The purpose of this page is to assist would-be authors and, whilst it is primarily aimed at people who want to write for us, the principles apply to most publishers.

Choose your publisher

Most publishers specialise in some way. A glance through these pages will soon tell anybody what we are interested in, but we still get offered manuscripts on Cornish limericks and Indian philosophy, not to mention some strange things that are best described as fiction.

Contact a publisher early in the project; do not wait until you think you have finished. We like to work with our authors and will often advise on presentation, emphasis, illustrations and even research sources. Ask about 'conventions'. Click here for details of our 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 us 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 to us as an email attachment, unless we ask you to.

Preparing your manuscript

These days we expect to receive manuscripts as a simple file on disc. Do not bother with any sophisticated formatting as we do the book layout, not you. Do not waste your time scanning in illustrations. Be prepared to send photocopies, initially.

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, including us if you think it is our sort of thing. We will always try to help.

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