Here’s a list of 22 specialized manuscript publishers that accept direct submissions, compiled by Emily Harstone. See the complete list with links at Authors Publish.
By Emily Harstone
Young adult is one of my favorite genres to read, even though when I was a young adult I struggled to find good YA books. These days the young adult genre is profitable, diverse, and covers a wide variety of genres, from science fiction to romance and everything in between.
A lot of young adult publishers are open to submissions without an agent. Not as many as in the romance genre, but a great deal more than literary fiction (for example). Below is a list of all the publishers we have previously reviewed that are open to young adult manuscripts.
Some of these publishers exclusively publish young adult novels, others publish children’s books as well, while others are open to a wider variety of genres and age groups. Not all of the publishers are currently open to submissions, but the majority of them are. If you click on the name of the publisher it will link to our full review of them. All our full reviews contain links to the various publishers’ submission pages.
The list is in no particular order.
Page Street Publishing
Page Street Publishing is a publisher of YA and Children’s publisher. They have excellent distribution.
Blue Moon Publishers
Blue Moon is a boutique Canadian Publisher. They focus on publishing literary fiction and women’s fiction, as well as young adult and middle grade works. The stories they publish span various genres including contemporary, historical, mystery, science fiction, and fantasy.
Shadow Mountain is an imprint of Deseret Book. Both publishers are Mormon, but Deseret Book focuses more on producing faith-based content. Shadow Mountain publishes primarily fiction and they have published a number of New York Times bestselling books. Because the company is Mormon run, books have to be approved by in-house censors in order to be published. They are very firm about publishing “clean books only”. However the authors need not be Mormon.
Charlesbridge publishes high quality books for children and young adults with the goal of creating lifelong readers and lifelong learners. They have good distribution.
Read the rest of the list.
Had a fantastic time at San Diego Comic-Con. I participated in three panels and got to hang out with some amazing authors. Took a ton of pictures for my friends who couldn’t be there. Enjoy!
My little Predator? One of my favorite pictures from the convention.
My sons and I outside the San Diego Convention Center
In the San Diego Convention Center, no one can hear you scream!
The Dark Crystal, Planet of the Apes, and Lord of the Rings sculptures
A giant Mr. Krabs from Spongebob Squarepants!
“Not with 10,000 men could you do this.”
Ah, Dungeons & Dragons humor…
Puppets from the upcoming TV show Crank Yankers
Tiki Yoda and Moana !?
Godzilla doesn’t like waiting in lines either.
A sketch of me by the creator of Mr. Toast
The importance of good dental hygiene…
I’ve got my eye on you!
Domino from X-Men
Stephen King’s IT
Final Fantasy characters
3A figures from Ashley Woods
Magic Wheelchairs ❤
Met the kind and talented author of THE NIGHT CIRCUS, Erin Morgenstern
The wonderful author of SHADOW AND BONE, Leigh Bardugo, wins the Inkpot award
Leigh Bardugo and Erin Morgenstern: talented and funny
Are You There, Gods? It’s Us, the Protagonists panel with authors Rebecca Roanhorse, Scott Westerfeld, Margaret Rogerson, Ann Leckie, and Joan He
Ruby Rod cosplay from The Fifth Element. Supergreen!
Joffrey cosplay from Game of Thrones
The Future as I See It panel with authors Gini Koch, Tim Zahn, Steven Sears, Jonathan Maberry, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, and Seanan McGuire
The Fantastic Flavors of Fantasy panel with authors Renee Ahdieh, Lauren Shippen, Katy Pool, Nicole Conway, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Marissa Meyer
Those green army “men” are real people!
Jonathan Maberry gives Nancy Holder the Scribe Award
Star Wars samurai cosplay!
Wherefore Dystopia and Darkness panel with bestselling authors Jess Rothenberg, Richard Kadrey, S.L. Huang, Ally Condie, Rachel Caine, and Marie Lu
Admiral Ackbar cosplay from Star Wars. “It’s a trap!”
Fembot cosplay from Austin Powers
She-Ra and Kim Possible cosplay
Tank Girl cosplay
The Writers Coffeehouse author panel with (l to r) me, Jonathan Maberry, Delilah Dawson, Peter Clines and Scott Sigler.
