FAQs

What kind of content will Starts With Us acquire?

We won’t publish titles strictly because we follow market trends or aim for mass market appeal; we publish works that matter where we believe an audience exists. We will also consider previously published works where all rights have been returned to you or are owned by you that fit with the Starts With Us mission. We have a fondness for aspiring writers and illustrators as well and do not shy away from helping creatives with promise turn their book dreams into a reality. We are also in search of independent freelancers who wish to publish work for royalties or fixed rates, ghostwriters, specialists in activities and crafts, and even subject matter experts who may submit proposals and concepts to us for consideration. What matters to us the most is the meaning of the content we publish and whenever possible, we will put together the team to produce a final product that all of us can stand behind. 

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

Do you accept simultaneous submissions?

We do accept simultaneous submissions, but we ask that you please let us know if your work is a simultaneous submission. If your work is accepted elsewhere before you have heard back from us with a decision, please let us know as soon as possible by messaging us through your Submittable account.

How is working with Starts With Us different from traditional publishers?
  • First we are not a vanity publisher. We will NEVER take money from you. The money should flow from the consumer to you. Not the other way around.
  • We are a print-to-order publisher, which is different from a traditional publisher in terms of how your content will be printed, distributed, and how you will be paid, depending on the type of work acquired.
  • For royalty-based works, we will offer a higher royalty rate than you would normally expect to receive from a traditional publisher, while still offering a reasonable advance for your work. The exact details of the payment model for your work depends on the type of work acquired and will be determined on a case-by-case basis. 
  • Our flexible contracts will be easy to understand so you don’t feel pressured to sign when it  won’t be mutually beneficial to you or Starts With Us.
  • We will work together to figure out how best to market your book instead of leaving you to figure it out on your own.
  • We will encourage communication and feedback among everyone in the process, and that includes you. You will not be left out of the process. 
Where will Starts With Us books be available for purchase?

Your books will be available for purchase where Ingram distributes, including Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and Indiebound.org. However, like major trade publishers, your books will also be available for ordering by brick-and-mortar stores, however, we cannot guarantee your work will be carried by them. Once we have our first publication list selected, we will be actively pursuing the school and library trade market and foreign rights markets.

What kind of content will you publish?

To start, we will publish any format that is readily producible by print-to-order (PTO) technology and is also served well by e-book formats. This includes print and digital fiction and non-fiction picture books, early readers, chapter books, middle grade novels, YA novels, poetry or short story anthologies, graphic novels, and activities and crafts.

What kind of materials should be submitted to your “Writers: Other” category?

The “Other” category for writers on our Submittable page exists to allow those who have created work for young people that they feel accurately represents our values and would be of interest to us, but doesn’t quite fall under any of the more traditional categories listed. If you’re a writer and you’re not sure where your submission should go, the “Other” category is a good option.

Do you accept multiple submissions (more than one manuscript submitted at a time)?

While we don’t accept multiple submissions for every category, we do allow writers to submit two picture book manuscripts or two early reader manuscripts at a time.

Do you charge a reading fee? Are you a vanity publisher?

No, we do not charge any kind of reading fee for submissions, nor are we a vanity publisher. You will not pay anything to us to have your book published. We do NOT require purchase minimums or anything of the sort. We operate much like a traditional publisher except we use a print-to-order business model, so that we can mutually benefit from a model that has been rapidly adopted by book purchasers in the market place. We would be wary of any children’s book publisher who did any of the aforementioned things.

My manuscript isn’t finished or I have a book proposal. Can I still submit it to you?

For book proposals and series proposals, we will still need to examples of copy or content that would be part of the finished work. We would need to understand how you are uniquely qualified to put this book or series together. If you have a standalone picture book manuscripts, please submit the full work. If you are writing standalone works of longer length, and we request the full work based on your sample chapters, you should have a completed manuscript ready. That said, if it’s not ready, we won’t necessarily hold a spot for you, so understand that if you submit it much later, your opportunity for a potential contract might be missed. 

I submitted but didn’t receive a confirmation email. What’s going on?

If you submit but for some reason don’t receive a confirmation email, first check your spam folder to make sure the confirmation email hasn’t been flagged by your email server. If you still can’t locate it, please let us know. You can contact us to let us know about the problem.

What is your response timeline for submissions?

We have set a goal to respond to submissions within four weeks or less, which is much more efficient than the industry average, where one can wait anywhere from six months to a year if you are not agented. Also, our submissions process is electronic which means you will get a line into the editorial team without having to wonder if we got your submission. That said, we cannot guarantee a response time, so we appreciate your patience if we have a backlog of submissions to process. 

What’s the status of my submission?

You can check the status of your submission at any time by logging into your Submittable account. Beyond that, we ask that you wait a minimum of four weeks before querying for a status update on a submission.

I have more questions!

Contact us and let us know your thoughts.