Please read these submission guidelines carefully. We won’t read your submission if you don’t follow them. Sorry to sound harsh but consider this: you’re sending in one single submission, we’re receiving hundreds. And our instructions are not arbitrary, there are good reasons behind all of them that will make us work more efficiently.
So, with this in mind, here’s what you need to know:
Eligibility & experience
- We are focused on discovering, developing and launching the careers of writers of colour, disability, working class, LGBTQ+ and anyone who feels their story is not being told in the mainstream. Either you were born in Britain or you are a resident of Britain. That makes you eligible.
- You have to be over 18 (this is for safeguarding issues. If you are under 18, we’d need permission from parents/carers to take work forward).
- In terms of your publishing history, we’re not fussed. We’re only concerned about the work. So, if you’ve never been published before, ever; or if you have a blog; or if you had an essay published online or in a university journal; or if you’ve had short stories published in anthologies; or if you’ve had your first novel published. We particularly encourage the yous who have never been published before, or are starting out, or have been writing for years but have had no luck getting published – you especially, you… you send your work in.
Your work & what we're looking for
- If your work isn't ready yet, don't submit it yet. We're here for the long haul. At least 3 years. We're not going to get full, you won't miss your chance, we will consider each writer on their own merits not on targets or quotas or anything other than your writing and your idea. Don’t send us anything you don’t feel is ready. Your submission has one shot at getting our attention. Make it as good as it can be. Ask someone who will be honest with you and whose opinion you value to read it. When it's ready we'll be waiting for it. And there'll be opportunities that we'll be announcing soon to help talented writers with unfinished work develop that work.
- We are NOT at this time accepting poetry, plays or screenplays.
- For fiction we are looking for work for all ages and genres but at this time we are only accepting finished work. In the future there will be opportunities for you to submit to us at an earlier stage in your writing but we need a little time to get up and running before making that possible.
- For non-fiction we are looking for work all ages and genres and you may submit unfinished work based on a fully thought through concept and proposal as well as a sample of your writing. So for example if you've had a neat idea but don't see how it would make a full length book, work on it a little longer till you do.
- We are accepting graphic novels but not at this time picture books or any other form of illustrated children's books. Again there will be future opportunities but we need to get a few things in place before we can accept them.
How to prepare & save your manuscript
We don't need your full manuscript at submission, just a section.
- Fiction: first three chapters.
- Non-fiction: introduction and opening chapter.
- Graphic novels: ten pages.
It’s really important your manuscript be easy for us to read. This bit’s important and we’re gonna be ruthless about it, mostly because we’ll be reading a lot of these on screens and ereaders and it can get confusing quickly. So please make sure you follow these guidelines:
- Save the filename as YOUR NAME, TITLE OF BOOK.
- Arial. 12 point. Double spaced.
- Save either as a .doc, a .docx or a .pdf.
- Don’t share a OneDrive, Dropbox or Google Doc with us. We need the saved file.
- Your name and the title of the piece should be on the front page. Don’t put it in the header or footer cos ereaders sometimes does horrible things with these.
- It has to be submitted through the form. Not emailed directly to us. Even if you know us or have chatted to us informally or we’ve tweeted or whatever. Submit through the portal. It has to all be in one place.
How to prepare your synopsis / outline
For fiction and graphic novels we require a full synopsis of your book. We want to know exactly what happens, we are not worried about it having spoilers or giving away the ending or the twists, we need to know the ending or the twists. Please do thought make it as succinct as possible, unless your book is incredibly long you should be able to make your synopsis fit on a couple of pages maximum.
For non-fiction we require a fairly thorough outline of what the book will involve. If it's a memoir this might look something like a fiction synopsis would; if it's a business, history or science book it should probably involve an overview of the subjects you intend to cover and if possible a chapter breakdown; if it's a lifestyle book it could just be a brief concept pitch and a chapter outline. Whatever your subject though it's important for us to understand why you're the right person to write it because this is really key when considering non-fiction, so we'll need to know a little of what inspired you to have the idea and what qualifies you to write it (this isn't about what education you have, it's about whether you have the relevant experience for the book, for example if you're writing a business book we need to understand what business experience you have, that sort of thing).
Whether fiction or non-fiction please prepare the document in the same way you do your manuscript as per the instructions above.
How to submit
We are accepting submissions solely via our submissions form.
If you send an email, a hard copy or submit in any other way we will not consider your submission. Sorry, but we mean it.
What happens next
We are going to respond to everyone and even if we choose not to represent you it will include some advice on what you could consider doing next.
Due to the number of submissions we've received we currently anticipate that if you submitted w/c 14 May you will hear from us by the end of June.