Thursday, 14 December 2017

The best part of Submissions... by Louise Boland


A couple of months ago I got a bee in my bonnet about how outrageously writers are treated by many organisations who solicit for submissions.  Why ask for them and then ignore them, was my question.  Perhaps they get too many to handle?  But then why not just close their submissions process for a time until the backlog of responses has been worked through?   

As Katherine Roberts said to our call for advice, ‘yes is brilliant, no is good (because you can cross that publisher/agent off your list and move on), but silence is torture’. 

I was determined that we would establish a submissions process which shows respect for writers, and perhaps start a new trend out there – setting the bar higher for all those organisations who seek direct manuscript submissions.   

So I asked for views on a submissions code of practice for Fairlight Books and received many helpful suggestions and comments from Authors Electric et al.  I’m pleased to say that thanks to all the fantastic feedback we received, we now have a workable, fair, and respectful code of practice up and running. 

Here it is:  

 When we look at our submissions, I’m always very impressed by the care that writers take to read through our guidelines and provide submissions in the form we have requested.  Hopefully our new process will ensure that we always respond in kind. 

Much as I’d love to, we can’t publish all the many works we receive, and if we did, then Fairlight Books wouldn’t be what I’d like it to be – a place to nurture, publish and promote the best of quality writing.  

But I’m very happy and excited to say that from our submissions process we have signed up a number of very talented writers, many of whom are debut writers of longer fiction, and that we will be publishing their books in 2018.  Please watch this space and on our website in a couple of weeks, when we’ll start announcing details!

Fairlight Fiction - Coming Soon

2 comments:

Enid Richemont said...

Going into the actual publishing end of this all-too-frequently painful (for all concerned) business takes courage, so Bravo! for doing it. I have been at the creative side (not that yours isn't)for probably most of my working life - first published via short stories for magazines back in the days when agents actually courted writers, not the other way round, and then with my first children's novel with Walker Books back in the early Nineties (one of my first books with them is currently under production as a movie, and fingers crossed for that because film-making is as precarious as publishing).

I had the glitteriest book launch via Simon & Schuster, back in 2002,for my Y/A novel: FOR MARITSA WITH LOVE, after which I saw most of my books going out of print, including the one they spent so much on launching - which is heart-breaking - it is a heart-breaking profession. One of my adult novels was enthusiastically taken up by Sheba Feminist Press back in the late 80s,but I disapproved of their ethics and withdrew it. Recently had an offer from Unbound for it which I haven't taken up because of the complexities and possible expense associated with it. There is a second.

I've kept going by doing small books for very young readers via Franklin Watts at Hachette - quite satisfying, because at least I'm out there. Why so many people seem to be queuing up to enter this profession baffles me, but they are. With my husband, David, we managed to re-publish much of my published work as ebooks, but I can't do the publicity, although I've tried. Also, sadly, David died four years ago.

Umberto Tosi said...

Fine post and fine work! Your approach to submissions - and publishing, in general - is a breath of fresh air. It's also a restoration of professional values lost but not forgotten. I worked as an acquisitions editor for a number of first-class publishing outfits during my desk jockey years. We would have considered the way too many publishing houses (and especially, literary journals) large and small - deal with writers cavalier - and counterproductive - to say the least.