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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  122 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
The comprehensive guide to writing, publishing, and selling for the ever-expanding and always exciting children's market-now in a new and updated second edition.

Includes new chapters for illustrators, on submissions, portfolios, art directors, and more
In 2001, children's book publishing was a $1.8 billion market
Offers practical advice on getting started, plus the ba
Kindle Edition, Third Edition
Published by Alpha Publishing (first published February 3rd 2001)
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Aug 22, 2009 Jen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful and easy instruction book, as most of the "Idiot's Guide" series is. I would recommend reading it in concert with at least one other "how to publish" type book, though, as this one can get a little heart-breaking. There's very little encouragement here, which is good because it doesn't try to give you false hopes, but also doesn't feel like it believes you can actually succeed! A good supplement, definitely.
Jan 06, 2011 Joy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: children's book writers
When I first started Harold Underdown's book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books, I thought it was starting too slowly and was a little too repetitive. In retrospect, I'm pretty sure it was just my eagerness to fill my brain with as much knowledge about the process of writing, publishing and selling a children's book that was discontent.

I now feel like I know enough about releasing my manuscripts into the publishing world to take that terrifying leap. Underdown prepares hi
Aug 06, 2013 Drucilla rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: u
Actual rating: 2.5 stars. If you're looking to learn the basics of publishing, however, then consider this a three star rating. But if that's the case, then you should think about choosing a book that's been updated within the last 5 years. There's nothing glaringly out of date, but I found certain sections such as self-publishing and e-books lacking. Also, this book should have been called "Writing and Publishing Your Children's Book." Huge chunks are devoted to writing and, to a lesser extent, ...more
Linda Martin
May 31, 2016 Linda Martin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
It has been a few years since I read this book and since then I moved and gave all my writing books to a friend before I left town. I was trying to lighten my load but of all the books I gave away I miss my writing books most.

I have a lot of respect for the writer of this book and remember it being basic, factual, and helpful. I'd recommend it for anyone who considers embracing the life of a writer for children. Follow your dreams but be realistic. Plan ahead. Stay inspired.
أميرة هاني
Kay Mcgriff
Sep 01, 2014 Kay Mcgriff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Harold D. Underdown gives a complete peek behind the curtain of the children's publishing industry in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books, Third Edition (Penguin 2008). I have picked up much of the information over the years from following the blogs of some of my favorite writers, but I still learned much about the process, especially what happens once the writing and editing is done.

I found some of the most valuable parts of the books to be the references to additional res
Jamie Collins
After just begiing ot read this book, I slipped it into my backpack to take to work (to read on breaks only bossman, honest). Well, it frickin dumped monsoon-style on my bike ride home and everything inside my pack, including this idiots guide was soaked. I am an idiot. The cheap-assed paper they use in the Idiots manuals blows up when it gets wet, so now I had this unconcealable mess of ruination. Admittedly I tried returning the book to the library (yes, it was a library book) all cool, like y ...more
Aug 08, 2007 Deborah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who is interested in publishing a children’s book can save themselves a lot of trouble by doing their homework; this book is a comprehensive, invaluable place to start. Underdown generously provides some of this information and other advice for free on his website, The Purple Crayon (, for anyone who wants a preview of what this book includes and more. He covers the entire process of writing and illustrating for children, from “Where to Begin”, through submitting and pub ...more
I think the 'idiot' book series are better than the 'dummies' books. Perhaps it's because I feel I'm more an idiot than a dummy. Truly, to me, they are easier to read and understand. I liked this publishing book. It gave good advice but I needed more.
May 27, 2011 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing-craft
This is more of a reference book that you keep referring to again and again. Not necessarily one to sit down and read all at once. That said, it is a must for children's writers to have on their shelves.
May 19, 2008 Maren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eventhough I am only at the preliminary stages of the process, the book gave a great overview of what is to be expected in trying to get my writing published. It did a great job of getting me really excited about it, but still gave a realistic view of how difficult it may be.
Sue (booknbeachbag)
I'm not sure if, in March 2012, this book has the most up-to-date information regarding submissions, but it provided good solid steps to follow in order to transform a completed draft into a manuscript ready to be submitted - and beyond.
Harold Underdown
Mar 30, 2013 Harold Underdown rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
This is the current edition of my book! Since I can't write a review of my own book, I'll just direct you to this information page about it, with links to chapters of the book, a page of reviews, and other materials:
Kim Briggs
Jun 29, 2012 Kim Briggs rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must-have tool in the writer's toolbox. Deciding when your manuscript is ready to submit just became easier!
D.L. Price
Apr 26, 2012 D.L. Price rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-writing
For a new author coming into the publishing world, this is a great book to read! I have read it cover to cover; and now use as a reference guide. A must have on your publishing book list!
Kirsti Call
I've started writing down some of the stories that I tell my kids. This book is very informative and readable.
Jul 24, 2009 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The information is valuable. I learned none of this during my graduate work in Creative Writing. Of course, this is the only publishing handbook I've read, I've nothing to compare it to.
Miquela rated it liked it
Apr 23, 2013
Ken Carr
Ken Carr rated it really liked it
Dec 25, 2014
Angela Reyero
Angela Reyero rated it it was amazing
Nov 01, 2011
Jenna Mayle
Jenna Mayle rated it liked it
Jun 11, 2016
Dennis Garber
Dennis Garber rated it liked it
Oct 20, 2015
Mary rated it really liked it
Mar 13, 2011
Georges rated it it was ok
Oct 27, 2012
Elizabeth C. Haynes
The first third of the book was somewhat useful. The rest is outdated.
Nat rated it it was amazing
Feb 01, 2015
Amanda Larson
Amanda Larson rated it liked it
Feb 01, 2015
Kristin LiBretto
Kristin LiBretto rated it liked it
Feb 11, 2016
Lauri Meyers
Lauri Meyers rated it really liked it
Jun 03, 2012
Julie Black
Julie Black rated it liked it
Dec 28, 2014
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I have been a children's book editor for over 20 years. For the first half of that, I worked in-house at Macmillan, Orchard, and Charlesbridge. More recently I have been working independently--working with authors and publishers, speaking at conferences, and giving workshops. I also run The Purple Crayon, an informational website, at, and am a contributing editor to Child ...more
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