Posted by: nancyisanders | February 28, 2008

Book In A Month Club! Target a Publisher

Welcome to the Book in A Month Club! Throughout the month of March, I’ll be posting the step-by-step approach I take to writing a picture book from start to finish. I’ll also include picture book author interviews and editor interviews for houses who publish picture books. If you’ve ever wanted to write a picture book and get it published—this is the place to find out some insider’s tips.

The first thing I do BEFORE I write the manuscript is target a publisher. Why is this the first step I take? Well, for one thing, during this month I won’t be posting the right or the wrong way to do something. You’ll find plenty of that type of advice at writer’s conferences or in workshops. What I am sharing is what works for me. I’ve written over a hundred book manuscripts from start to finish that have all been rejected. Repeatedly. But when I target a publisher BEFORE I write the manuscript, I land the contract. I’ve had over 75 books published this way. So this is what works for me.

Here are tips for finding an editor/publisher who states exactly what type of manuscript he or she looking for:

1. Many times I read interviews of editors in the Children’s Writer: Newsletter of Writing and Publishing Trends. It’s the best resource I’ve found for editor interviews. About a year ago, I made it my goal to contact at least one editor from an interview in each issue—but I had to quit doing that because I landed so many book contracts I couldn’t add more to my calendar! This has been by far my most successful method of targeting a publisher. I also try to post editor interviews on my blog each month. Read their interviews and see exactly what they’re looking for right now.

2. Another way to find an editor is to attend a writer’s conference. Over a year ago, I attended a local SCBWI event and heard the publisher speak from Sylvan Dell. He told us exactly the kinds of picture books he likes to publish: fiction stories with a nonfiction science slant that cover topics geared to state and national standards taught in elementary schools.

3. Another way to find a publisher to target is to seriously study the current issue of the CHILDREN’S WRITER’S & ILLUSTRATOR’S MARKET by Writer’s Market. Look for houses who publish books on topics or genre that interest you the most.

4. Go to the local bookstore and browse through current books until you find one that interests you and that you can say, “I’d like to write a book like this!”

5. Search for publishers on Look for certain types of books that interest you such as bedtime books or nonfiction wild animal books and see which houses are currently publishing these types of books.

6. Study the websites of various publishers that interest you until you find one that seems like it would be a match for the type of book you think you’d like to write.

For the BOOK IN A MONTH CLUB this year, I decided to target Sylvan Dell. You can choose your own publisher to target. But if you’d like to try your hand at writing a fiction story with a science theme, I invite you to target Sylvan Dell, too! Perhaps one of us will write a picture book manuscript that catches their eye.

Today’s challenge:
Study various publishers and choose one to target.

Coming tomorrow:
Stop by tomorrow on my blog to “meet” Catherine Ipcizade. She’s the brand new author of ‘TWAS THE DAY BEFORE ZOO DAY and she’ll share tips about how she landed the contract. Her book is published by Sylvan Dell, the very publisher I’m going to target for my manuscript this year for the Book In A Month Club!


  1. I can’t wait to tackle this challenge. I’ll be looking forward to reading about your picture book journey.

  2. Well, Nancy, I’m going to give it a try. My idea on the chapparel has been drifting around for too long. This may be what I need to get it off the ground.


  3. Great Marilyn! I’m excited you’re going to join the adventure! -Nancy

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