Pajama Press considers digital queries accompanied by picture books texts or the first three chapters of novel length projects. We also accept digital portfolio submissions from illustrators who are interested in being considered for future projects.

In the interest of saving trees, Pajama Press does not accept physical manuscripts. Any manuscripts mailed to our office will be recycled unopened.

We publish picture books—both for the very young and for school-aged readers, as well as early chapter books, novels for middle grade readers, and contemporary or historical fiction for pre-high school aged YA readers aged 12–14. Our nonfiction titles typically contain a strong narrative element. Pajama Press is also looking for manuscripts from authors of diverse backgrounds. Stories about immigrants are of special interest. Pajama Press no longer considers unsolicited submissions from authors outside of Canada.

Submissions

Pajama Press considers digital queries accompanied by picture books texts or the first three chapters of novel-length projects. Your query should include an overview of your submission and some information about your writing background. Pajama Press prefers not to look at simultaneous submissions. Please notify us if you are submitting your project to another publisher.

In the interest of saving trees, Pajama Press does not accept physical manuscripts. Any manuscripts mailed to our office will be recycled unopened.

PAJAMA PRESS is a small literary press with high editorial and production standards. We endeavour to publish titles of exceptional quality that will receive wide critical acclaim and awards; our books are designed to successfully appeal to children, young adults, librarians, teachers, and parents. We produce many formats popular in children’s publishing across a fairly broad range of genres: picture books, our new sturdy books for the very young, early chapter books for new readers, middle grade novels, young adult novels for pre-high school audiences, and literary non-fiction. 

WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR 

Picture Books: 1,000 words or less. Character-driven stories or stories that emphasize word play, vocabulary building, and rhythm. 

Primary Stories: 75 words or less. High concept, simple ideas, word play. Keep in mind that our sturdy book format is for toddlers, 2-4. 

Early chapter books: 6,500 words or less. Stories divided into approximately 10 chapters. School-aged protagonists, single point of view. Vocabulary building, lots of dialogue. Stories about character development, overcoming challenges.

Middle-grade novels: 24,000-60,000 words. More complex, character-driven stories that feature a single or dual point of view. Realistic contemporary stories, low fantasy (reality-based fantasy rather than high fantasy), historical stories that appeal to a universal audience. 

Young Adult novels: 24,000-60,000 words. Contemporary or historical coming-of-age stories in an increasingly difficult social world. Emphasis on character-driven storylines. 

We invite stories of inclusivity and diversity by authors whose stories reflect their cultural heritage. We are looking for authentic voices.

Submission FAQs

What kind of books does Pajama Press publish?

We publish picture books both for the very young and for school-aged readers, as well as early chapter books, novels for middle-grade readers, and contemporary or historical fiction for pre-high school aged YA readers aged 12–14. Our nonfiction titles typically contain a strong narrative element. Pajama Press is also looking for manuscripts from authors of diverse backgrounds. Stories about immigrants are of special interest. Pajama Press no longer considers submissions from authors outside of Canada.

What should my query look like?

A query does not need to be complicated. Please write us an email that gives the following information:

  • A brief summary of your book. Remember that this is a summary, not marketing material—please don’t leave us in suspense about how the story’s conflict is resolved. For a picture book, a few sentences are probably enough. A novel might take a paragraph or two.
  • An excerpt. A good rule of thumb is to send the first three chapters of your novel length projects. Picture book projects do not need to be excerpted.
  • Information about your writing background. If samples of your published writing are available online, you may include a link.

Your query is like a resumé—it gives us our first impression of your professionalism and your writing ability. Do take care to represent yourself well.

I see that you don’t accept simultaneous submissions of manuscripts. Can I submit my query to more than one publisher at the same time?

Yes. If we do decide to request your manuscript, we will ask you whether another publisher is considering it. If, at that time, you can offer us the exclusive privilege of looking at your manuscript, we will gladly read it.

My self-published eBook is doing great on Amazon! Will you publish a print version?

Unfortunately, we are unable to consider books that have already been published digitally.

What is the difference between juvenile and middle grade literature?

There is no difference. Both are names for literature written for kids aged 9 to 12. These books can have fairly advanced vocabulary, and their themes are often very challenging, but lots of dialogue and straightforward development keeps them accessible to this age group.

What is the difference between YA novels for ages 12–14 and novels for high-school aged readers?

YA books for ages 12–14 often have themes that are just as complex as those in books for older readers, but they are not graphic, especially in terms of violence, language, or sexual content. Their protagonists are often between 13 and 16 years of age.

I am also an illustrator. Can I send you my illustrated manuscript?

When we produce a picture book, the illustrations are not begun until the edits to the text are complete. That way, illustrations will not need to be redone if something in the text is changed. At that time, our experienced art director will work with the illustrator to design the page layouts.

If you would like to illustrate your own book, you can submit some concept art with your manuscript. If you would like to be considered for future Pajama Press picture books, please describe your experience and training and send us some sample art and/or a link to your website or online portfolio. We also welcome portfolios from Indigenous illustrators.

PAJAMA PRESS is a small literary press with high editorial and production standards. We endeavour to publish titles of exceptional quality that will receive wide critical acclaim and awards. Our books are designed to successfully appeal to children, young adults, librarians, teachers, and parents. Our illustrated formats include picture books, sturdy picture books for the very young, full-colour early chapter books for new readers, and middle-grade novels with black-and-white illustrated chapter heads.

We emphasize character-driven stories, so portfolio submissions should include samples of human and/or animal characters rendered with consistency in a variety of aspects. Our style is literary, with a resistance to cartoon-style art. 

Your submission should include samples of your art, a link to your full online portfolio, and your credentials, including (if relevant) a bibliography of previously published works and awards.

Pajama Press is actively seeking submissions from illustrators of diverse backgrounds, including Indigenous illustrators.

Pajama Press