How Children’s Book Publishing Works

The Life Cycle of a Children’s Book: from author to bookshelf

At the very beginning, an author writes a book and prepares the manuscript for submission. If they have a literary agent, the agent will pitch their book to publishers and negotiate the best book deal for the author. Alternatively, authors can submit a summary of their book, along with a few sample chapters, directly to a publisher.

The submissions and acquisitions team will look through their submissions and if they find something that they’re interested in publishing, they’ll pitch it to the Publisher and wider team. Then they’ll contact the author for more information and negotiate what rights are included in the publishing deal (e.g. foreign language rights or film and TV rights). Accepting submissions always depends on what is a right fit for the right publishing company at the right time in their publishing programme.

Once the submission has been accepted and the contract has been signed, the production team will communicate with the printing company and allocate a schedule. The editorial team get to work on editing and proofreading the book to make it the best it could possibly be for the current market.

The design team will begin working on designing the cover, briefing illustrators (if the project needs one) and prepare for typesetting: the fonts and page layout. Once the book is complete, the production team will deliver the file to the printer and hand over to the operations team to oversee the delivery of stock.

The marketing and publicity team work on creating some early interest and buzz around the book and/or the author, while planning the book’s launch campaign. Some of the many platforms many include on social media, NetGalley or other review platforms and with the press and journalists.

The sales team send advanced information and pitch the book to booksellers to confirm sales channels and pre-orders. The rights team also pitch the book to foreign publishers and other potential partners (e.g. film scouts) at trade book fairs who might be interesting in buying and working with some of the rights that the publisher holds.

Once the stock arrives, the operations team fulfil all the pre-orders and communicate with the sales team. The book is then on sale for customers to buy and the operations team manage stock levels and regularly process orders that the sales team bring in.

The cycle begins again if there is a new edition of the book or if there is a new book in the series.