Information about The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books
I am a children's book editor and the author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books. A revised and updated third edition is now available. -- Harold Underdown
"I wish this book had been around when I first started out!"
--Linda Sue Park, Newbery Medalist: more on Reviews and Endorsements page
Changes from the second edition:
- Updates in several chapters.
- A new chapter on finding a good writing how-to.
- A new chapter on self-publishing.
- Marketing and promotion section reorganized and revised.
- Revisions and added material throughout.
If you own the first edition, it may be time to "upgrade"; here's why.
- Chapter 3: The World of Children's Literature: How to learn about the books you want to create.
- Chapter 8: Book Formats and Age Levels: The basic types of books for children.
- Chapter 11 supplement: Writing Guides
- Chapter 17: I Need an Agent!
- Chapter 22: So How Does It All Work? (excerpt) The best practices for contacting publishers. new
- Chapter 26 supplement: Editor Profiles--the chapter includes some editor profiles--here are more.
- Chapter 31: Back to School (excerpt) The basics of school visits. new
- Table of Contents of the third edition.
- Resource Guide A detailed list, divided up into categories, describing the most useful books, magazines, organizations, and web sites.
- Glossary About 150 general and children's publishing terms explained--this is the most comprehensive listing I've seen online.
- Corrections and additions Corrections to all editions.
Third Edition FAQ
Reviews and Endorsements
One-page Promotional Handout: This is a PDF file that you can download and print.
Self-Publisher or Small Press: Joi Nobisso and Gingerbread House: an interview.
Lucas Miller: Smart Self-Publishing: another interview.
An Intervew with Harold Underdown: From 2007--discusses the 2nd edition.
"How I Got My Drawing Table" by Deborah Kogan Ray, which appears in the book in much shorter form.
Thumbnails and Sketches: part of the illustration process (a page that didn't make it into the book.)
An Interview with Jane Yolen, noted author and contributor of the foreword.
Your local bookstore can order it. If you prefer to buy it online, use these links. Bookstores should have the new edition in stock no later than the first week of February. As elsewhere on this site, these links pay a commission that helps to keep this site running:
- Buy The C.I. Guide to Publishing Children's Books at Amazon, a major online retailer, which usually sells the book at a 30+% discount, or
- Buy the Kindle edition of The C.I. Guide to Publishing Children's Books at Amazon or
- Buy The C.I. Guide to Publishing Children's Books through IndieBound, a program of America's independent booksellers. You can pick it up at your local independent bookstore.
- Buy The C.I. Guide to Publishing Children's Books at Amazon Canada, if you live in Canada.
- Buy The C.I. Guide to Publishing Children's Books at Amazon UK, if you live in Europe.
Warning: Earlier editions are still widely available. Make sure you are buying the third edition by checking the ISBN, which should be 978-1592577507. Read the Third Edition FAQ for more information.
This is a comprehensive guide, over 350 pages long, to every aspect of writing, illustrating, and publishing children's books, covering such topics as how to format a manuscript, how to research publishers, how to negotiate contracts, how to work with an art director, how to plan a bookstore event, and more. Please be aware that is is not a "how to write" book--there are dozens of those available--and it is not a listing of publishers--again, there are excellent ones already on the market. Instead, this is designed to provide guidance from the time you write your first manuscript or put together your first portfolio to the time your fiftieth book is published.