the Newsletter for Children's Writers. For more information about writing children's books, including free articles, market tips, insider secrets and much more, visit Children's Book Insider's home on the web at http://write4kids.com
Your Odds of Getting Published

Most beginning writers are curious about their chances of ever seeing their work in print. Editors have told me that a mid- to large-sized publishing house gets upwards of 5000 unsolicited submissions a year. About 95% are rejected right off the bat (most get form letters, a few promising authors get personalized notes stating why the manuscript was rejected). Of the 5% left, some are queries for which the editors request entire manuscripts. Others are manuscripts submitted in their entirety, and these go on to the next stage of the acquisitions process (get passed around the editorial department, presented at editorial meetings, perhaps looked at by sales staff to get a sense of the market for the book). The end result is that 1-2% of unsolicited submissions are actually purchased for publication.

What Do Editors Want?

At a recent SCBWI conference in Denver, Melanie Cecka, Senior Editor for Viking Children’s Books, tried to answer that perennial question, “What are editors looking for?” Her answer–

A Crash Course in Submitting a Children’s Book Manuscript
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While the submission process may feel like second nature to experienced writers, it’s easy to forget that newcomers aren’t aware of the specific procedures. And since everyone can benefit from a refresher course now and then, here’s a rundown of the steps: