We are thrilled to announce our new collaboration with Sally Polson and Floris Books! Sally is the Editorial Director at independent Scottish publisher Floris Books and, following her Q&A session on the children’s book publishing process, submissions of children’s books are now open to Scottish BAME Writers Network members!
Normally writers need agents to submit to editors at publishing companies, so we are delighted to offer this opportunity to our writers! Full details below…
Meet Sally Polson
Sally Polson is the Editorial Director at Floris Books, an indie publisher based in Edinburgh and the largest children’s publisher in Scotland. Before moving to Scotland thirteen years ago, she worked in the children’s fiction team at HarperCollins in London, and has been editing children’s books for nearly twenty years. During that time, she has worked across many genres and age groups, including picture books, chapter books, middle grade, teen and YA novels, as well as children’s non-fiction.
Submit to Sally Polson at Floris Books
Who can submit?
Sally is actively looking for underrepresented voices and her inbox is open for submissions from Black writers and writers of colour who live in or are from Scotland and who are members of the Scottish BAME Writers Network (SBWN).
The term ‘member’ above includes event attendees, and/or members of our Facebook group, email subscribers, social media followers who are BAME* writers and are based in Scotland (normally outside of Covid-19) or from Scotland.
What are Sally and Floris Books looking for?
In Sally’s words:
We are particularly looking for books that feature characters of colour, written by people of colour**, across all the genres and age groups we publish for, outlined below. We also welcome books that include characters from a range of economic and family backgrounds and across the broad spectrums of ability, gender and sexuality.
We love submissions that give something special to readers: that will grab the interest of children in a particular age group and involve them.
Download these submission guidelines as a PDF
Children’s novels and chapter books (Kelpies imprint)
Novels for 8-12 year olds – We’re looking for voices and characters that stand out from the crowd in any popular children’s genre, including fantasy, adventure, humour, real-life issues and historical fiction. These can be standalone or have series potential.
Novels for 10-14 year olds – As above, but they can be a little more challenging in both interest level and complexity, while still suitable for upper primary readers.
Chapter books for 6-9 year olds with black-and-white illustrations – Humour, adventure, strong lead characters, crystal-clear concepts and simple plots work well, often with series potential. We usually pair authors with a suitable illustrator, although anyone who does both is welcome to get in touch!
- Traditionally, we’ve requested books set in Scotland in these three categories, but this is no longer essential.
- We are not currently looking for older teen or YA books.
Paperback picture books for 3-7 year olds with colour illustrations (Picture Kelpies imprint) – We sell these Scottish-focused stories in bookshops and tourist shops all around Scotland. We’re looking for books that will appeal to tourists, and themes, characters and settings that look and feel ‘Scottish’ – but of course that’s open to interpretation!
Hardback picture books for 3-7 year olds with colour illustrations (Floris imprint) – These mainly sell in bookshops and online throughout the US and the UK. We’re looking for impactful stories with emotional-learning messages or with natural-world themes, often lyrically written and intended to accompany beautiful illustrations.
- We pair authors with a suitable illustrator – no need to illustrate your own work!
Folk and fairy-tale collections
We publish hardback story anthologies for 7-12 year olds, both for Scottish bookshops and our international US/UK list. We are always open to fresh perspectives on traditional tales.
We publish colour-illustrated non-fiction, from board books to upper primary. These need strong, clear concepts and Scottish themes, for Scottish bookshops and tourist shops.
How to submit
- A brief synopsis, e.g. up to one A4 page
- The first three chapters of longer texts; or a complete picture book story
- One or two paragraphs of biography, telling us briefly who you are and what you do
- We prefer to read documents in either Word, Google Docs or PDF. Please note:
- Simultaneous submissions (to other publishers &/or agents) are fine, but please let Floris know as soon as you are accepted elsewhere.
- Participation in this programme does not guarantee your work will be published, however you may receive feedback.
- This programme is open until 30 November 2021.
Please send via:
- Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Flag clearly that you are a member of SBWN, with ‘SBWN member submission: [your book title]’ in the subject line.
We will acknowledge your email as soon as possible, but we may take up to two months to assess your work and respond fully. If you do not receive an acknowledgement or a full response after this time, it’s fine to send a nudging email.
* BAME stands for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic. While we use the term BAME, we acknowledge the limitations of this terminology. At the core of our network is the aim to address and overcome systemic barriers that our members face directly or indirectly based on their ethnic or national identities, race or perceived racial identities, or the colour of their skin as per the Equality Act of 2010. We also use the terms ‘BIPOC’ (Black, Indigenous, people of colour), ‘Black writers’ and ‘writers of colour’ to refer to people from the BAME community who face such barriers.