The purpose of this page is to assist would-be authors and, whilst Twelveheads Press are no longer accepting new manuscripts, the principles apply to most publishers.
Choose your publisher
Most publishers specialise in some way so research to find one that welcomes your subject.
Contact a publisher early in the project; do not wait until you think you have finished. Ask about 'conventions'. Most good publishers have them and will expect a manuscript to conform to certain standards. Get it right before you type up your final version.
Submitting your manuscript or ideas
Do not send your manuscript to a publisher in the first instance. Write first with a synopsis of the proposed book, lists of chapters and of illustrations, and a word count, either actual or proposed. A sample would be helpful. Equally important is why you are writing on the subject. Have you special expertise, or even qualifications, not that the latter are essential. If you send a manuscript to a publisher always enclose return postage. Never send anything as an email attachment, unless you are asked to.
Preparing your manuscript
Ask how your chosen publisher expects to receive manuscripts and illustrations. Do not bother with any sophisticated formatting, that is the designer's job.
What to expect
Do not be surprised if a publisher wants to make changes to your book. A good editor should recognise what you are trying to do and, if necessary, help you to do it better. You may have researched and written the book but the publisher will also be putting a great deal into it, including taking the commercial risk. Not only does he (or she) have standards to maintain but they should know what the market expects.
Don't be surprised if you hear nothing for long periods. Your's is unlikely to be the only thing on a publisher's desk, and some parts of the process are time-consuming and do not involve the author.
Don't be put off
Some of our best titles have come from people who never expected to see their name in print. If you have a good idea but are not sure how to handle it, talk to as many people as you can, other authors or publishers.