Submission Guidelines

Starfish Bay Publishing is comprised of two imprints: Starfish Bay Children’s Books and Tiny Seed Publishing. We are currently accepting unsolicited submissions from authors of children’s picture books for children aged between 3 to 9. Please ensure you have read these guidelines before emailing your submission.

Traditional publishing is the main focus of Starfish Bay, and both our imprints operate using the traditional publishing model while following traditional publishing processes. We are proud to have followed this programme since establishing ourselves in 2014. 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. Unfortunately, we would like to inform you that all spaces for our Traditional Publishing Programme have been allocated since January 2024.

Due to our publishing business being severely affected by Covid-19, we recently announced two new publishing programmes: Author Supported Traditional Publishing Programme and Secondary Publishing Programme.

After the 1st of July 2025, we will resume and focus only on our Traditional Publishing Programme. We greatly appreciate all of the authors who have participated in, or will take part in, our two additional publishing programmes (Author Supported Traditional Publishing Programme and Secondary Publishing Programme), and therefore, these authors will become our solicited authors. After the 1st of July 2025 we will only review, select and publish picture books submitted by our solicited authors under our Traditional Publishing Programme. Meanwhile, we regret to say that we will no longer accept unsolicited submissions from July 2025.

If you are interested in having your picture book(s) 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 started our author Supported Traditional Publishing Programme in May 2022. It takes two years to complete the entire publishing process, therefore, only three titles have had their illustrations completed and will be published later this year:
Be Brave, Lucy by Kelly-Anne Norman / publication date: 5th August 2024
Squirrel Takes the Cake by Dr Danielle Camer / publication date: 5th August 2024
Huxley’s Home by Kylie Tull / publication date: 5th September 2024

– 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 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.

Our Secondary Publishing Programme was launched in late 2021. The following picture books have been signed under this programme and will be published soon:
I Remember by Courtney Welker / publication date: 5th March 2024
Luna the Loon and her Marvelous Tune by Chelsea Johnson Fischer / publication date: 5th June 2024
Beep the Sheep by Jessie May / publication date: 5th June 2024
When I Am at Kindergarten by Katie Whitfield / publication date: 5th July 2024
Dragons Are Real by Dianne Ellis / publication date: 5th July 2024
Wanda Needs a Haircut by Brigitte Stanton / publication date: 5th July 2024
Brave Maeve by Lydia Donev / publication date: 5th July 2024
A Big Fish is Waiting for Me! by Christine Kodomichalos / publication date: 5th July 2024
The Baron of The Bay by Corrine Ranieri / publication date: 5th September 2024
Feather the Fairy by Alison Ireson / publication date: 5th September 2024
Nessie’s Knot by Katie Aaron / publication date: 5th September 2024

The covers and a selection of interior spreads for each of these titles can be found at the following link:
https://tinyseedpublishing.com/

We are happy to say that we have every confidence in our publishing business fully recovering from the effects of the pandemic by the 30th of June 2025. Therefore, from the 1st of July 2025 we will no longer require additional funding to help support us and will focus only on our Traditional Publishing Programme, just as we did before the pandemic. This will also mean that our two additional publishing programmes will permanently close from the 1st of July 2025.

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 a traditional publisher. 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, which 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:
starfishbaypublishing@outlook.com

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 15Mb. Please send any files over this size via WeTransfer. Here is our WeTransfer link:
https://starfishbay.wetransfer.com.

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 the 1st of July 2025 we will no longer be accepting submissions from unsolicited authors.

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 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 approximately three months to complete.

Step 3: Illustrations

Please note that we choose illustrators for our books from all over the world. 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 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.

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.

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:
https://starfishbaypublishing.com.au/distribution/.

Step 9: Selling subsidiary rights

In addition to selling and distributing books, we sell translation rights to publishers in non-English speaking countries through our foreign rights agents to maximise our audience. More details can be found at www.starfishbaypublishing.com.au/rights-information.

Download our Submission Guidelines
as a PDF document

Download PDF
Back to top