What to Know if You Want to Publish Children’s Books

Author and publisher Maria Dismondy released a new book in 2020 called Sunny Side Upbringing: A Month-by-Month Guide to Raising Kind and Caring Kids. Cardinal Rule Press will open for picture book submissions on November 1, 2020. More details can be found at CardinalRulePress.com.

When elementary school teacher Maria Dismondy couldn’t find the right book to help her teach students about character, she decided to write the book herself. Nine books later, Maria is not only a seasoned author, she is the owner and founder of her own publishing company, Cardinal Rule Press.

As a parent, former teacher, children’s author, and publisher, she understands children’s literature as both a consumer and a maker, and she recognizes that it is both an art and a business. 

Maria sat down with hope*writers to share her publishing advice for aspiring children’s authors.


Begin With Your Why

Before reaching out to publishers, it’s important to know WHY you want to tell a particular story. Perhaps your story is the one you wanted to read as a child, or maybe, like Maria, you teach children, and you’ve discovered that the books your students need don't exist yet. Possibly, you see a gap on your own child’s bookshelves. 

Whatever the reason, a publisher will expect you to articulate the why behind your book clearly and with passion for your topic. Ask yourself why your story needs to be in the world, and have an answer ready when you begin to look for a publisher.

Build Your Brand

Once you’ve established your why, it’s important to focus on building your brand as an aspiring author. Children’s literature is no different than any other genre of writing: It is not only an art form, it is a business. 

Before you query a publisher with your finished manuscript, spend time developing a website and a social media presence. Editors will look at your online activity, how you are currently serving readers, and if you have consistent brand messaging before they will consider publishing your story. 

Your presence online should be professional and consistent with the content you write for children. Research what other authors in your genre are doing, and apply the principles that connect with you while tweaking these methods for your unique content.

Want to hear the next two steps Maria recommends taking if you want to write children’s books? Click here to hear Maria share in her own words what comes next as well as more valuable advice on the business of publishing from her perspective as a writer who now owns a book press. Ordinarily, this conversation is available exclusively to our hope*writers members, but you can watch the entire conversation here for free.




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