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To publish or not to publish....

Our emerging writers invariably raise the question of getting published. Over the years I have read some excellent work that really does deserve to be published but the author doesn't want to, that's not what its about for them. Then I have read other submissions in which the author is convinced it should be published when in reality it should have remained gathering dust somewhere! In my mind, if a piece is good enough, then eventually it will get picked up by somebody if you put it out there enough. Saying that, there have been some really famous authors that have been rejected countless times but eventually did make it, amongst them Anne Frank, Stephen King, J K Rowling and George Orwell, to name but a few! Its relatively easy to get your work online, or in a small anthology, but you would need a huge amount of really good work and built up an excellent reputation to get a whole book of poetry into print. Classical poets still seem to be the most popular. Writing a novel is far more time consuming and intensive, and would need to be placed with an interested publisher. Different publishing houses tend to concentrate on different types of writing, be it romance, science fiction, historical, or murder mystery.

With all this in mind, we decided to host a workshop that would answer all those burning questions. Our workshop leader was the CEO of Writing East Midlands, Henderson Mullins, who has a wealth of knowledge and deep understanding of the issues facing emerging writers. for more about Writing East Midlands follow this link

We thought it would be a really good idea to start with the basics, sometimes the basics might seem glaringly obvious to many but any of us could be making a school boy error that is making our work end up on the slush pile.
So from the top.....
All submissions have to be typed up and not hand written. It must be double spaced and in 12pt font size preferably in Times New Roman or Arial, no fancy fonts! Be conscientious about your spelling.
If its a short story, then the whole lot can be sent, if its a novel, submit a short synopsis plus a chapter. Also send a short biography, who your intended market is and an SAE. Some publishers take electronic submissions, but do check first.
Check out the type of publishing house that you are sending it to, it should be the same genre as your submission. Some publishers do also require a 'one sentence' description of your book. Most publishers would have a website so do take time to find out about them and what there criteria is.
Novels can be submitted to as many publishers as you like, but it may be an idea to find yourself an Agent first. Agents are experienced in this sort of thing and will give you invaluable advice and support in getting your work to the right publishers, and if you do become famous.... will negotiate a good deal for you! As with publishers, it is important to find the right agent. There are some good sources of information available through the Association of Authors and Agents are get yourself the writers bible 'The Writers & Artists Year Book.'


Publishing Houses that may be worth following up which specialise in black and disaporic writing are:
Tindal Street Press http://www.tindalstreet.org.uk/
Five Leaves Publication http://www.fiveleaves.co.uk/
Wasifiri http://www.wasafiri.org/
Sable http://www.sable-publishing-house.com/
Blood Axe Books http://www.bloodaxebooks.com/
Carcanet Publishing http://www.carcanet.co.uk/

As always if you have any questions, or need help get in touch
rebecca.abrahams@charnwood-arts.org.uk