The children’s publishing industry in Australia is a competitive and challenging market.
The curiosity and imagination of children make them a difficult audience to please and writers of children’s stories have a harder time than writers for adult genres.
You have to create more than just a story. You have to provide an experience for them to connect and relate.
In the world of gaming, videos and internet, your book needs to be pretty special and well written to catch the eye of the child. Something like a picture book can’t be recreated on a tablet or a computer.
It is a blessing that the publishing industry in Australia is strong and encourages networking with colleagues and professionals.
Writer’s workshops, festivals and resources can help new writers and authors find a footing in the field. These tools may help you finish your book and focus on getting it published.
While you can do your job as a writer and write a wonderful story, if you find a publisher who can’t sell or market your book effectively than half the battle is lost.
If you are a children’s writer, you need the correct publisher for it. We have put together a list of 21 top Australian children’s book publishers accepting submissions currently.
1. Walker Books
One of the top children’s publishers in Australia and New Zealand, Walker Books has been in business for 20 years. It is a part of the Walker Books Group which includes the renowned Walker Books UK and Candlewick Press in US. Understanding that children’s books requires high quality illustrations, creative storytelling and an imaginative bent, Walker Books has fostered some of the best talent in the Australian industry. They also include the award winning imprint Black Dog Books. Based in Newtown, they are interested in middle grade and young adult fiction in all genres. They are accepting only illustrated picture book or stories via email currently. You can find the guidelines and contact details specified on this page.
2. EK Books
A small publisher with a big heart, EK Books is based in Wollombi and Dunedin. They focus only on children’s picture books and believe in creating interesting stories with a strong message. Aimed at children aged 4-8 years, their book ‘Grandma Forgets’ has been nominated as the Picture Book of the Year 2018 by Children’s Book Council of Australia. They publish books that entertain and educate at the same time. You can read their submission guidelines carefully before submitting your manuscript.
A popular and independent publisher in Australia, Allen & Unwin has offices in Melbourne, Auckland and London. They have won ‘Publisher of the Year’ Award multiple times since 1992. Publishing 250 books annually, they have 7 imprints namely Allen & Unwin, Arena, Crows Nest, House of Books, Inspired Living, Murdoch Books and Pier 9. Out of those 250 books, 80 books are in the genre of children’s books and young adults. Because they understand the obstacles involved in getting published, they have a Friday Pitch where they accept submissions from writers and authors all over the world. They are accepting narrative non-fiction, novels, graphic novels and children’s fiction. You can read the guidelines and submit your manuscript via email.
This Abbotsford based publisher is slowly emerging as one of Australia’s intriguing and successful children’s publishers. Working with both established and new writers, Ford Street prints children’s books of a high quality and having real messages that can enrich the lives of children and young adults. They accept manuscripts by post so please send your manuscript after reading the guidelines outlined on this page.
A small publisher intent on providing a platform for edgy, new writers, MidnightSun Publishing is a new and upcoming company located in Adelaide. They print both traditional and digital books. The reason MidnightSun Publishing is different from other publishers, is because they always accept submissions despite an overload or exhaustive number of submissions. That can be a lifeline to struggling authors and writers because you feel read and recognised. They don’t have any apprehensions or exceptions to accepting any genre so feel free to send children’s picture books, middle grade and young adult fiction. Read the submission guidelines on this page and you can find the contact details there too.
6. Wombat Books
Rochelle Manners founded Wombat Books in 2009 essentially to give Australian authors a publisher eager, helpful and ready to collaborate creatively on their books. They publish children’s books, books for early readers and also have an imprint Rhiza Press for young adult and adult books. It is a selective publishing house printing only 15 books a year. They are not accepting picture book submissions at present. If you’re worried about how to make the cut then you can find the submission guidelines here. After reading the guidelines you can fill the submission form available online.
