Submit Your Story With Confidence

A Step-by-Step Plan from Editors at Chronicle Books


  • Hone Your Story Skills & Revise Your Story with Melissa and Ariel
  • How to Hook Editors, Book Sellers, and Readers
  • How to Make Submissions Stand Out
  • How to Submit Confidently with a Plan


Melissa Manlove is a senior editor at Chronicle Books. She acquires both non-fiction and fiction. Melissa looks for fresh takes on familiar topics, as well as the new and unusual.

Ariel Richardson has a master's degree in Children's Literature and is an editor at Chronicle Books. She primarily edits board books, picture books, and novelty.

In addition to editing, Melissa and Ariel have also worked as children's booksellers and have a wealth of knowledge. 

Ariel Richardson

Children's Editor

Melissa Manlove

Senior Editor

Course Details

In this 9-week course, you'll learn how to make your submissions stand out in a good way.

Module 1:
Beginning Like a Storyteller

Lesson 1: Introduction
Lesson 2: Your Publishing Journey
Lesson 3: Bad Ideas to Amazing Books
Lesson 4: Critique Groups
Lesson 5: Tour of Chronicle Books
Lesson 6: Slush and Common Mistakes

Module 2:
Reading Like a Bookseller

Lesson 1: Welcome to Mrs. Dalloway's
Lesson 2: Bookstore Sections and Shelves
Lesson 3: Picture Books and Voice
Lesson 4: Mentor Texts

Module 3:
Collaborating Like a Publisher

Lesson 1: Types of Submissions
Lesson 2: How to Build a Relationship with an Editor
Lesson 3: Acquisitions
Lesson 4: Four Common Questions
Lesson 5: Narrative Structures

Module 4:
Thinking Like an Editor

Lesson 1: Introduction
Lesson 2: Finding the Heart of Your Story & Great Characters
Lesson 3: Participation
Lesson 4: Hook
Lesson 5: Rules in Picture Books
Lesson 6: Demystifying Art Direction

Module 5:
Positioning Like an Agent

Lesson 1: Introduction
Lesson 2: Brainstorming Titles with Hooks
Lesson 3: Handselling
Lesson 4: Metadata, Author Bios, and Awards
Lesson 5: Back Matter, Curriculum, & Diversity
Lesson 6: How to Get Discovered as an Artist

Module 6:
Submitting Like a Pro

Lesson 1: Query and Cover Letters
Lesson 2: Decline Letters
Lesson 3: Revision Tools & Illustration Notes
Lesson 4: It’s Your Story
Lesson 5: Your Submission Strategy

Everyone Has a Story to Tell

Hear from Amy Flynn

Hear from Kristy Nuttal

Hear from Brian Song

Hear from Grace Nall

Hear from Ann Gronvold

Who Should Take This Class?

Just Starting...

Melissa and Ariel show students how to turn bad ideas into good stories. This course takes students through the whole process: from coming up with ideas to submitting polished stories to agents and editors.

Intermediate Storytellers

Lessons like "Finding the Heart of Your Story & Great Characters" will help you improve your stories. And while you're improving your stories, you'll learn a lot about how to submit them when they're ready.

Advanced Writers

Learn the best ways to make your submissions stand out. You're going to put more hook in your title, practice pitching, and research agents and publishing houses so that your manuscript makes the right impression.

Advanced Illustrators

In addition to what you'll learn about writing and submitting stories, Ariel shares tips on how to check your illustrations for consistency and how you can get discovered as an artist.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are just starting out, we recommend starting with Crafting Picture Book Stories or Writing Picture Book Manuscripts. This class is an intermediate class that will help you improve your craft and submit your work.

Start with reading lots of picture books. Learn the specific age group you are writing for. Picture book stories that are kid-relatable and imaginative do the best. You want to have a fresh point of view.

Yes, this is a craft-based class. Melissa and Ariel will strengthen your understanding of narrative structures and help you use mentor texts to improve your storytelling.

Yes! Melissa and Ariel will show you how to pitch your work and prepare for submission. You will learn how to write a query letter, how to do research, and how to keep track of your submissions.

Chronicle Books is one of the few publishers that still accept unsolicited submissions. However, you will not get special access through the course.

We have a submission checklist that you can run your story through. The checklist was made by Melissa Manlove and Ariel Richardson, two editors at Chronicle Books.

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