Help Crimson Dragon Publishing Say “Yes!” to your next Children’s Book
As an independent publisher with open submissions, we see a lot of manuscripts. It would be nice if we could publish every one, but that just isn’t possible. Follow these guidelines to make your submission stand out in a good way.
Know your target audience’s age and grade levels! Ensure the you have a complete story with a suitable ending, and the vocabulary and flow is suitable to your audience. Children who read Fantasy and Science Fiction tend to be advanced readers, so ensuring your story is emotionally appropriate for a slightly younger audience may be beneficial. If you are planning a sequential series, the emotional and educational level should increase to match your readers.
Consider not just who your audience is but also why they want to buy your book. You should have a unique concept that will appeal to children and the adults in their life. The author of a book is the best person to share a book, so find out where your potential readers are, and reach out to test the waters. Having a book adults like, does not always mean kids will feel the same.
Be prepared to keep showing your book after publication, and start working on the next story immediately. Successful children’s authors write collections or series to keep kids coming back. Don’t be surprised if your Young Adult novel taps an older audience – many adult readers actively seek out good YA books.
Children’s books though middle grade rely on illustrations to either complement or complete the story. If you are (or have) an illustrator, you should have several complete illustrations prior to submission. While some illustrators finish the entire book before submission, we prefer to see storyboards for picture books and early readers, so we can see the intended flow. Final illustrations should be completed within 6 months from acceptance. Be sure to check our Illustration Formatting Requirements.
If you are not an illustrator, Crimson Dragon will refer you to freelance illustrators with styles that complement your story. Be prepared to pay the illustrator for their work prior to publication. Some illustrators may agree to a smaller payment with a share of royalties, but we do not control any aspect of this negotiation. Payment for non-author provided illustrations are the author’s responsibility.
Crimson Dragon provides covers for all of our books. Be sure to think about your cover and tell us if you have ideas. We may chose to work with your illustrator to design the cover so that the styles in an out match. We work closely with our authors to ensure everyone is happy with the cover we design.
The font in a picture book is just as important as the illustration style, so ensure it enhances the story. Be sure children in your intended age group will be able to read it. Remember that many children aren’t taught cursive anymore, so we avoid strong cursive fonts. The illustrator should ensure the chosen font is licensed for print and e-book use, and provide the font file for any included text.
Book page counts should generally be divisible by 8. Typical illustrated and early reader books have 32, 40, or 48 pages. This does not mean your story is that many pages long. Since there are other pages (copyright, dedication, title, etc), a 32-page book has 26 – 28 pages of story. We will work together to determine the exact page count for your book. Submissions that are excessively short or long for the age and grade risk immediate rejection. See our Readability Guideline for more.
Help, Inspiration, and Improvement
Be open to suggestions on wording, story development, and illustration placement. Don’t be married to how you see your book, as it might not be the best for publication. We are dedicated to publishing high quality books, and want yours poised for success. To that extent, we have a growing list of Beta Readers, and actively seek their input to help our authors write better books.
It’s easy to get lost in the minutia of publication timelines and marketing plans. Don’t lose sight of why you decided to publish and allow for bumps in the road! If you remember to enjoy the ride, you’ll create a book that children will love for years to come.
Following these guidelines will make it easy for us to say “Yes” to your next children’s book!