Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 25, 2019

Opportunity: Blue Whale Press

Recently Blue Whale Press has been sending me information about their books. I have featured some of them on Writing and Illustrating and after seeing what they are doing, I felt I should make sure you noticed the excellent books they are publishing. September is coming up and that is a month where they are open for picture book submissions. If you have a polished picture book, you will find the information you need to submit to them, below.

Blue Whale Press is an independent publisher that focuses on children’s books under its primary imprint.  They are an independent publisher of children’s books sold through retail and wholesale distribution. Retail shoppers can find our books at, Booktopia, and Barnes & Noble, among many other outlets. Blue Whale Press is not a vanity press. Their intention is to bring only quality writers to the market who might otherwise not get noticed. They are very selective and are engaged at every level from design & mock-up to sales & distribution, including copyright application and Library of Congress submissions. This enables writers and illustrators to focus on producing their best work.

They love submissions. But because of the overwhelming enthusiasm of kid lit writers and our commitment to producing quality books, they have decided to limit their submission periods to the months of February, June, and September. However, if you are an illustrator, you are always welcome to submit your work. As much as they would love to respond to every submission, doing so can quickly lead to a full-time job. So regrettably, if you do not hear from them within 90 days, you can assume they have decided to pass on the story submitted. During the months we are open for submissions, you’ll want to read the following guidelines carefully and completely before submitting. In no case should you submit attachments unless you are an illustrator, in which case we take PDFs only. Author submissions must be pasted into the body of an email.

Their submission guidelines are about to change because our current focus is picture books only.

Picture Books:

Word count for fiction should not exceed 800 words. Nonfiction should not exceed 1,000, but the lower the word count the better for both fiction and nonfiction. While we are open to manuscripts by authors, we are most interested in author/illustrators and collaborations. If you are an author who also illustrates, or you have an illustrator that you would like to collaborate with, please attach one or two character development sketches in a PDF.

Blue Whale press is looking for unusual characters, strong narrative arc, strong voice, fresh/unique premises, and surprise twists. We are drawn to unique stories that standout from all the rest. We gravitate toward humor, but we also love stories that tug at the heartstrings, but again, in a unique, standout way. Clever and/or humorous informational fiction that is written with young readers in mind tends to get our attention.

We are not interested in trends. Trends eventually lead to an abundance of similar stories being presented to children. We want to offer them more. If you haven’t seen it before, your chances are probably better with us. We aren’t able to produce board books at this time, so manuscripts written for the youngest picture book audience is not for us.

Manuscript Format
Please send only your most polished work. Pasted manuscripts should include your contact information at the top of the manuscript along with the word count for the entire manuscript and the target age range.

Cover Letter
A one-page cover letter should be pasted at the very top of the email before the manuscript. Please include the following information in the cover letter:

  • Contact information. Also include links to websites, blogs, and so on
  • Manuscript word count
  • Target age range
  • A bio that includes a brief summary of your writing credits and the title and publisher of any published books
  • Please let us know if you are an author/illustrator and include links to your online portfolio
  • If you would like to collaborate with an illustrator, please include a bio for the illustrator. Include links to the illustrator’s online portfolio. If two bios are necessary, a one-and-a-half-page cover letter is acceptable

Please send us an email telling us a bit about yourself. Include any links to online portfolios, and attach two of your favorite illustrations in a PDF.

Response Time
As much as we would like to respond to all submissions, it may not always be possible. If we are able to respond, it will be within 90 days. If you do not hear from us within that time, that means we have chosen to pass on the manuscript. However, there are many reasons for rejections, so feel free to submit other manuscripts during open submission periods only, but no sooner than one month following your previous submission. For illustrators, if you don’t hear from us within 90 days, this means we were unable to find a suitable home for your work during that time. We will keep your material on file and will contact you should something change.

Lastly. . .
Send all submissions to

It is owned and operated by a couple who probably couldn’t be more different in backgrounds and personalities, yet they complement each other so well, and have for decades.

Steve Kemp is a retired marketing and business development executive from the high-tech arena who has authored and/or edited thousands of pages of web, technical, and marketing copy over the span of a thirty-five-year career. He is a prolific writer who has a penchant for detail and accuracy of the written word, and he serves as the chief editor for Blue Whale Press. While the job function of “business development” might not ring a bell with most authors and illustrators, it is suffice to say that’s where sales begin: marketing, advertising and effective distribution are traits that any publisher needs to exhibit if your manuscript is ever to be printed and sold. Steve founded Blue Whale Press by leveraging his background in sales, marketing, finance, and business organization.

Alayne Kay Christian is an award-winning children’s book author. She is the creator and teacher of a picture book writing course, Art of Arc. She has been a professional picture book and chapter book critique writer since 2014, and she is going into her third year working for Julie Hedlund’s 12 X 12 as a critique ninja. Alayne is a graduate of the Institute for Children’s Literature and she has spent the last ten years studying under some of the top names in children’s literature. She is proficient in book design and layout and has a keen eye for quality. Alayne’s focus at Blue Whale Press is content editing and working with authors and illustrators to coordinate the path to quality books. In addition, she assists in copy editing and marketing.

Steve always intended for Blue Whale Press to bring quality books to children and their families, but his ongoing career advancements got in the way shortly after publishing Alayne’s book, Butterfly Kisses for Grandma and Grandpa. Nonetheless, this experience acclimated him to what it is like to do everything the big dogs do, including printing in China, contracting industry specialists, and doing obligatory paperwork. With that in the past, Steve and Alayne are now ready to team up and make Blue Whale Press the publishing company it was always meant to be.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Thank you for this wonderful post, Kathy. I am honored that you think so highly of Blue Whale Press. Also, as always, thank you for all that you do for the writing community!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved finding out more about Blue Whale Press – it’s always a great day in Kidlitland when new opportunities open up for authors and illustrators to get their work into the hands of children. Thanks for spreading the word, Kathy. And we are all cheering for Blue Whale Press, Alayne…I, too, have been impressed with the quality of the books that you’ve been publishing.


  3. I highly recommend them! I have been enjoying my collaboration with them, and they do a terrific job.


  4. It is lovely to hear so much about Blue Whale Press. I’ve also loved the books that have come out of Blue Whale so far.


  5. Kathy, Thanks for another great post! I do so love hearing more about Blue Whale Press and our own, Alayne Kay Christian! Keep up the good work 🙂


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