We are often contacted by writers who ask for information on
funding for their writing, feedback on their writing or how to get
their books published by a publisher. We've set out some advice
below. For information on self-publishing, see Starting Up As A
General advice for writers
Scottish Book Trust's
website is a good source of general information and advice for
writers. Emergents - a community interest company -
provides development and support for writers in the Highlands and
Islands. Both new and established writers also find the Writers & Artists
Yearbook a valuable source of information.
The Scottish Writers Centre is a countrywide
resource, which supports national writers and promotes Scotland's
vibrant literary culture. It is operated solely by writer
volunteers for writers.
The Federation of Writers (Scotland) is an
organisation set-up to to support writers by making the whole
process much easier to negotiate, from starting to write to
publication. They can help you to find a writing group in your
area, tell you where you can perform and help with the process of
Similarly the Scottish Association of Writers promotes
writing through a variety of events and resources and is a
membership organisation comprising of individuals affiliated with
The Edinburgh International Book Festival runs very
popular sessions for writers. They sell out quickly so book your
place as soon as booking opens. Other book festivals may run events
for writers. For a list of festivals in Scotland, see the Book
Festival Scotland website.
Writes is a new writing group up by Create in Fife in
association with Fife Cultural Trust.
Sources of funding for writers
- Creative Scotland may be a source of funding for writers
- Scottish Book Trust's website has a section on Writers and
Writing that lists opportunities for writers including the New
- The Society of Authors
administers a variety of grants and awards.
Funding for publications
Community groups and other organisations often fundraise to
cover the costs of producing their publications. Other sources to
investigate include National Lottery Funding, local authority funds
and sponsorship from individuals or businesses:
Assessment of your writing
If you would like an objective appraisal of your writing before
you send it to a publisher, there are several options to consider:
mainly writing groups, courses and critical feedback.
Some writers join writing groups where they benefit from the
support and feedback from a tutor and their fellow writers. They
will vary in time and cost with some university or other high-level
courses being very expensive. Good sources for finding a local
group are: your local library, the Scottish Poetry Library (particularly for
poets), and local authority and other evening classes
Critical feedback and individual tutoring
The Scottish Poetry Library website
lists some tutors who offer critical feedback and/or individual
Literary consultants offer a range of services from feedback to
full publishing services.
If you decide to use paid services, check the credentials of the
provider and what other users have said (eg on writers'
Submitting work to publishers
Here is some general advice about submitting work to publishers
which should help you to go about it in the best possible way.
Consider what you are hoping to achieve by publication. If your
book is mainly of family interest or for small-scale fundraising,
you may wish to consider self-publishing (see Starting Up As A
Do your research
The most important starting point is to find publishing
companies who specialise in the type of work you have written.
Research publishers online, check the listings in the Writers' & Artists'
Yearbook, and browse the relevant subject section in your
local bookshop or library. There is a list of Publishing Scotland's
publisher members on our website. Other publishers' associations
(Independent Publishers Guild, Publishers Association and ALPSP) have lists of their members on their
Before sending your manuscript find out if the publisher is
commissioning new work and whether they will look at unsolicited
material. Most publishers prefer a brief, businesslike letter
(detailing the book's potential readers, what it is about and what
is unique about it), a synopsis of its contents and a sample
chapter. Check whether this material is acceptable by e-mail as not
all publishers accept email submissions.
Many publishers prefer approaches to be made through literary
Check all these details first and you will save time and money.
Keep a copy of anything you send to publishers or agents, and
always enclose return postage.
Another option for getting published is self-publishing which
should not be confused with vanity publishing. With self-publishing
you can do it all by yourself or use a reputable self-publishing
company. There are advantages and disadvantages to self-publishing
but whatever route you take, research your market thoroughly.
Author Joanna Penn's website The Creative
Penn is a good source of information on self-publishing based
on her own experiences.
You can get more general advice on our Starting Up As A Publisher
A writer's advice to other writers
An essential for unpublished authors is a visit to author Nicola
Morgan's extremely useful blog/website for writers. Help I Need a Publisher
was set up in the hope that those who read it might be able to
approach agents and publishers with more likelihood of success.
Nicola's other website also provides advice and insight: see Nicola
Meeting up with other writers
Writing can be a solitary occupation but you can meet up with
other writers (and other book industry people) at one of Scotland's
literary salons. Details of the next salons are on their