Thank you for your interest!

Due to volume, Cynthia’s assistant may not be able to respond to every author query.

Before writing,  please note:

Book Blurbs

Cynthia is not currently open to requests for book blurbs.

Authenticity/Sensitivity Reads

Cynthia does not provide authenticity/sensitivity reads (for a fee or otherwise).

Book Rights Queries

ALL rights queries must be directed to:

Ginger Knowlton
Curtis Brown, Ltd.
Ten Astor Place
NY, NY 10003

Author-Event Queries

The Booking Biz: see link to invite Cynthia Leitich Smith to your event.

Invitations for Cynthia Leitich Smith to speak at events or serve as author-faculty at writing workshops should be directed to Carmen Oliver at The Booking Biz.

Or, if applicable, directed to the respective marketing teams at Candlewick Press (for YA books and The Blue Stars MG series) and HarperChildren’s (children’s and tween books).

Donations Queries

Cynthia encourages donations to:

Cynsations Team & Queries

Subscribe to Cynthia’s blog Cynsations. It’s a venue for reflective conversations, publishing information, writer insights and inspiration, bookseller-librarian-teacher appreciation, children’s-YA literature news and author outreach. Cynsations blog contributors and featured subjects must be members of the children’s-YA literary community (writers, illustrators, editors, agents, booksellers, teachers, librarians, publishing professionals, etc.).

For blog-related queries, do not use the form below. Use this address without spaces instead: CynsationsIntern @

Support the Native Fund at WNDB

Visit the We Need Diverse Books donation page. From there, select “Honor” from “Honor or remember someone with your gift?” And write in “Native books / Native Fund” under the question “Whom do you want to recognize?” 

The Native Fund makes possible the WNDB Native Children’s-YA Writing Intensive, the Indigenous Reads Rising website, mentorship programs that benefit Native people aspiring to various publishing roles, and much more. Leslie Stall Widener (Choctaw) is the program chair.

Heartdrum Queries

Cynthia is the author-curator of Heartdrum at HarperChildren’s, which is in partnership with We Need Diverse Books. Learn more about Heartdrum.

Check out the Heartdrum Brochure from HarperCollins for about the imprint and a peek at winter-summer 2021 releases.

Native and First Nations writers and writer-illustrators are welcome to query her directly via the form below. Please consult standard industry manuscript format guidelines and the Heartdrum imprint submission guidelines before sending. We are centering contemporary and recent historicals, including genre fiction and nonfiction, as well as Native and First Nations writers and illustrators. Our focal formats are fiction and (to a much lesser extent) nonfiction picture books as well as middle grade and YA novels. The writing should be for young readers as an audience, not writing for adults that is inclusive of a young characters and/or childhood reflections. You may want to read and study children’s-YA books by Native and First Nations book creators to study as mentor texts.

If your manuscript is a fit, please type “Heartdrum” at the beginning of the subject line below, followed by your title and byline.

For example: Heartdrum: Jingle Dancer by Cynthia Leitich Smith

In the body of the message, include your query for the manuscript (plot summary) along with a professional bio, any website or social media links, and, if you’re an illustrator or author-illustrator, a link to your portfolio. Please also indicate your specific tribal affiliation(s), listing the full official name of your tribal Nation, and whether you are: (a) an enrolled citizen/member; (b) a recent descendant (and of whom; e.g., “my mother, NAME, was an enrolled member of XYZ”); or (c) self-identified.

Due to volume, queries or submissions of manuscripts and/or art that do not fall within the focus of the Heartdrum imprint will be deleted without a response. Do not send a manuscript unless specifically requested.

If you’re more generally seeking a children’s-YA publisher, consult the CHILDREN’S WRITERS & ILLUSTRATORS MARKET 2020: THE MOST TRUSTED GUIDE TO GETTING PUBLISHED, edited by Amy Jones (Writer’s Digest Books) and consider joining the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. Also be sure to check out Writer Resources.

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