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A children's book publisher is a company or entity that publishes books for children. These may range from books designed for babies and toddlers all the way up to teen and young adult books. Often, a children's book publisher will specialize in books within a certain age range, depending on the size of the company. Larger companies are more likely to have the funds to publish a larger spectrum of books.
Each children's book publisher may work differently. Some are willing to accept unsolicited manuscripts or queries directly from writers, while others will only work with literary agents. If they choose to publish a book, they may pay a flat fee to the writer or illustrator, or they may make royalty payments based on the earnings of the book or a percentage from the list price. A children's book publisher may also only publish books that fall within a specific genre, such as young adult fantasy, for instance.
Typically, a children's book publisher will accept either text or illustrations from a contributor, but not both. This means they will accept a written manuscript from a writer, and hire their own illustrator to illustrate the work; or, they will accept sample illustrations from an artist, and later hire that artist to illustrate a particular manuscript. If a writer is adamant that his or her own writing and illustrations be published together, it may be more difficult to find a publisher.
Most children's book publishers are very specific about their requirements for submissions, if they accept unsolicited queries at all. They may simply ask for a query letter, the first few chapters or pages of a book, or the entire manuscript up front. No matter the request, it is important to follow submission guidelines to the letter; a children's book publisher will likely just throw out a query or manuscript that does not meet the guidelines, because they may receive dozens or hundreds of queries every week. Once a publisher has published a work, they may be more likely to work with that particular author or illustrator again in the future. Some may be asked to sign contracts, while others will be published on an individual basis.
A children's book publisher will likely employ a number of staff, including editors and proofreaders. Additionally, bookbinding may take place on the premises, or they may send the manuscripts to an outside company for binding and physical publication. Book publishers typically expect their employees to have college degrees, often in English or related fields.