I can’t wait to see this urban fantasy series!
Carnival Row stars Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne. Is it hot in here, or is it just me?
Cara Delevingne’s fairy character takes flight off the edge of a cliff.
Six-foot tall LEGO Batman minifigure
Monty Python and the Holy Grail cosplay. “There are some who call me… Tim.”
Wakanda (Black Panther) / Spiderman basketball team cosplay. SDCC is known for such creative mashups.
Chun-Li cosplay from Street Fighter video game
Green Arrow cosplay
Peter Pan Lost Boy Rufio cosplay from the movie Hook
Beetlejuice cosplay. Don’t say his name three times
Stellar Stories and Awesome Adventures panel with authors Maura Milan, Mark Siegel, Tochi Onyebuchi, Ashley Poston, and Maryelizabeth Yturralde
Disney Hyperion Publishing panel with authors/editors Emily Meehan, Brittany Rubiana, Serena Valentino, and Jocelyn Davies
Theseus and the Minotaur cosplay
Three interpretations of Judge Dredd cosplay
Lord Voldemort: He Who Shall Not Be Named. Oops.
Skeleton warrior cosplay
Wonder Woman cosplay
Game of Thrones cosplay: Cersei, The Mountain, The Night King, Arya wondering why SHE isn’t killing the Night King
Rick and Morty cosplay
Global debut of the cover of my upcoming picture book, 2 Pirates + 1 Robot, from Kane Miller Books.
My fantasy/sci-fi author panel with (l to r) Tomi Adeyemi, Lev Grossman, A.G. Howard, Aditi Khorana, and Jonathan Maberry.
They packed the room!
Fans of The Magicians may recall Umber asking for little cakes. I brought Lev Grossman some little cakes.
After the panel, the authors signed their books. Many added graffiti to the tablecloth. Someone drew salmon. Author Chuck Wendig apparently has no respect for sustainable salmon farming. And the feeling is mutual.
Lev Grossman (The Magicians) left his own graffiti.
Mostly, we signed books. Here author Lev Grossman signs a fan’s chest.
My favorite cosplay of the convention: Warhammer 40K Sisters of Battle! Adepta Sororitas
My KidLit literary agent panel with (l to r) Hannah Mann, Thao Le, Kelly Sonnack and Stefanie Von Borstel.
Writing Craft panel with authors Sarah Gailey, Annalee Newitz, Charlie Jane Anders, Seanan McGuire, and Cory Doctorow
Godzilla, Ghidorah, and Rodan resin miniatures
Sci-fi author greats Larry Niven, Greg Bear, and David Brin
Fandom Meets YA panel with authors Livia Blackburne, Mary Pearson, Tricia Levenseller, A.G. Howard, and C.B. Lee
Lord of the Rings cosplay. A Minas Tirith dress! “For Gondor!!”
Reinventing the Modern Girl panel with authors Seanan McGuire, Danielle Paige, Sarah Kuhn, Nila Macgruder, Cecil Castellucci, and Jenn Fujikawa.
I had a great time attending the 2019 Charlotte Huck Children’s Literature Festival at the University of Redlands. I saw friends Joe Cepeda, Dianne White, and Carmen Oliver, and met new friends:
Joyce Sidman is the Newbery Honor-winning poet/author of Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night, and two Caldecott Honor books: Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems (also a Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award winner) and Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors (which won the Claudia Lewis Poetry Award).
Bethany Hegedus is the award-winning author of Grandfather Gandhi, co-written with Arun Gandhi, grandson to the Mahatma.
Mrs. Nelson’s Book Fair sold books. Mine had very nice company from Doreen Cronin’s classic.
Richard Michelson is the poet/author of The Language of Angels, which won the National Jewish Book Award, the Junior Library Guild Gold Medal, and the
2018 Sydney Taylor Gold Medal.
Doreen Rappaport is the award-winning author of 48 children’s books, including BEYOND COURAGE: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust.
