Market Guides According to Humphrey

Do you ever get overwhelmed when you look through a market guide? I do! I mean, page after page after page tells me information like this:

Does NOT accept queries.
Submit ONLY through agent.
Absolutely pawsitively NO UNSOLICITED SUBMISSIONS!

It’s enough to get a cat discouraged.

In fact, a cool cat called me last week on the phone and even asked me, “Does any publisher anywhere actually even take queries anymore?”

I assured her they did, and then I shared my secret with her. She immediately felt better. And if you promise not to let the cat out of the bag, I’ll share my secret with you, too. (Promise?)

I make my own market guide! And in MY market guide:
EVERY publisher accepts queries!
EVERY publisher accepts unagented submissions!
EVERY publisher likes to work with first time authors!
EVERY publisher welcomes unsolicited submissions.

Here’s how I made this awesome market guide that I call:

Humphrey’s Mar-CAT Guide
of Children’s Book Publishers
Who Accept Queries
Who DO NOT Need an Agent
Who Work With First Time Authors
and Who Accept Simultaneous Submissions

(See? That’s me with my market guide in the picture up above. Pretty good, huh?)

Step 1: Pick up your favorite market guide. Some of my favorite market guides include:
Jacketflap at
The Christian Writer’s Market Guide
The Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market by Writer’s Digest
Book Markets for Children’s Writers by Institute of Children’s Literature
The Writer’s Market by Writer’s Digest

Step 2: Find 5 publishers who say they accept queries, accept unagented submissions, like to work with first time authors, and accept unsolicited submissions.

Step 3: Photocopy one page of information for each of those publishers or print them out from Jacketflap.

Step 4: Put those five pages in a 3-ring notebook.

Step 5: Look for 5 more publishers who accept queries, etc.

Step 6: Repeat steps 1-4 until you have at 20 to 50 publishers in your market guide who ALL accept queries, accept unagented submissions, like working with first time authors, and accept unsolicited submissions.

Now, I don’t know about you, but every time I pick up my market guide, I just get excited! I’ve got an entire book of possibilities! Now I LOVE to look through my market guide, find publishers who accept queries, and contact them with ideas for potential books. It’s the cat’s meow!

And for those of you who have an agent or want to acquire an agent, you can make part of your notebook be a market guide for publishers who REQUIRE an agent. Just flip your notebook over, turn it upside-down so it opens like a book should open and collect pages of publishers an agent would submit your manuscripts to. Here’s what it would look like: