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Genres & Age Categories => Picture Books (PB) => Topic started by: Leah on May 03, 2015, 06:10 AM

Title: Publishers for Picture Book Biographies
Post by: Leah on May 03, 2015, 06:10 AM
I'm new to this section of the boards, so let me start by introducing myself - my name is Leah Cypess, and I'm a YA writer who is working on branching out into picture books, primarily picture book biographies of historical Jewish figures (Dona Gracia Nasi, Ben Yehuda, Yehuda HaLevi, etc.) My agent does not really do picture books, but he is willing to do the legwork of submitting and (hopefully!) negotiating contracts, as long as I do the research about where to send. Our goal is to find a publisher who is a good enough fit that I would develop a good working relationship with them and stick with them for the majority of these books.

I've done research and compiled a long list of publishers that we could submit to. I'm thinking that smaller and indie presses with more of a school/library focus are probably our best bet -- Holiday House, Lee & Low, Chronicle, Charlesbridge, etc.

Since we're going to start with a handful on the first round, I was hoping some of you might share the benefit of your experience and let me know who you would consider the best publishers for this kind of project? Not that I am assuming any of them will want my books, of course, but if I have to choose a few for the first round, I might as well choose the ones I'm really hoping for!

Feel free to email me if you don't want to comment about specific publishers on the boards -- I'm at LCypess@gmail.com. Any input is EXTREMELY appreciated, since despite my research I do feel a bit lost in the dark. Thank you so much!
Title: Re: Publishers for Picture Book Biographies
Post by: lauriew on May 03, 2015, 08:15 AM
I have a picture book biography, Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine, coming out this fall from Creston Books. They have been wonderful to work with and Marissa Moss is an amazing editor.
Title: Re: Publishers for Picture Book Biographies
Post by: Leah on May 03, 2015, 02:04 PM
Thank you!
Title: Re: Publishers for Picture Book Biographies
Post by: Betsy on May 03, 2015, 02:09 PM
I've published a couple of biographies. I can name a few publishers, but it's hard to say which is "the best." Some publishers will give you a larger advance, others might be easier to work with, and still others have better distribution. So the answer to who's the best is: It depends.

A few publishers who publish general nonfiction might be interested, especially the Jewish publishers (the bigger publishers might consider it a niche market).
Title: Re: Publishers for Picture Book Biographies
Post by: Leah on May 03, 2015, 03:22 PM
Thanks, Betsy - that's a good point. I would say better distribution and being easy to work with are my two top priorities.
Title: Re: Publishers for Picture Book Biographies
Post by: Debbie Vilardi on May 05, 2015, 07:09 AM
Start with presses that publish non fiction and have some Jewish interest books. Kar Ben is the premier Jewish publisher in the US.
Title: Re: Publishers for Picture Book Biographies
Post by: Leah on May 05, 2015, 08:38 AM
Thank you!
Title: Re: Publishers for Picture Book Biographies
Post by: Mara on May 05, 2015, 01:13 PM
I think these days nearly all mainstream children's publishers are doing picture book biographies. I've got new and/or upcoming PB bios with Candlewick, Chronicle, Calkins Creek, and Coughton Cifflin Carcourt (cidding) (ok, I'll stop now).

It mostly just depends on all the usual stuff, like who likes what, who's looking for what, who already has what, etc. That's where an agent comes in handy. Mine doesn't take a lot of clients who do picture books, either, but she does keep her eye open for those of us who do.

Title: Re: Publishers for Picture Book Biographies
Post by: dkshumaker on May 05, 2015, 05:06 PM
Oh Mara, I just have to say I loved GINGERBREAD FOR LIBERTY. What a fantastic and fun story. And a friend was telling me about MESEMERIZED, so I just put a request on it at my library. I've been following this thread since I've got a few polished PBs I'm about to start sending out and, ta da,  I see you here! Congrats on the fantastic bios. (One of mine is also about Ben Franklin - something few people know about. . . . .)

And everyone who has contributed to this thread. Thanks! I've enjoyed following it.
Title: Re: Publishers for Picture Book Biographies
Post by: Mara on May 05, 2015, 05:29 PM
Thanks, dkshumaker!   :love5
Title: Re: Publishers for Picture Book Biographies
Post by: Kell on May 05, 2015, 05:47 PM
It really depends on the subject and execution -- some PB bios are perfect for pubs that concentrate on the school and library market, and some are perfect for commercial trade presses. With the Common Core emphasis on NF, all publishers will likely expand their NF PBs.

(And if they haven't been mentioned, add Abrams and Candlewick. I'm on my phone and can't see posts while I type!)
Title: Re: Publishers for Picture Book Biographies
Post by: Betsy on May 06, 2015, 12:34 PM
Mara, you're a wonder!
Title: Re: Publishers for Picture Book Biographies
Post by: Schriscoe on May 06, 2015, 07:38 PM
I have a picture book biography, Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine, coming out this fall from Creston Books. They have been wonderful to work with and Marissa Moss is an amazing editor.

Oh that is fantastic! I have a PB manuscript on Ada too!:) She was an amazing woman wasn't she! I'll be sure to pick yours up this fall!
Title: Re: Publishers for Picture Book Biographies
Post by: Leah on May 07, 2015, 12:29 PM
Thank you again, everyone! This has been super-helpful. I have a shortlist now and am researching madly. :)
Title: Re: Publishers for Picture Book Biographies
Post by: lauriew on May 07, 2015, 02:15 PM
Thanks, Schriscoe. For those who don't know, Ada was the world's first computer programmer.