Magination Press publishes psychology-based books covering a broad range of topics of concern to children and teens. Most of our books are written by PhD psychologists, school counselors, or mental health professionals. Many books are also written by MD physicians. Although doctorate-level credentials are not a requirement, the author should have expertise in the topic area.
We welcome all picture book submissions and we read every manuscript that lands on our desk. We received hundreds and hundreds of manuscripts each year, yet we publish only a small fraction of those books. As an imprint of the American Psychological Association, MP publishes children’s books with strong psychological underpinnings and practical self-help within the context of an engaging story. Through our books, we aim to teach children or teens strategies (coping techniques, articulation, and working through feelings) to deal with psychological issues and problems.
Here are tips to consider as you are preparing your proposal and manuscript submissions.
- Do your research. Before submitting a proposal, please review our catalog and research the market to know what has already been written. If your book covers a topic that we have or if the market is saturated with books on the same topic, consider something else. The good news is that our books are evergreen and remain in print for a very long time! Bad news, we don’t repeat topics year after year, and are unlikely to acquire new titles on already-covered topics.
- Keep it universal. We are not interested in autobiography, reflections on childhood, or personal stories about family members, pets, or friends. Keep the appeal wide and general, and keep the focus on interesting characters and storytelling not retelling. Also be careful with first-person narrative and be true to the characters talking. Good stories and excellent topics can sour with unrealistic, adult-sounding, or dated dialog.
- Engage the reader. We want picture books that kids what to read and hear, picture books that kids will immediately connect and identify with, and picture books that will help kids help themselves. We like sensitive tales that consider how the reader will experience the story. Consider how you can tell your story with the kid in the driver seat (or at least in the front passenger seat)!
- Anticipate the market. Market size matters. What are the other books available on this topic, and how is yours different and better? If you are writing about situation or concern that doesn’t apply to a large number of children, we may not be interested.
- Consider non-fiction. Often the topic is best told not as a fictional story but in more didactic way or as a concept book. Didactic doesn’t have to mean heavy, instructional, or moralistic. Apply scientific psychological knowledge in clever, fun, interesting ways. Let kids discover (through stealth steering) and problem-solve.
- Want to collaborate. We pride ourselves on close collaborative respectful relationships with our authors and illustrators. We lean on our authors for their expertise, and they lean on us for our editorial skills and knowledge of audience needs. Rarely to we publish work as is, so be willing to be edited and revised!
A few more things:
We select illustrators and direct the art for our books. It is not necessary to submit dummy books or sample illustrations. If you are the illustrator as well as the author, please include art samples. Otherwise, art samples are not needed.
We do not accept manuscripts by email or on disk. Instead, please prepare the complete proposal as outlined below and send it to the following address:
American Psychological Association
Magination Press, Acquisitions
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
Because of the high volume of submissions we receive, we cannot respond to authors of submitted proposals or acknowledge receipt nor will we provide status updates. Should a book proposal fit with our list and acquisition goals, we will contact you. Those book proposals are then vetted by our editorial advisory board, a group of child psychologists who act as peer reviewers and look at proposed books with these questions in mind:
- Does the manuscript reflect relevant and accurate psychology and mental health?
- Is it evidence-based? Is it in line with best therapeutic approaches?
- What is the age level of the proposed book? Is there a more appropriate age range?
- Is the topic covered adequately – breadth and scope? Anything missing? Material to omit?
Here is what to include in your proposal:
Brief Synopsis. Provide a brief summary of the story or non-fiction work. Be sure to specify the psychological issue or situation you are addressing.
Complete Manuscript. Please send a complete story or non-fiction manuscript, table of contents, and all end matter (reference list, additional resources, and afterword). We do not accept proposals on the basis of a query letter or partial manuscript.
Audience. Specify the intended age of the reader, and the situations and uses you envision for the book. Magination Press publishes
- Picture books for young children (ages 2 to 4, 4 to 8)
- Picture books for young children (ages 2-4, 4-8)
- Middle school fiction for children (ages 9 to 13)
- Nonfiction books and workbooks for older children (ages 9 to 13 and teens)
Author’s Credentials. Include a resume or curriculum vitae.
Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope. If we decline your proposal and if you wish to receive your materials back, you MUST include a self-addressed stamped envelope with sufficient postage for its return. Otherwise, we will recycle it.