Submission Guidelines

Starfish Bay Publishing is comprised of two imprints: Starfish Bay Children’s Books and Tiny Seed Publishing. Traditional publishing is the main focus of Starfish Bay, and both our imprints operate using the traditional publishing model while following traditional publishing processes. All books published by Starfish Bay Children’s Books and Tiny Seed Publishing before December 2023 have followed the traditional publishing model. Under this programme, all costs related to publishing a picture book are covered by Starfish Bay. These costs include editing, illustration, design, printing, sales, marketing and distribution. We also pay authors royalties which are generated from the sale of their books.

Due to our publishing business being severely affected by Covid-19, we recently announced two new publishing programmes that run alongside our traditional publishing programme. These programmes are Author Supported Traditional Publishing Programme and Secondary Publishing Programme.

If you are interested in having your picture book published by Starfish Bay, please select a publishing programme from the list below and share your work with us following these guidelines.

Author Supported Traditional Publishing Programme

This new publishing programme under Starfish Bay Children’s Books, requires a temporary loan of $6000 from an author. This loan must be repaid to the author within two and a half years of receiving the payment without any conditions. With the exception of this temporary loan, the remainder of the publishing programme follows a standard Starfish Bay traditional publishing offer and all costs related to publishing a book will be covered by Starfish Bay. These costs include editing, illustration, design, printing, sales, marketing and distribution. When joining this programme, we will provide authors with 60 complimentary hardback copies of their work in recognition of their support.

We are delighted to say that we have every confidence in our Starfish Bay Children’s Books imprint fully recovering from the effects of the pandemic much earlier than expected. Our Author Supported Traditional Publishing Programme will permanently close at the end of 2024 and from January 2025 this imprint will only focus on our Traditional Publishing Programme.

Secondary Publishing Programme

This programme runs under Tiny Seed Publishing and requires authors to contribute by purchasing 200 hardback copies of their picture book. We offer a 20% discount on this purchase. Our typical retail price for a hardback picture book is 24.99 Australian dollars. This new publishing programme remains very similar to our Traditional Publishing Programme, with the only difference being the purchase of 200 copies. All costs involved with publishing a picture book under this programme are covered by Starfish Bay.

Traditional Publishing Programme

Our imprint Starfish Bay Children’s Books will resume focus on our Traditional Publishing Programme from January 1st, 2025, just as we did before the pandemic. We greatly appreciate all of the authors who have participated in our two additional publishing programmes (Author Supported Traditional Publishing Programme and Secondary Publishing Programme), as well as those whose work will be included in these programmes. These authors will be considered solicited authors. Consequently, we would like to announce that from January 2025, Starfish Bay will no longer accept submissions from unsolicited authors for our Traditional Publishing Programme.

What We Are Looking For

Starfish Bay are proud of our children’s picture books which feature unique, original ideas and lots of personality. We are looking for picture books that will appeal to children through creativity, excitement and strong storytelling. As an Australian Publisher, we are particularly interested in promoting and supporting homegrown talent from Australia and New Zealand, however, we also welcome submissions from authors around the world. As a traditional book publisher, we will need to guarantee sales of our books under these three programmes. Therefore, we have rather high standards when selecting picture book stories.

As a traditional children’s book publisher, we understand how important it is to choose a suitable illustrator for each picture book. Therefore, we would not encourage authors to contract an illustrator when submitting picture book stories to us. However, if an author has already contracted an illustrator, please indicate this when submitting your manuscript(s) to us. In that case, we will need to make a publishing decision based on both the story and the illustrations. Please be aware that this may make it more difficult to be selected for one of our publishing programmes.

Submission Policy

We currently accept submissions by email only. We will not accept any hard copies of submissions and will not accept any responsibility for the loss or damage of your work. Starfish Bay accepts submissions to the following email address:

Please use one of the following email subject suggestions depending on your choice of model when submitting your work:

If you would like to have your submission(s) reviewed under our Author Supported Traditional Publishing Programme, please use the following email subject:
“Author Supported Traditional Publishing: [Manuscript Title]”

If you would like to submit under our Secondary Publishing Programme, please use the following email subject:
“Secondary Publishing: [Manuscript Title]”

Please ensure that any emailed submissions are less than 18Mb. Please send any files over this size via WeTransfer. Here is our WeTransfer link:

Please note that if you have not heard from us after two months of sending your submission, we will be unable to proceed with your project. Due to the high level of submissions we receive, we are unable to always track the receipt of submissions and, therefore, will be unable to provide feedback on unsuccessful submissions.

