Who Can Submit
Tanglewood accepts manuscripts from agents as well as unsolicited manuscripts. We love nothing more than to discover an unpublished, talented author with a wonderful manuscript, or a published author whose latest work has brilliance not recognized by other publishers. That said, we receive hundreds and hundreds of manuscripts, out of which only a few are chosen.
What We’d Like to See
While we publish for every age, from toddlers to teens, we are most interested in expanding Tanglewood’s range of middle grade and YA fiction and narrative nonfiction (history or biography). We are open to most fiction genres, as long as the manuscript has authentic, 3D characters and a strong plot. While we are not looking for high fantasy, elements of fantasy or the fantastical are always welcome.
Another aspect of a manuscript that would make us take a closer look would be diversity, in content, but even more importantly, in authorship. Tanglewood has always embraced diversity, and we want to give a wider range of people a voice and a place to tell their stories.
Finally, emotional depth is important, but we are not looking for a manuscript that is more about teaching a lesson than telling a great story.
General Rules and Suggestions
- 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. We’re looking for originality.
- Children’s books may be shorter, but the rules of good writing still apply. Have you studied how characters are developed, how plots are driven? Make sure you are well acquainted with what makes a book pleasurable to read. Be analytical.
- Make sure your story is 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.
- 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.
- 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‘s thumb was 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.
- 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 published 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.
Sending Documents for Review
If you haven’t been discouraged, please email full picture book manuscripts or a query letter with sample chapters for middle grade or young adult novels to:
submissions [at] tanglewoodbooks [dot] com
- We do not respond to status queries.
- We look at submissions in the order we receive them.
- Please include your name and email address on your manuscript and not just the query letter.
We ask that illustrators send a link to their work posted online, whether website, blog, or social media channel.
Please, no phone calls.