How to Become a Free Spirit Author
If you'd like information on how to become a Free Spirit author, download our Free Spirit Author Submission Guidelines.
Our mission is to provide children and teens with the tools they need to succeed in life and to make a difference in the world. We publish high-quality nonfiction books and learning materials for children and teens, parents, educators, counselors, and others who live and work with young people.
Founded in 1983 by author and educator Judy Galbraith, Free Spirit Publishing produces award-winning books that are recognized and respected for their creative, practical, jargon-free, and solution-based focus. A contract and royalty publisher, we produce 20–25 new titles each year.
Free Spirit’s books and learning materials are of the highest quality. They are widely and positively reviewed in major publishing, educational, and parenting publications (including Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, and Youth Today), and winners of many awards. Each title we publish receives the close, careful attention of our editors and publicity and sales departments. Additionally, our strong backlist ensures that our books experience a long life in print.
Our titles are available through major trade and library distributors (including Baker & Taylor) and can be found in independent and national bookstores (including Barnes & Noble), at Amazon.com and other online booksellers, and in select catalogs. Free Spirit books and learning materials are also available through our own widely distributed mail order catalog and at our website. In addition, we attend and sell our books at regional and national conferences. Our books have been translated into more than 20 languages around the world.
If you are interested in working with Free Spirit, it is essential to familiarize yourself with our books. You may request a copy of our catalog or review our titles online. We also recommend that you check out our books at your local library or bookstore to get a feel for our tone and style.
We do not publish:
general fiction or storybooks
books with animal or mythical characters
books with religious or New Age content
single biographies, autobiographies, or memoirs
If your project is in any of the above formats, it is not right for us—even if content themes overlap with those we publish on. We are looking for strong nonfiction proposals in the following categories:
Early Childhood: Board books for ages baby–preschool and picture books for ages 4–8 that focus on social skills and getting along, early learning, self-esteem, and other topics related to positive early childhood development. We will also consider fiction that relates directly to these areas of focus, as well as resources for educators, parents, and other adults who live and work with young children.
Self-Help for Kids®: Titles for ages 8–13 on school success, social skills, bullying, character development, conflict resolution, service learning, self-esteem, and other topics related to positive social and emotional health. We will also consider fiction that relates directly to these areas of focus.
Self-Help for Teens®: Titles for ages 13 and up on life skills, conflict resolution, school success, positive decision making, family issues, character development, social action and civics education, and other topics related to positive social and emotional health.
Gifted & Talented: Books on academic, social, and emotional development for gifted youth of all ages, as well as resources for parents, educators, and other adults who live and work with them.
Learning Differences: Books on academic, social, and emotional development for youth with learning differences, as well as resources for parents, educators, and other adults who live and work with them.
Parenting: Practical, pro-kid books for parents on specific issues related to youth development. We do not publish general parenting titles.
Teaching and Professional Development: Practical, jargon-free materials for educators, counselors, and youth workers that focus on positive child and youth development, creative teaching strategies, and a wide range of social and emotional needs.
Note: Due to the large volume of submissions we receive, we are unable to respond to individual queries. Please review the previous categories carefully. If you think your work may be a fit for Free Spirit, you may submit a proposal according to our guidelines.
If—after looking through our catalog and familiarizing yourself with our list—you’re confident your work is a fit, we welcome reviewing a proposal. Proposals to be considered must be sent by mail (not by fax or email). Include the following:
1. A cover letter briefly outlining your project, the intended audience (including age ranges), and your relevant expertise.
2. A current résumé.
3. A detailed chapter-by-chapter outline.
4. At least two sample chapters. (If a full manuscript is available, you may send it.)
5. A market analysis with a comprehensive listing of similar titles and detailed explanation of how your project differs from available products.
6. A description of your personal promotion plan for the proposed book (including both in-person and social media outreach).
Note: For early childhood submissions, the entire text is required for evaluation. Bracketed art suggestions are also appreciated, though illustration samples should not be sent unless professionally competent.
Send copies, not originals. Free Spirit is not liable for work lost in the mail. If you want your work returned after evaluation, include a self-addressed return envelope with sufficient postage.
As you prepare a proposal, it may help to keep a few of our main considerations in mind:
Need: Why is the book needed? How is it different from similar available titles?
Purpose: Who will use the book? How will they use it?
Quality: Is the project well written and researched? Is the style similar to that of our other award-winning, jargon-free, solution-focused titles?
Relevance: Is the subject matter appropriate for our list? Does it compete with or complement other available titles from Free Spirit?
Send proposals to:
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200
Minneapolis, MN 55401-1299
While we do our best to offer timely feedback on your project, the high volume of proposals we receive dictates a reply time of 2–6 months.