Little Island is always on the lookout for quality fiction (and sometimes non-fiction) for children and teenagers, and you are welcome to send us your manuscript for consideration. You don’t need to have an agent – but submissions from agents are also welcome.
As an Irish publisher, we tend to give preference to books by Irish or Irish-based authors (though we also publish books in translation).
Please only send submissions to us using this email: email@example.com
In the subject line please put: Submission, followed by the title of your book.
Submissions sent to us anywhere else will not be read.
And please only send full submissions to that account – not queries or anything else.
What we are looking for
- Tomorrow’s classics
OK, easier said than done! But when we read a submission we ask ourselves: would a child reading this book today love it so much that in 30 years time they’ll want a child in their life to read it too?
So, we want to publish books that last. That means:
- Fabulous writing (Take a look at Savage Her Reply for YA, Wolfstongue for middle grade.)
- Terrific ideas (Take a look at The Wordsmith.)
- Great stories (Bank is a super example.)
- We are especially keen on finding authors and stories that reflect modern Ireland in all its variety. That means authors from backgrounds that place them outside the Irish literary mainstream – on account of their class, race, ethnicity, sexuality or anything else.
- And we also want diverse stories. We want Irish children from all variety of backgrounds to have the opportunity to see themselves represented in our books.
We mean this: Ireland needs new stories.
- Picturebook texts — but only very occasionally, and it’s usually better that they aren’t illustrated yet (max 700 words – and please NOT in rhyme).
- Storybooks for younger children (6+, max 25,000 words). Funny, adventurous, sad or thoughtful. (Take a look at How Billy Brown Saved the Queen, for example, or Bumpfizzle the Best on Planet Earth.)
- Novels for older children (9+, max 40,000 words). We are on the lookout for well-written novels for children that tell a good story. (Take a look at Murder Most Fowl or The Deepest Breath – wildly different from each other, but both very Little Island.)
- We especially want fiction for children with female characters that are funny rather than brave or righteous (though those are fine virtues too!)
- Novels for young teenagers (12+, max 50,000 words). (Take a look at A Dangerous Crossing or Hope against Hope).
- For young teenagers we are especially on the lookout for books with “boy appeal” as so few books cater to boys of that age. (Check out Dangerous Games.)
- Fiction for ‘young adults’ (15+ max 60,000 words). Funny, challenging, sad, romantic, fantastical, sassy, grittily realistic, tough, amusing, puzzling – we’re open-minded. (Take a look at our amazing YA titles The Gone Book and Tangleweed and Brine.)
- Funny books. We love gritty, challenging YA. But we don’t see enough YA that makes teens laugh.
What we are NOT looking for
- Books by children. (Sorry – we know that sounds mean; we have our reasons, but we can’t go into them here.)
- Books that have previously been self-published
- Sequels to self-published books
- Issue-driven books. (Stories that deal with issues are fine; that’s different.)
- Preachy stories with morals and messages. (Just not our style.)
- Books about fairies or angels. (Not our kind of thing.)
- Historical fiction – we prefer to commission historical fiction ourselves on specific topics and periods
- Picturebook texts in rhyme (We mean it; please don’t. Unless it scans perfectly.)
- Stories with accompanying illustrations – except in the case of picturebooks where text and illustrations are by the same artist.
- Individual short stories. (Your book should be a book, even if it is very short)
- A book your children/grandchildren love because you wrote it and it’s about them (Of course they love it. If it is good for other reasons, try it on us!)
- Books that treat children as if they are under-cooked adults. We publish books that respect young readers.
- Books with the word ‘snot’ in the title.
- Stories that start from the premise that the main character’s father has got a new job and the family has had to move. The world doesn’t need any more of those.
- Stories that begin with the protagonist waking up.
- Books that need to be part of a series of several titles. We sometimes publish sequels or trilogies. But we don’t take on major new series from the get-go. We just aren’t set up for that – you’d be better off with a larger, commercial house.
Some advice on submitting
We only publish about ten books a year. This means we have to absolutely love a book before we can even think about publishing it. If we don’t love it, we won’t publish it – but that doesn’t mean it’s not good. We might have liked it. A bit. Or a lot. But we just didn’t absolutely love it.
We get some manuscripts that are fabulous and some that are not working at all. We also get lots that are really rather good. The ‘really rather good’ ones are problematic. They may turn out to be fabulous in the end, but if there’s an already-fabulous book that we can have instead … well, obviously, that’s the one that is much more likely to get published. It follows that you will have the best chance if you send us your book when it is as sparklingly wonderful as you can possibly make it.
So get cracking on your fabulous book and knock our socks off!
How to submit and what to expect
- We like to get submissions electronically, to this email address firstname.lastname@example.org rather than as hard copy. We will print your book out ourselves if we need to.
- To repeat: please don’t post us printed out manuscripts or dummy books.
- You can submit just a few chapters if you prefer, along with a synopsis, but with electronic submission, it’s probably just as easy to send the whole thing.
- It can take us a while to get to your manuscript. Give us about three months. Then give us a nudge if you haven’t heard.
What our feedback means
- Sadly, we can’t give detailed feedback to authors whose work we are not going to publish. If we did, we wouldn’t have time for the books we do want to publish, and then there would just be no Little Island, and then you couldn’t send us your next amazing book!
- We may say that a book ‘does not fit our list’. For example, we don’t publish genre horror, so if you send us a book set in a dungeon inhabited by a family of vampires and we tell you that it ‘does not fit our list’, that’s just the honest truth. It may be wonderful genre horror, but it is not our kind of thing. Same goes for rhyming stories and stories with morals or fairies – just not the kind of thing we publish.
- Another reason that a book ‘does not fit our list’ could be that we have too many books of that type already on the list (and our list is small – there isn’t much room for duplication).
- If we say that your book does not have Little Island appeal or is not for us, that is also just the simple truth. It means we did not love it enough to want to publish it – and considering how many submissions we get and how few books we publish, that is an entirely normal response. But keep in mind that it is a matter of taste, and don’t be discouraged. There are all kinds of publishers with all kinds of taste.
- If we feel a book has potential, even though it is not right for us, we’ll try to give you a little advice if we can, but don’t expect a long and detailed critique. Sorry: so many books, so little time!
- If we really love your book, you’ll know all about it.