Children's books are a burgeoning market. Only a few years ago it was possible to send a manuscript directly to a publisher. Although some small publishing houses still follow that policy, the larger houses require an agent. As a consequence, agents who specialize in children's books are burgeoning as well. Writers who are daunted by the process of securing a publisher are increasingly turning to self-publication, a field which is burgeoning along with children's book agents, writers, and publishers.
With all this burgeoning, where can a children's book writer find reliable, comprehensive, and concise information about publishing and marketing? Among the spate of websites that offer information about the world of children's literature, there are five that stand out as particularly useful. Make these the first stops on your path to publication.
1. Literary Rambles: Spotlighting Children's Book Authors, Agents and Publishing
Hosts: Casey McCormick and Natalie Aguirre
If you are looking for an agent, this blog is for you! Every Thursday this site puts the spotlight on an agent who represents children's fiction. The spotlight profiles what these agents are looking for, personal quotes, interviews, response times, what other writers are saying about their professionalism, as well as linking up their web presence – all in one convenient post.
Site features: Over 120 agent spotlights, list of agencies representing children's books, interviews, helpful posts, and numerous links to agent blogs, editor blogs and forums. Also included is an agent search by age category (PB, MG or YA). Be sure to look at the wonderful list of resources on the right sidebar.
2. Rachelle Burk's Resources for Writers
Host: Rachelle Burk
This blog provides one-stop shopping for children's book authors. Rachelle Burk, a children's book writer from New Jersey, has compiled an extensive list of resources designed to help writers with every aspect of their careers – from writing tips to legal advice.
Site features: Helpful writing articles, Publisher/Agent Warning sites, Publisher Listings, Agents, Editors, Query and Cover Letters, Websites: Sources and articles about writing for children, Newsletters and E-zines, Online Forums, Critique Groups, Critique and Editing Services, Author Visits, Nonfiction Writing, Work-For-Hire and Freelance, Reference Resources, Rhyming and Poetry, Writing Organizations, Workshops, Courses and Conferences, Legal Advice, Contests and Awards, Teacher’s Guides, Book Reviewers, Illustrators and Images, Self-Publishing, Print on Demand and Subsidy Publishers, Electronic Publishing, Book Marketing and Promotion, Author Sites for Book Promotion, Books on Writing for Children, National and International Writers' Organizations, Blog List. Of special interest: Resources for Kids Who Write.
Writing-World is an all-round resource for writers of every stripe. The children's book page contains a list of eye-opening articles.
Site features: The Art and Craft of Writing for Children, Picture Books, YA Books, Agents, Publishers, Book Promotion and Author Interviews. Of special interest: Specialized Markets.
4. Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
If you haven't already joined the SCBWI, now's the time! With membership, you get The SCBWI Bulletin, a bi-monthly publication containing the most current, comprehensive information about the field of children’s literature. The Bulletin includes the latest marketing reports; articles on writing, illustrating, and publishing; contests and awards announcements; SCBWI member news; and ongoing SCBWI activities throughout the world.
Site features (free): Comprehensive list of awards and grants. The “Find a Speaker” search bar is a great way to locate other children's book writers in your area (which is absolutely essential for networking).
5. Colossal Directory of Children's Publishers
The title of this site says it all. On the upper left sidebar is an A-Z of American publishers of children's books. The website also includes Australian, British and Canadian publishers. The ads on this site are annoying, and the articles are too general to be helpful, but there is no better online resource for children's book publishers.
Site features: Links to children's book publishers, articles on publishing, marketing, editing, writer's guidelines, manuscript formatting, finding a critique group, and “how-to” books.