What Will You Publish?

Don't Leap Blind!


You come to this indie publishing process with ideas! You have a passion for some subject, a desire to write a certain kind of book, or just a curiosity about what it would take to publish a certain type of book. Great! We’re going to focus you on and your goals. 

Before we look at what you want to publish, though, it’s helpful to consider how traditional publishers describe their publishing programs. Here how some publishers describe their program and titles. As you read through them, start to think about how you’d describe your publishing program.

IMPORTANT: Your ideas will change as time passes. You’ll try one thing that doesn’t work, but have surprising success with something else. It’s inevitable. But it’s good to start with a strong vision, and revise yearly or revise as your business matures. Don’t be afraid of this. Instead, boldly write out your current version; and then, be open to updating when needed.

Why does this matter? Everything flows from this: decision of which book to publish, the distribution methods, and certainly, marketing.

Here’s how some publishers describe their publishing efforts.

Blue Dot Kids Press

We publish stories that engage a young reader’s innate sense of wonder and empathy, connecting them to our global community and the pale blue dot we call home. Our beautifully crafted stories are written and illustrated by impassioned storytellers and artists from around the world. As an independent, mission-driven children’s publisher located in San Francisco, United States, and Wellington, New Zealand, our purpose is evident in every book we publish—as well as in our business practices. With irrepressible hopefulness and courage, we aspire to embolden the next generation of global citizens with empathy, resilience, creative thinking, and the shared value of nature and its stewardship. www.bluedotkidspress.com


“Puffin Books launched Speak, a new imprint aimed at teens, in 2002. Bringing classic and cutting edge fiction to the forefront of the paperback list, Speak provides a dedicated home for older readers. With a range of the quality fiction and non-fiction Puffin is known for, Speak combines contemporary novels featuring characters with whom readers can identify, historical fiction that transports the reader to new worlds, smart, original series fiction, and a mix of award-winning authors and bright new talent. In Speak, everyone has a voice.” Penguin.com/publishers/speak

For more descriptions of publishing programs, see the Penguin/Random House imprints list here, and then click on the imprint and look for the ABOUT page for more information:


Blueberry Hill Books - Canadian publisher 

“Blueberry Hill Books was founded in the summer of 2004 with the purpose of creating leveled books for guided reading instruction.” BlueberryHillBooks.com

Star Bright Books

“Star Bright Books is an independent publishing company dedicated to producing the highest quality books for children. Deborah Shine established the press in 1994 with the goal of making “Great Books for Great Kids.” (They are great for parents and other care givers too!) We recognize that to inspire a life-long love of books, it is important for children to begin building that relationship at the earliest possible age. We believe that all children should see themselves in print and we make a concerted effort to include children of all colors, nationalities, and abilities in our books. In addition to seeing themselves, children should also hear familiar language in the books they choose. In pursuit of that goal, we publish engaging books in twenty languages.”  StarBrightBooks.com

Mims House (This is my publishing company)


“We grow into the stories we read. Mims House (est. 2008) is a U.S. children’s book publisher. Our award winning stories include contemporary fiction, fantasy middle grade novels and nonfiction picture books. Common themes include troubled families, a healthy environment, and teaching kids how to write.

     We publish stories that touch the lives of the young. Or the young at heart. Our books celebrate the indomitable and unconquerable human spirit, and give kids boundless hope in the midst of tangled families or intergalactic struggles. Nonfiction stories evoke awe and wonder for the world. Our writing process books celebrate and encourage a kid’s creativity.”  MimsHouseBooks.com

Your Publishing Program - Don’t Leap Blind!

Have you stopped to write about your publishing program? You should. Choosing to indie publish is a hard task, but it’s made almost impossible if you leap blindly. It matters when you decide on which manuscript to publish, the style of the art, the copyediting, and especially in the marketing.

The question I get most often is this: I’ve just published my book; can you help me market it?

Um. No. The time to start marketing is when you decide what to publish. Get this right and everything after will line up for your best chance at success.


Who is your audience?

What format books do you want to publish?

What subject matter(s) or genre(s) will you publish?

If you’re undecided about this, don’t worry. The next couple posts will go into the options in depth. Think about it now, but plan to revise over the next few weeks.