53. Children’s Literary Agent panel with Taylor Martindale Kean, Tim Travaglini, Jen Baxter, Kari Sutherland, Thao Le
54. Fantasy Literature panel with Victoria Schwab, Livia Blackburne, Maggie Stiefvater, and Kevin Hearne (Laini Taylor not shown)
Matt Phelan is the illustrator of many books for young readers, including XANDER’S PANDA PARTY by Linda Sue Park, MARILYN’S MONSTER by Michelle Knudsen, and FLORA’S VERY WINDY DAY by Jeanne Birdsall. He is the author/illustrator of the picture books DRUTHERS and PIGNIC, as well as the graphic novels THE STORM IN THE BARN (winner of the Scott O’Dell Award), AROUND THE WORLD, BLUFFTON, the New York Times Bestseller SNOW WHITE, and most recently, IF WENDELL HAD A WALRUS by Lori Mortensen. Matt lives in Pennsylvania.
For what age audience do you write/illustrate?
I both write and illustrate picture books and middle grade novels (both graphic novels and prose).
Tell us about your latest book.
IF WENDELL HAD A WALRUS by Lori Mortensen is about wishing for a special friend and getting one (but not the one you wished for).
Henry: Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.
What do you hope readers will get from reading that book?
I hope they laugh a lot and also care about the boys in the story. Finding good friends is an important part of life.
What aspect of writing or illustrating do you find most challenging?
Illustrating a book written by another author is a wonderful challenge. I feel a responsibility to “get” what the author was intending as well as to add something of my own to the mix.
What is a powerful lesson you’ve learned from being a writer/illustrator?
No matter how many books you have made, it always feels like the first time.
Henry: That makes sense. You’re creating art, not baking apple pie from a recipe.
What has been a memorable experience that you never would have had if you had not been a writer/illustrator?
I really enjoy visiting schools and talking to kids directly about the process of making books. It’s always a pleasure and a privilege. And maybe I’ve inspired a future author or illustrator.
Henry: With great power comes great responsibility.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors or illustrators?
Draw and write as much as possible. There are many factors to breaking into publishing that you cannot control. However, the one thing you have 100% control over is your work. And that is the key to breaking into publishing.
Henry: Hone. Your. Craft.
Do you have any favorite quotes?
“To achieve great things, two things are needed: A plan, and not quite enough time.” — Leonard Bernstein. I have that above the door in my studio.
Henry: That should be the illustrator’s credo. “You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” — Woodrow Wilson
Do you have any strange rituals that you observe when you write/illustrate?
Is drinking coffee strange? How about a lot of coffee? I tend to stay away from rituals. But I take frequent breaks to play some kind of musical instrument in the studio.
Henry: Coffee is not a strange ritual unless you imbibe it intravenously.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Flying, because it has to be the most fun of the superpowers.
Henry: True, but also fraught will perils. See my interview with Edna Mode on this subject.
If you could have three authors over for dinner, who would it be?
Jeanne Birdsall (because she’s brilliant and funny), P.G. Wodehouse (same), and Isak Dinesen (because she could tell us all a fantastic story after dinner).
Henry: Wikipedia helpfully offers: Jeanne Birdsall is an American writer of children’s books. She is known mainly for the “Penderwick sisters”, whose third chronicle was published in 2011. The first, which was her debut novel, won the 2005 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.
Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse KBE (1881 – 1975) was an English author and one of the most widely read humourists of the 20th century.
Baroness Karen Christenze von Blixen-Finecke (1885 – 1962) was a Danish author. She is best known under her pen names Isak Dinesen, used in English-speaking countries, and Tania Blixen, used in German-speaking countries.
Blixen is best known for Out of Africa, an account of her life while living in Kenya, and for one of her stories, Babette’s Feast, both of which have been adapted into Academy Award-winning motion pictures.
What is your favorite creature that exists only in literature?
Medusa is a good one. I’ve always like the Minotaur, too. The Greeks were great at mixing a bit of tragedy with their horrors.
Henry: I’ve always been struck by how flawed their gods were.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing/illustrating?
Hanging out with my kids.
What would you like it to say on your tombstone?
He’s Not Here.
Where can readers find your work?
Henry: Thanks for spending time with us, Matt.