Submission Guidelines

Free Spirit Publishing

Our mission is to provide children and teens with the tools they need to overcome challenges and make a difference in the world. We publish high-quality nonfiction books and learning materials for children and teens, parents, educators, counselors, and others who live and work with young people.  We also are looking for picture books that support our mission.  

Determining Whether Your Work Is a Fit for Free Spirit Publishing

If you are interested in being a Free Spirit author, please familiarize yourself with our books at www.freespirit.com. We also recommend that you check out our books at your local library or bookstore to get a feel for our tone and style.

We do not accept the following types of submissions:

  • General fiction or storybooks outside of our mission
  • Books with animal or mythical characters main characters
  • Poetry
  • Material with religious or New Age content
  • Single biographies, autobiographies, or memoirs
  • Self-help for adults

If your project is in any of the above formats, it is not right for us—even if content themes overlap with those we publish on.

We are looking for strong proposals in the following categories:

Teaching Strategies & Professional Development: Practical, jargon-free materials for educators, administrators, counselors, and youth workers that focus on positive youth development, creative teaching strategies, leadership, early childhood development, and a wide range of social and emotional needs.

Early Childhood: Board books for infant to age 4 and picture books for ages 4 to 8 that focus on social skills and getting along, early learning, self-esteem, and other topics related to positive early childhood development. We will also consider fiction that relates directly to these areas of focus.

Gifted & Special Education: Books on academic, social, and emotional development for young people with diverse learning needs of all ages, including gifted students and students with learning differences, ADHD, behavioral difficulties, or autism spectrum disorders. We also seek resources for educators, counselors, and other adults that support children’s diverse learning and social-emotional needs.

Bullying Prevention & Conflict Resolution: Picture books, Self Help for Kids®, Self Help for Teens®, and resources for teachers, counselors, and other educators to help young people understand, prevent, and respond to bullying incidents. We will also consider fiction for kids and teens that relates to these topics.

Character Education, Leadership & Service Learning: Picture books, Self Help for Kids®, Self Help for Teens®, and resources for teachers, counselors, and other educators to help young people build character, discover their leadership potential, and engage in their communities. We will also consider fiction for kids and teens that relates to these topics.

Educational Games, Posters, & Jars: Games and In a Jar® products for kids and teens that promote character development, bullying prevention, positive behavior, social-emotional learning, and other related topics. We are not currently accepting proposals for posters.

Counseling & Social-Emotional Learning: Picture books, Self Help for Kids®, Self Help for Teens®, and educator resources to help children and teens deal with grief and loss, health and wellness, depression and other mental illnesses, stress, social skills and friendship, anger management, LGBTQ issues, manners, family, self-confidence, and more. We will also consider fiction for kids and teens that relates to these topics.

Note: Due to the large volume of submissions we receive, we are unable to respond to individual queries that are not accompanied by a complete proposal. Please review the previous categories carefully. If you think your work may be a fit for Free Spirit, you may submit a full proposal according to our guidelines.

  

Current Areas of Special Interest

Our editors are particularly interested in seeing the following areas of focus in our submissions pile:

•   Peer Empathy

•   Grief, loss, trauma

•   Social justice and student activism

•   Special needs inclusion

•   Equity, culturally-sustaining teaching practices, and/or inclusive classroom design

•   K-3 nonfiction with humor on SEL topics

•   Picture books featuring or about children with special needs

•   Authors from historically under-represented perspectives



Submitting a Proposal

Only proposals with the following elements will be considered for publication:

  • A cover letter briefly outlining your project, the intended audience (including age ranges), and your relevant expertise
  • A current résumé
  • A market analysis with a comprehensive list of similar titles and a detailed explanation of how your project differs from available products
  • A detailed chapter-by-chapter outline
  • At least two sample chapters (if a full manuscript is available, you may send it)
    Note: For early childhood submissions, the entire text is required for evaluation. Bracketed art suggestions are appreciated, though illustration samples should not be sent unless professionally competent.
  • A description of your personal promotion plan for the proposed book (including both in-person and social media outreach)

As you prepare a proposal, it may help to keep a few of our main considerations in mind:

Need: Why is the book needed? How is it different from similar available titles?

Purpose: Who will use the book? How will they use it?

Quality: Is the project well written and researched? Is the style similar to that of our other award-winning, jargon-free, solution-focused titles?

Relevance: Is the subject matter appropriate for our list? Does it compete with or complement other available titles from Free Spirit?


While we do our best to offer timely feedback on your project, the high volume of proposals we receive dictates a reply time of up to 6 months.


Note: Due to the large volume of submissions we receive, we are unable to respond to individual queries that are not accompanied by a complete proposal. Please review the previous categories carefully. If you think your work may be a fit for Free Spirit, you may submit a full proposal according to our guidelines.

While we do our best to offer timely feedback on your project, the high volume of proposals we receive dictates a reply time of up to 6 months.

Free Spirit Publishing