Sleeping Bear Press is a publisher of quality children’s books. We specialize in picture books and middle grade novels. We accept both fiction and nonfiction submissions. Please browse our website or catalog for examples of the types of books we publish.

In addition to our standard submission process, we offer a publishing award for new authors with diverse stories. Please see below for information on the Own Voices, Own Stories Award.

Due to the volume of manuscripts we receive we are not able to respond to every submission. We do, however, make every effort to carefully consider each submission we receive. If we are interested in your manuscript we will respond within six months of receiving it. Additionally, in receiving a submission, we cannot assume any obligation to not publish a book based on a similar concept. Please no follow up emails or calls.

At this time we are only considering email submissions. Please attach your manuscript as a word document and send to the following email address:

The subject line of your email should include “New Submission”, the title of your work, fiction/nonfiction, and the subject (science, nature, humor, etc.). The body of your email should be your cover letter and include: your full name, your postal address, any previous publishing experience, word count, and a brief summary of your manuscript (please do not send cover letters as an additional attachment).

Own Voices, Own Stories Award

The Own Voices, Own Stories Award is offered annually to a children’s picture book manuscript by a BIPOC or LGBTQ author with the intention of recognizing and amplifying new and diverse voices with unique perspectives. With this award, we hope to reach a more inclusive audience of children.


The Own Voices, Own Stories Award contest is open to BIPOC and LGBTQ writers. Applicants must be United States residents and at least 18 years of age. Only unagented projects and authors who have not had a previously traditionally-published children’s book will be considered. Manuscripts that have been previously submitted to Sleeping Bear Press and/or the Own Voices, Own Stories Award will not be considered. Authors who have self-published books will be considered, but the submitted story must be original (i.e. not the self-published title).


  1. Submissions are open January 1 through March 31.
  2. Submitted stories should speak to BIPOC and/or LGBTQ children—or children of LGBTQ families—with a purpose of offering stories they feel represented and empowered by.
  3. Submissions should be for ages four through ten and may be fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Text must come in at under 1,300 words (not including backmatter or ancillary material).
  4. Only stories with human protagonists will be considered.
  5. Applicants must submit via the Sleeping Bear Press award submission email address: Subject line should include title of the project, author’s last name, and the year of submission (ex: Sarah’s Own Voice Story, Smith, 2020).
  6. Submissions will consist of a cover letter in the body of the email and attached manuscript. Cover letter should include author’s contact information (phone, email, address) as well as a synopsis of the story and a brief author bio.
  7. Authors may submit up to two manuscripts per award period. Each manuscript must come via separate submission email.
  8. Please note that these must be exclusive submissions. Manuscripts cannot be submitted to additional publications, publishers, agents, or contests concurrently.
  9. Sleeping Bear Press is not responsible for late, lost, or incorrectly submitted projects.


Grand Prize winners will receive a $2,000 cash prize, in addition to a publishing contract with advance and royalties standard for new Sleeping Bear Press authors. Honor Award winners will receive a $500 cash prize as well as one consulting session with a Sleeping Bear Press editor.


  1. Manuscripts can be submitted from January 1 through March 31. Manuscripts arriving before or after those dates will not be considered.
  2. Winners will be notified by August 1 and announced by September 15.
  3. At least one Honor Award will be offered each year, but a Grand Prize winner will be offered at the discretion of the judging committee. All judgements are final.

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  • Sleeping Bear Press
  • 2395 South Huron Parkway
  • Suite 200
  • Ann Arbor MI 48104

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