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Submission Guidelines for Writers

Submit Your Manuscript

LEE & LOW BOOKS is an independent children’s and young adult book publisher that focuses on multicultural themes. Our goal is to meet the need for books that address children and teens of color by providing culturally authentic titles that all readers can enjoy. Picture books, early readers, and chapter books are published under our Lee & Low Books, Shen’s Books, and Children’s Book Press imprints. Middle-grade and young adult novels are published under our Tu Books imprint. To see the kind of books we publish, please explore our website, check out the Open Book Blog, or request or download a catalog here.

Lee & Low Books accepts submissions from both agented and unagented writers and artists. We consider unsolicited manuscripts and art samples from writers and artists at all levels of experience and of all cultural backgrounds, and we make a special effort to work with writers and artists of color and to encourage new voices. If you have never been published before, please consider entering your work in our annual New Voices and New Visions award contests, which open every summer. For more details, click here. We also encourage you to check out the Writers and Illustrators page on our website for writing advice and information about the Lee & Low staff.

If you choose to submit a manuscript to any of our imprints, please note that only submissions sent through the methods below will be considered, and we will respond to a submission only if we are interested in the manuscript. As a result, please do not include a self-addressed stamped envelope or a delivery confirmation postcard, or call or email about the status of your submission. If you do not hear from us within six months, you may assume that your work does not fit our needs. If you require confirmation of delivery, please send the submission with a US Postal Service Return Receipt.

Please select one of the options below to be taken to the appropriate submissions guidelines. 

PICTURE BOOKS, EARLY READERS, AND CHAPTER BOOKS

MIDDLE-GRADE, YOUNG ADULT, AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

ART SAMPLES AND PORTFOLIO REVIEWS

 

PICTURE BOOKS, EARLY READERS, AND CHAPTER BOOKS

Our focus is on realistic fiction, historical fiction, and nonfiction that centers around children/people of color or Native children/people, for readers ages 5 to 12. We especially appreciate stories that reflect children’s lived experiences or connect culture and identity groups with science, nature, math, social studies, or history topics.

Special Call for Submissions:  We are particularly interested in stories that incorporate non-traditional family structures and gender or sexual identities (e.g. same-sex parents, LGBTQ experiences), or stories that feature a person with a disability. The family structure, identity, or disability should be an integral part of the story, not the main point of or the sole reason for the story.

In all submissions, we are looking for creative, well-written, authentic stories with a distinct voice and/or an imaginative approach to storytelling that will appeal to young readers. Stories should have a strong storyline and main characters who are human. We do not publish stories starring anthropomorphic animals.

How to Submit a Manuscript

  • All submissions should be sent to the Lee & Low Books imprint.
  • Picture book manuscripts should be no longer than 1500 words for fiction and 4000 words for nonfiction. Early readers may be between 100 and 2500 words, depending on reading level. Chapter books are between 4,000 and 13,000 words, again depending on reading level.
  • Please send the complete manuscript. Do not include illustrations unless you are a professional illustrator. Do not send original or irreplaceable materials.
  • Manuscripts should be typed doubled-spaced and accompanied by a cover letter that includes a brief biography of the author, including your publishing history and the inspiration that led to the story. The letter should also state if the manuscript is a simultaneous or an exclusive submission.

Please send all submissions via snail mail to:
Submissions Editor
LEE & LOW BOOKS
95 Madison Avenue, suite 1205 
New York, NY 10016


MIDDLE-GRADE, YOUNG ADULT, AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Our focus is on fiction and narrative nonfiction centering people of color or Native people. We are interested in both middle grade stories for ages 8 to 12 and young adult stories for ages 12 to 18. Occasionally a manuscript might fall between these two categories; if your manuscript does, let us know.

We look for fantasy set in worlds inspired by non-Western folklore or culture, contemporary mystery and fantasy set all over the world, and science fiction that centers the possibilities for people of color or Native people in the future.

We also selectively publish realism and narrative nonfiction that explores the contemporary and historical experiences of people of color or Native people. We welcome intersectional narratives that feature LGBTQIA and disabled people as heroes in their own stories.

Stacy Whitman and Cheryl Klein both acquire titles for Tu Books, and we ask that you identify which of them you wish to consider your submission. As loose rules of thumb, Cheryl has a more literary bent and does not acquire graphic novels, while Stacy has a more commercial focus and does not acquire narrative nonfiction. You can learn more about each of them through their websites, linked above.

How to Submit a Novel Manuscript

  • Please include a synopsis and first three chapters of the novel. Do not send the complete manuscript.
  • Manuscripts should be typed doubled-spaced.
  • Manuscripts should be accompanied by a cover letter that includes a brief biography of the author, including publishing history. The letter should be addressed to either Stacy Whitman or Cheryl Klein, and should also state if the manuscript is a simultaneous or an exclusive submission.
  • We're looking for middle grade (ages 8-12) and young adult (ages 12 and up) books. We are not looking for chapter books (ages 6 to 9) at this time.
  • Be sure to include full contact information on the cover letter and first page of the manuscript. Page numbers and your last name/title of the book should appear on subsequent pages.

How to Submit a Graphic Novel Manuscript

  • Please include a synopsis and first three chapters (or equivalent—up to 20 pages of script) of the graphic novel script. Do not send the complete manuscript.
  • If you are also the illustrator, please include art samples with a sample storyboard in PDF or JPG format.
  • Do not include illustrations unless you are a professional illustrator.
  • Manuscripts should be accompanied by a cover letter that includes a brief biography of the author, including publishing history. The letter should also state if the manuscript is a simultaneous or an exclusive submission.
  • Be sure to include full contact information on the first page of the manuscript. Page numbers and your last name/title of the book should appear on subsequent pages.

Tu Books accepts submissions electronically. Please go to our Submittable page to submit your manuscript electronically.

If you would like to send your submission via snail mail, send it to:
Submissions Editor, Tu Books
LEE & LOW BOOKS
95 Madison Avenue, suite 1205 
New York, NY 10016

 

ART SAMPLES AND PORTFOLIO REVIEWS

We are happy to consider art samples for possible future picture books and covers. You may send the samples through the mail to either the Lee & Low or Tu Books imprint. If you will be in the New York City area and would like to meet with one of our editors for a portfolio review, please send a letter with an art sample to the address above, including the dates of your visit, your email address, and the address of your website, and an editor will be in touch to arrange a meeting, if possible.

Thank you for considering Lee & Low Books and Tu Books as artistic homes for your work.

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