Do you know your age range?
One of the most important things about writing for children and young people is working out where your work fits in. There are four main age groups in this category and each has different guidelines and requirements.
- Picture books (0–5)
- Early reader books (5–7)
- Chapter book or middle grade (7–12)
- Young-adult fiction (12–18)
Are you ready to submit?
If you’re writing a novel or prose book for younger readers, you really need to have the manuscript finished, edited and proofread before you start approaching agents or publishers.
If you’re writing a picture book, your situation will be different depending on whether you are a writer, a writer/illustrator (find more on our illustrator page), or a writer who is already working with an illustrator. Generally, publishers prefer to match up authors and illustrators themselves as part of the publishing process (although there are always exceptions!).
You will be expected to provide the finished text of your book when approaching agents or publisher's, only include images if their guidelines say that you should.
Do I need an agent?
Most (but not all) publishers will only accept submissions from agents. You can normally find out whether publishers accept unsolicited submissions via their websites or their listings on sites like Writers & Artists.
How do I get an agent?
There’s no magic answer here, but there are some things you can do to increase your chances. Check out our tips for submitting to an agent.
How can I improve my chances of getting published?
- Ignore trends. Vampires or dystopia can be the hot topic one day, but might not be by the time you’ve finished your book. Try and ignore what’s popular and write what you want to write. If you are writing about something that’s trending, make sure you're bringing something new to the table.
- Write for your audience. As always, your reader comes first! Think about your work as a conversation with them and the things that are important to them now. Pay close attention to the pace and plot of your work - younger readers will pick up on any mistakes in an instant.
- Be authentic: Stay true to your work and your characters. Are they speaking and thinking the way someone of their age would? They can differ from this of course, providing it is consistent and makes sense to the story. Do your research and speak to your potential audience.
- Learning more about your craft. Attend workshops, check out part-time courses, join (or set up) a local writers’ group or spend some time reading writing advice books.
- Enter awards and prizes. Winning an award or development opportunity can be a big draw for a publisher. Do approach prizes cautiously, though. Pay attention to how prestigious they appear and whether they charge a fee or not. Are you eligible for any of our writing programmes?
Who else can help?
Here are a few organisations that may be useful: