Free Spirit Publishing 1.800.735.7323

Submission Guidelines

About Free Spirit Publishing

Our mission is to provide children and teens with the tools they need to overcome challenges and 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 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 30 languages around the world.

Determining Whether Your Work Is a Fit for Free Spirit Publishing

If you are interested in working with Free Spirit, it is best to start by familiarizing yourself with our books. You may request a copy of our catalog or review our titles online at 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 accept the following types of submissions:

  • General fiction or storybooks
  • Books with animal or mythical characters
  • Poetry
  • Material with religious or New Age content
  • Single biographies, autobiographies, or memoirs
  • Self-help for adults

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:

Teaching Strategies & Professional Development: Practical, jargon-free materials for educators, administrators, counselors, and youth workers that focus on positive youth development, creative teaching strategies, leadership, early childhood development, and a wide range of social and emotional needs.

Early Childhood: Board books for infant to age 4 and picture books for ages 4 to 8 that focus on social skills and getting along, early learning, character education, self-esteem, and other topics related to positive early childhood development. We will also consider fiction that relates directly to these areas of focus.

Gifted & Special Education: Books on academic, social, and emotional development for young people with diverse learning needs of all ages, including gifted students and students with learning differences, ADHD, behavioral difficulties, or autism spectrum disorders. We also seek resources for educators, counselors, parents, and other adults that support children’s diverse learning and social-emotional needs.

Bullying Prevention & Conflict Resolution: Picture books, Self Help for Kids®, Self Help for Teens®, and resources for teachers, counselors, and other educators to help young people understand, prevent, and respond to bullying incidents. We will also consider fiction for kids and teens that relates to these topics.

Character Education, Leadership & Service Learning: Picture books, Self Help for Kids®, Self Help for Teens®, and resources for teachers, counselors, and other educators to help young people build character, discover their leadership potential, and engage in their communities. We will also consider fiction for kids and teens that relates to these topics.

Educational Games, Posters, & Jars: Games and In a Jar® products for kids and teens that promote character development, bullying prevention, positive behavior, social-emotional learning, and other related topics. We are not currently accepting proposals for posters.

Counseling & Social-Emotional Learning: Picture books, Self Help for Kids®, Self Help for Teens®, and educator resources to help children and teens deal with grief and loss, health and wellness, depression and other mental illnesses, stress, social skills and friendship, anger management, GLBTQ issues, manners, family, self-confidence, and more. We will also consider fiction for kids and teens that relates to these topics.

Current Areas of Special Interest

Our editors are particularly interested in seeing the following areas of focus in author submissions:

  • Peer empathy and understanding
  • Grief, loss, and trauma
  • Social justice and student activism
  • Special needs inclusion
  • Equity, culturally-sustaining teaching practices, and/or inclusive classroom design
  • Humorous nonfiction on SEL topics for ages 5-9
  • Picture books featuring or about children with special needs
  • Authors from historically under-represented perspectives
Note: Due to the large volume of submissions we receive, we are unable to respond to individual queries that are not accompanied by a complete proposal. Please review the previous categories carefully. If you think your work may be a fit for Free Spirit, you may submit a full proposal according to our guidelines.

Submitting a Proposal

Proposals may be sent through Submittable or by mail. Submissions by email will not be considered or recorded. Only proposals with the following elements will be considered for publication:

  • A cover letter briefly outlining your project, the intended audience (including age ranges), and your relevant expertise
  • A current résumé
  • A market analysis with a comprehensive list of similar titles and a detailed explanation of how your project differs from available products
  • A detailed chapter-by-chapter outline
  • At least two sample chapters (if a full manuscript is available, you may send it)
    Note: For early childhood submissions, the entire text is required for evaluation. Bracketed art suggestions are appreciated, though illustration samples should not be sent unless professionally competent.
  • A description of your personal promotion plan for the proposed book (including both in-person and social media outreach)

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
Attn: Acquisitions
6325 Sandburg Road, Suite 100
Minneapolis, MN 55427-3674

Or upload your submission on Submittable:

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.


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