As the world's largest publisher of books for young readers, Scholastic is at the top of the list for aspiring children's authors whose goal is to get published. The company publishes books from established and new writers, so you don't need a track record to win a book deal. The bad news? Submitting a manuscript will require an agent, unless you're a practicing teacher.
Submit Only if You're a Teacher
Scholastic, like most large publishers, accepts submissions through agents, not aspiring authors. The only exception is if you are a teacher wishing to submit a manuscript in Scholastic's "Professional Books" category. This program publishes 80 to 100 titles a year on specific teaching approaches, often based on research conducted in the author's own classroom. Manuscripts in four subject areas are accepted: Teaching Strategies, Instructor Books, Grades 4-8 Books and the Scholastic Reference Library. The website explains what Scholastic is looking for in each category.
How to Submit a Manuscript
Submit a typed, completed manuscript by mail to the Submissions Editor, Scholastic Teaching Resources, 557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012. Remember to keep a copy of your manuscript as Scholastic will not return your submission. Since the company accepts submissions from teachers and educators only, include a resume, bio or other evidence of your relevant teaching experience.
How to Submit a Teaching Idea
Scholastic also accepts teaching ideas, or pitches, to its Professional Books program. To submit a pitch, compile a typed description of your idea, a sample of the activities you'll include, the grade level the idea is aimed at, and a table of contents outlining the layout of the book. Scholastic would also like to review a sample chapter. Mail the documents in hard-copy form to the Submission Editor with a resume and samples of other published work, if any.
Await a Response
The editor will review your manuscript or pitch based on originality of ideas, how useful your book is to working educators, how well it fits with the Scholastic Professional Books program, and whether the company thinks the book will sell. Don't worry if you don't receive a reply for some time. Scholastic receives an enormous number of manuscripts and can take approximately 24 to 30 weeks to respond.
Scholastic does not accept unsolicited submissions from authors. Rather, you'll have to find an agent to represent you, which can be difficult if you have not been published before. As a starting point, consult the current version of the "Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market." This book contains more than 500 listings for literary agents, publishers and children's book markets and is regarded as the bible for children's writers whose goal is to get published. The book retails for around $20 or you should find it in your local library. Once you have found the right person to represent you, your agent will submit the book to Scholastic for you and negotiate the contract if it sells.