About Our Traditional Publishing Process

Most traditional book publishers do not accept unsolicited submissions, however, our ambition when establishing ourselves in 2014 was to publish undiscovered talent among such writers. While we have had the great fortunate to work with exciting authors from submissions received in this way, we would like to inform you that from January 2025 we will no longer be accepting submissions from unsolicited authors for our Traditional Publishing Programme.

Although we are running two additional publishing programmes alongside our Traditional Publishing Programme, the same publishing team look after all stories accepted by our three publishing programmes. The two additional programmes also follow the same processes as our Traditional Publishing Programme.

We understand that the traditional book publishing process can be rather complex – particularly for new writers who have not experienced being published by a traditional publisher. Therefore, we would like to provide some general information about our traditional publishing process.

At Starfish Bay, we oversee a range of processes such as editing and design, proofreading, printing, sales, marketing and distribution (ensuring that our books are available at bookshops, libraries, etc.). We always use the same publishing processes for picture books published under our three publishing programmes. In general, it will take a traditional book publisher 24 months to complete the publishing process. Here is the schedule we work to when publishing a children’s picture book:

Step 1: Editing

After signing a publishing agreement with Starfish Bay, our editors will start to review the picture book story and provide authors with feedback on ways to make further improvements. It is usual to have two editorial rounds for each picture book story as this ensures that the books we publish reach their full potential. For each editorial round, our editorial team can deliver a line-edited manuscript by marking up the manuscript and including notes and comments on ways to tighten or improve the flow of text and correct any mistakes. The author can then work on the story based on these comments and supply us with a revision. If a picture book requires any additional editing, a third editorial round will be undertaken. All editorial rounds are free of charge. In general, this process should be completed within two months. Once a story is to a satisfactory standard and the editorial process is complete, no further changes can be made. Only errors related to grammar can be highlighted and corrected after this process.

Step 2: Contracting an illustrator

Once the editorial process is complete, we will start to source a suitable illustrator. We choose illustrators for our books from all over the world and believe that one of the most important aspects of publishing a children’s picture book is finding an illustrator whose style compliments the content of the story. We carefully match illustration styles from different illustrators to each picture book story. We do not want to rush this process, which may take up to five months to complete.

Step 3: Illustrations

We wish for authors to be aware that a professional illustrator will be the co-creator of the picture book and should be allowed to interpret the text themselves. After an illustration agreement has been signed, our Art Director and our art team will work closely with the illustrator to ensure this entire process runs smoothly. Authors are not required to contribute to the illustration process. We will be unable to provide authors with specific updates regarding the illustration process.

Step 4: Design

After we receive the final illustrations, our designer will begin to prepare the layout and create a full PDF of the picture book. It takes roughly one month to complete this process.

Step 5: Proofread

After the layout for a picture book is finalised, we will need to proofread the book. We will provide our authors with a full PDF of the cover and interior spreads of their book. Authors are not required to participate in the proofreading process as our editors will look after this. Please note that only grammar and spelling errors can be changed during this process and there will be no further changes to the illustrations.

Step 6: Submission of new title information to our sales agencies and distributors

Next, we will set a publication date and submit new title information to our sales agencies and distributors. Each agency and distributor have their own new title submission policies.

Step 7: Printing and binding

We usually begin printing a picture book five months before its publication date. Printed copies of the book will then be shipped to our four distributor warehouses which are located at the following destinations:
• 30 Amberwood Parkway, Ashland, OH 44805, USA.
• 50 Freshwater Road, Chadwell Heath, London RM8 1RX, UK.
• 39 Woodside Avenue, Northcote, Auckland 0627, New Zealand.
• 9 Pioneer Ave, Tuggerah, NSW 2259, Australia.

Step 8: Book sales and marketing

We would like to mention that there will be no need for our authors to promote their books themselves. We have four sales agencies that are based in the US, the UK, New Zealand and Australia. Each have their own sales and marketing plans for our books. Our sales agents and distributors will sell our books to bookshops (online or in-store), wholesalers and library vendors. If you view the Sales and Distribution category on our website, you will gain more information on where our books will be sold:

Step 9: Selling subsidiary rights

In addition to selling and distributing books, Starfish Bay sells translation rights to publishers in non-English speaking countries through foreign rights agents and international book fairs. Due to this, we are able to maximise the potential audience of our titles. Starfish Bay held a stand at both the Bologna Children’s Book Fair and Frankfurt Book Fair before the pandemic, however, we were unable to attend in the years following this. Therefore, we are very pleased to say that we will once again have a presence at future book fairs, starting with Frankfurt in October 2024, followed by the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in early 2025. We will have our own exhibitor stand at each fair every year. Translation rights are bought and sold at exhibitor stands, which will enable our stories to travel the world. We can confirm that all books signed under our Author Supported Traditional Publishing Programme and Secondary Publishing Programme will have a presence at each book fair.

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