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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.

Why publish?

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.

Do your research

The most important starting point is to find publishing companies who specialise in the type of work you have written and/or with whom your book would be a good fit. Research publishers online (including their social media), 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 websites.


Before sending your manuscript find out if the publisher is commissioning new work and whether they will look at unsolicited material. If they do accept unsolicited material, check if they ask for a particular format eg they may specify a brief covering letter (mention 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.

Some publishers do not accept unsolicited material at all. They work with literary agents.

Check all these details first and you will save time and money. Keep a copy of anything you send to publishers or agents.