Posted by: nancyisanders | July 30, 2008

ABC Adventure: Make Your Choice

After you have picked up as many of your target publisher’s alphabet books from your local library as you can, you’ll want to examine them closely.

If you discover, like Sleeping Bear Press does, that all their ABC books use the same exact format, then your job is fairly easy. You just have to write your manuscript in that format.

If, however, your target publisher uses a variety of formats for the alphabet books they publish, your job takes a little bit more work. Read through the various alphabet books and group them into different piles according to similar formats. After they are all sorted, ask yourself which format would work best to convey the information about your topic to young children. Then make your choice and choose that specific format to follow as you prepare to write you manuscript.

If your local library doesn’t have very many of your target publisher’s alphabet books in their entire county-wide system, there are other avenues to explore. See if there are other libraries within easy driving distance that might have a different resource base they are drawing from. Search the publisher’s website to see if they have sample copies to read. Check out the “search inside the book” feature on or other online booksellers to see if you can glimpse enough pages to determine the format. Also, visit your local bookstores to see if you can read books there. It’s important, however, that you read as many of your target publisher’s alphabet books as you can–actually read them–during this stage because it will help you prepare your manuscript to fit their product line like a glove.


  1. Nancy, this is great information. Sometimes we forget how important it is to know the market — to examine the material carefully and understand the format. Thanks. Marilyn

  2. Glad this was helpful, Marilyn! You’re welcome. -Nancy

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