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

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  130 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
'Honest and precise, everything about writing for children there is to know.'
Jane Yolen, author

Here is the comprehensive guide to writing, publishing, and selling for an ever-expanding and always exciting children's market, now in a new and updated third edition.

- Includes new chapters on self-publishing and on "how to choose a how-to", plus revision and updates throughout
Paperback, Third Edition, 384 pages
Published May 6th 2008 by Alpha (first published February 3rd 2001)
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Aug 22, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
Joy E. Rancatore
Jan 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was ok
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 There's nothing glaringly out of date, but I found certain sections such as self-publishing and e-books lacking.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 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.
Miko Lee
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An adequate guide book about the basics of publishing children's book. Very basic.
Kay Mcgriff
Sep 01, 2014 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 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
Jun 21, 2013 rated it liked it
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 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 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)
Dec 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
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:
Elizabeth C. Haynes
The first third of the book was somewhat useful. The rest is outdated.
أميرة هاني
Aug 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
Wendy Bescher Jeffreys Perez
Are you surprised?
Robin Martin
Oct 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
THis is a must-read for anyone considering entering this field.
Kim Briggs
Jun 29, 2012 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 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!
Aug 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: writers and others
It was such a helpful resource book, I purchased a copy of
Kirsti Call
I've started writing down some of the stories that I tell my kids. This book is very informative and readable.
Cortney Davis
Feb 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a helpful guide!!! I am going to buy this.
Class reading
Jul 24, 2009 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.
L.J. Boldyrev
A must-have for any aspiring author serious about writing for children.
rated it liked it
Apr 23, 2013
Ken Carr
rated it really liked it
Dec 25, 2014
Angela Reyero
rated it it was amazing
Nov 01, 2011
Jenna Mayle
rated it liked it
Jun 11, 2016
Dennis Garber
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Oct 20, 2015
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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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