Tanglewood Press currently accepts unsolicited manuscripts, and we love nothing more than to discover an unpublished, talented author with a wonderful manuscript begging to be published, or a published author whose latest work has brilliance not recognized by other publishers. We pride ourselves in our author relationships and our support and promotion for the select titles that we publish-in fact, we promise nothing less than total devotion. That said, we receive hundreds and hundreds of manuscripts, out of which only a few are chosen.
In order to avoid wasting your time and postage, please keep the following in mind.
Philosophy: We are looking for books that kids want to read, which are different than books that adults want children to read. In general, it seems that many people have the desire to write a book for children to relay a lesson in life that they want to share. We are not looking for those books. We are looking for great stories that kids will love.
Some other general rules and suggestions:
- We generally only publish fiction. However, we have decided to broaden our list to include some nonfiction. We are not a textbook publisher, nor are we qualified to publish a book on science or math. We would be most likely to consider a manuscript on some interesting history--whether of an event, an era, or a person not well known or covered elsewhere.
- Look at the market. Know what has been written. It's as easy as looking through an online retailer or strolling through your local bookstore. While stories with supernatural elements are always popular, we are not looking for a book on a boy wizard or vampires.
- Make sure it's a book that kids would want to read, not just what adults would want kids to read. A book on table manners is not the kidcentric book Tanglewood is looking for.
- Many people send in manuscripts telling the story of a special relationship in their lives, the most common being with children, grandchildren, or the family pet. While these should be written and kept as family heirlooms to be treasured, they are not usually publishable for a general market.
- If you are writing to educate children on an issue - particularly a disability of some kind - we're not the press for you. You might try approaching a foundation or organization on the particular disability or a medical/educational publisher.
- If you are writing a story to help children deal with a situation that is less than universal (my nephew got his thumb bit off by a flying squirrel, and I would like to help other children whose thumbs have been bit off by flying squirrels), we will not be interested. Market size is an important element to publishing.
- If you are writing a novel and haven't been around kids in a while, ensure that your dialogue sounds current. We receive many decent manuscripts that are spoiled by dated dialogue. This is particularly noticeable in all the first-person stories we read.
- Have you read much current children's literature recently? Have you studied how characters are developed, how plots are driven? Children's books may be shorter, but the rules of good writing still apply. Make sure you are well acquainted with what makes a book pleasurable to read. Be analytical.
- Unless you yourself are an illustrator, do not send illustrations with a manuscript. Publishers want to select the illustrators for the books they publish.
- Keep in mind that the world of children's book publishing is intensely competitive and there are many good writers trying to get their books published. Deciding that you want to be a children's book author is similar to deciding that you want to be a movie star. Only a lucky and talented few will make it, and many talented and deserving authors will not.
If you haven't been discouraged, then please email picture book manuscripts, or query letter with sample chapters for middle reader or YA novels, to: Kairi Hamlin (khamlinATtanglewoodbooks.com) Acquisitions Editor. No phone calls or faxes. We believe that this switch to digital submissions is not only in line with most other publishers, but will save on paper, postage, and time, in addition to the risk of things getting lost in the mail.
If you have submitted something by mail:
***We do not respond to status queries.*** We open envelopes in the order we receive them and only when we are ready to read the manuscripts. Otherwise, things get lost.
***Please do NOT send originals, only copies. We cannot guarantee the safety of your manuscript or illustrations.***
Please send samples and we will keep them on file. It is best to include at least one sample with a human face.
Art Director, Tanglewood, PO Box 3009, Terre Haute, IN 47803. Do not send certified mail. We only check our post office box every few weeks, and certified envelopes are sometimes returned. Please no phone calls or faxes.