A company with a 100 year old legacy, Pan Macmillan Australia started in 1904. They have various imprints such as Macmillan, Pan, Picador, Plum, Momentum and Macquarie Dictionary Publishers. Part of one of the biggest publishing groups in the world, Pan Macmillan Australia has worked with the country’s leading authors and writers. Knowing how complicated it can get to approach big publishing houses, Macmillan has a selected day when it accepts submissions from authors all around the world called ‘Manuscript Monday.’ Held on the first Monday of every month, writers can find submission guidelines and details here. They do not accept picture books currently.
An independent publisher located in Melbourne, Windy Hollow Books creates unique quality books with endearing stories and impactful characters that can leave an everlasting impact on children. Printing children’s book with funny, intelligent and riveting illustrations, they publish bedtime stories which can spark a lifelong interest in reading and literature. Authors and illustrated picture books should only send hard copies. Do read the submission guidelines before sending your manuscript by post.
Big Sky Publishing is a dedicated publisher of books situated in Newport. While they publish all books in all genres, they publish children’s books in the categories of personal development, fiction, early readers, junior fiction and chapter books. They don’t accept picture books currently. They urge you to submit a fully edited, proofread and completed manuscript, as it can make it stand out and give you a better chance at being noticed. Big Sky assures writers and authors it will provide them with the marketing, distribution, design and publicity aspects of the books. Read the submission guidelines before sending your manuscript to this email address.
10. Fremantle Press
Founded in 1976, Fremantle Press is a not-for-profit team of publishers looking to encourage local authors in the Western Australia region. Focusing on local authors having stories about the regional culture, place and history for children and young adults, they will read stories by non-Western Australian authors and writers if they revolve around the region and area. Illustrators, authors and photographers are welcome to send their manuscript too. Fremantle is interested in fiction, non-fiction, poetry and books for children and young adults. You can fill the submission form after reading the guidelines on this page.
It’s not surprising that the world’s largest trade publisher will have its offices in Australia too and print some of the country’s best and popular authors. Publishing adult fiction, non-fiction and children’s books, Penguin Random House is based in Melbourne and Sydney. Getting published with them will mean your name will be mentioned in their clientele which also includes Nobel Prize winners. They publish print, audio and eBooks across 20 countries on 5 continents. They do not accept plays or scripts or poetry. You can find the submission guidelines and contact details on this page. Submissions for picture books are open from April 1st to 30th November.
An imaginative, independent publisher located in Adelaide, Starfish Children’s Bay Books prints and publishes children’s books for children between 3-8 years. A relatively new publisher formed in 2014, Starfish is interested in acquiring children’s picture books with fun characters and a message for children. The great thing about them is they are actively seeking unpublished authors and want to hone their skills and support them through the journey of becoming published authors. Read the submission guidelines before sending your manuscript to them.
13. Hinkler Books
Started in 1994 in Melbourne; Hinkler is a publisher of children’s activity books, picture books and books for early readers. Hinkler prints impeccable books full of interesting arts and crafts, stories and pictures. They commission writers, illustrators and authors for a work-for-hire basis instead of the traditional royalty system. They do not accept children’s non-fiction or novels. Writers, authors and illustrators can find the submission instructions and contact details here.
14. Text Publishing
Michael Heyward started Text Publishing with the intention of creating high quality, exciting stories and books to entertain and involve readers. They have won the Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) Small Publisher of the Year in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Based in Melbourne, they publish books in fiction and non-fiction for adults and young adults. Writers of upper primary and young adult can send their manuscript to Text after reading the instructions and guidelines on this page.
A small, independent children’s publisher in New South Wales, New Frontier Publishing was formed in 2002. Since then it has printed and published children’s books, young adult fiction, junior fiction, picture books and junior non-fiction. Books that are read during childhood and teen years can have a long lasting impact on young and impressionable minds, which is why New Frontier chooses inspirational, optimistic and positive stories to publish. Printing both trade and educational books, they try to read all the submissions received because between the pile of papers lies the next bestseller. Read the detailed instructions and submit your manuscript.
16. Boolarong Press
Tired of all the big publishers and companies being in Melbourne or Sydney, Leslie Padman launched Boolarong Press in 1976 in Bowen Hills to offer local residents, readers, authors and writers a local publisher who understands the people and the place. Watson Ferguson and Company bought Boolarong Press in 1985. Having worked with nearly 1000 authors, Boolarong has mastered the art of collaborating and working closely with writers, authors and illustrators. Writers can find the submission form and details on this page.
17. Magabala Books
The publishing arm of the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre (KALACC), Magabala Books was founded in 1987. The purpose of this press was to restore, preserve, and spread Aboriginal and indigenous culture in the world. Traditions were passed and retained by sharing stories, cultures, and rituals in an informative yet entertaining way. It also became a great way to provide a platform for locals to work and share their lives with a global community. Genres they print include children’s books, non-fiction, poetry, fiction, middle readers, young adult, biography, history, and culture. You can find the submission guidelines and contact details mentioned here.
The traditional yet modern publisher is one of the fastest growing companies today. With offices in London, Sydney and Auckland, it has a wide global presence and name recognition. They have managed to capture audiences and readers in all genres and categories. New Holland believes in creating authentic, engaging and quality content for readers of all ages. The categories and topics they prefer include children’s books, cooking, non-fiction, coffee table books, health, sport, biographies, true crime, travel, and self-help. Find the submission guidelines and contact details available on this page.
This Adelaide based press was launched in 2006 with the mission of sharing good, happy stories with positive lessons and inspiration. They have published 200 titles in the last 12 years in print, digital, and audio books. They insist that your stories need to meet the criteria of having a happy ending, so if there is a conflict in your book then it needs to end on a victorious note for the hero. Doctor Zed has traditional and self-publishing options available. You need to fill a form giving basic contact details after which they will ask you to send a synopsis and status of your manuscript. Once you reply to that email then they will inform you of how to submit your manuscript.
20. Affirm Press
The independent Melbourne based publisher is winning hearts and minds alike. A small team of dedicated, expert publishing professionals have ensured the press has already won awards and accolades for its work. Positive, life changing, empowering stories are encouraged and supported by Affirm as their name suggests. They want to work with authors they respect and can see a future with. Affirm is eager to work with upcoming, new and debut authors and writers. Genre and style are no bar as they don’t want to restrict your imagination. The publisher has recently opened its kids list for submissions. Young adult, middle reader and junior categories are currently in contention for material and ideas. Find the guidelines and contact details mentioned here.
21. Pantera Press
Formed in 2008, Pantera Press has become Australia’s go-to publisher for gripping, engaging and fulfilling books. Shortlisted for the Small Publisher of the Year Award multiple times, Pantera prints fiction and non-fiction in all genres. A small family business that has made a habit of finding books in the ‘slush’ or ‘reject’ pile of manuscripts, Pantera is perfect for new and amateur writers. They are accepting young adult fiction or fiction for children aged 12 and above only. Find the submission guidelines and details here.
There you have it; a full and extensive list of 21 top Australian children’s book publishers accepting submissions. If you want any of the publishers to even read your manuscript then there are certain steps you must take. Your manuscript should be proofread, edited and complete. No publisher wants to see a grammatically poor and badly written manuscript. As a struggling writer, it may be difficult to hire a professional editor but you should consider one if you can manage to afford them.
Do read the guidelines carefully and follow all the formatting instructions to ensure your manuscript doesn’t land in the rejection or ignore bin. Children’s books are a big, bustling industry and your story can be simple but the narrative style, characters and writing need to be engaging and memorable.
All the publishers mentioned above in the list are authentic, professional and waiting to discover and polish new writing talent. All you have to do is send them your completed manuscript and wait for a response.
21 Top Australian Children’s Book Publishers Accepting Submissions is an article from Writing Tips Oasis.
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Shikha Pandey is a creative, content and script writer based in Mumbai, India.