PAL Guidelines for Publishers

PAL Guidelines

These guidelines are considered minimum qualifications. Additional factors may also determine whether a publisher is or is not eligible for PAL.

1. The author/illustrator shall not have paid any money to the publisher for consideration of their work; nor for the publication, marketing, editing and/or distribution of their work; nor any other payment in order to produce their work in any format. This eliminates all forms of vanity publishing, subsidy publishing, and hybrid publishing, including agreements in which publication costs are taken from the creator’s royalties. Publishers that offer traditional and self-publishing options within the same imprint may not qualify for PAL.

2. The publisher, whether traditional or new media, must provide a professional editorial process prior to publication at no charge to the author/illustrator.

3. The author/illustrator must not be required to purchase copies of their own books.

4. The publisher must offer a means of broad distribution of the work to retail customers.

5. The publisher must have published works from at least five authors and/or illustrators who are not related to each other. Thus, if there are several illustrators but only one author (or vice versa) the publisher will not qualify.

6. The publisher must show a consistent track record of publishing works for a Children’s/Young Adult audience.

7. The publisher, whether traditional or new media, provides a means of marketing at no cost to the author/illustrator.

How does your membership category change to PAL?

When you upload a book to your profile, choose a publisher from the dropdown list, and save the information, your membership will change to PAL if it is not already PAL. Once your membership changes to PAL, it will always be PAL and is not dependent on whether you publish any other works with PAL publishers.

What if your publisher isn't on the PAL list?

If this is the first time you're loading a book to your profile, your membership will change from Associate (or pre-published) to Full (self-published, hybrid published, or all other types of publishing). If you've loaded books to your profile before, and your membership category is already set to PAL, your membership stays as PAL.

You think the publisher of your book meets PAL requirements. What can you do?

When you upload the book to your profile but the publisher isn't included in the dropdown list, fields will appear that allow you to enter the publishing company's name and contact email. The SCBWI PAL Inquiry committee will then research and contact the publisher. If the publisher meets the PAL criteria listed above, it will be added to the list and your membership will be changed to PAL.


The purpose of the PAL inquiry is to request vetting of a publisher for PAL status. It does not approve individual books as PAL or creators as PAL members. Your membership category changes to PAL the first time a PAL publisher publishes your work, and your membership category remains PAL as long as you keep a paid membership with SCBWI. Please do not contact SCBWI to perform a PAL inquiry for publishers that are already included in the PAL list.

Members should not write to SCBWI to request a PAL inquiry on behalf of a publisher. Publishers wishing to be vetted for our PAL list should use the green "Help" button on this page to request a PAL inquiry. The request will be forwarded to the PAL Inquiry committee.

How long does it take to establish a PAL rating for a publisher?

A PAL review may take up to 45 business days. If the publisher isn't added to the dropdown list on our site after 45 days, this indicates the publisher did not meet the requirements for PAL.

There is no guarantee that any publisher will be granted PAL status, and publishers that no longer meet the requirements may be removed from PAL status. SCBWI always retains the right to disqualify a publisher from PAL if it finds the publisher no longer meets PAL criteria.