Rapid changes in publishing have created more opportunities, more decisions about what to do with your manuscript: self publish, send to an agent, send direct to a publisher? Start ups abound and it’s difficult to know who will survive and who will sink without a trace. How do you find a publisher who’s going to still be there for your second or third book? The short answer is you don’t know – no one does. Look at the big publishers who’ve merged recently and consider how many changes of editors and editing assistants this has meant to even established writers.
I’ve been looking around at smaller publishers, those who seem to be growing and thriving. Fledgling Press is an independent Edinburgh-based publisher that’s been around since 2000; they’ve been through the major shift to digital that the bigger publishers are still struggling to cope with and they’ve managed to adapt and evolve over the last decade. One of their debut titles last year was short-listed for the Saltire Society First Book of the Year, so they must be doing something right.
They continue to support new authors as their main mission. Here’s what they say:
We aim to be a flexible, exciting and innovative company, with a small but talented team working hard to deliver great new authors and equally exciting debut novels. Our continued hard work and efforts ensure we remain one of Edinburgh’s leading independent publishers. … We publish teen novels, fiction, crime fiction, biographies, poetry and short story collections. We now produce an eBook for every title we publish.
Right now they’re open to submissions from debut authors. Here’s what to do (once you’ve finished your manuscript and edited it until it sparkles) – remember, the key to success is to follow submission guidelines to the letter:
All authors are asked to send in a sample – 3 chapters and synopsis of your book, preferably by email, to submissions @ fledglingpress.co.uk. We aim to read initial submissions within 6 weeks of receiving them. If we like what we see, we will then ask to read your full manuscript. After reading your manuscript we will decide whether we place the book on our longlist for future publication. A position on our longlist is not necessarily a guarantee of publication. Should we decide not to take your manuscript any further we will always try to provide constructive feedback although we can’t always give you detailed reasons for our decisions. If we do wish to proceed with your work we will discuss fully our plans and timescales with you and at that point offer you a contract to publish. Please be aware that agreeing to read your initial submission or the full manuscript does not constitute an offer to publish. You can find out more about the publishing process here. At this time we are unable to accept any more poetry submissions.
Working towards the end of November, seeing the words mount up and the book take shape – or struggle to the finishing line – this kind of helpful and friendly-seeming open submission gladdens the heart. It’s like a ‘Welcome’ sign looming out of a wet, dark night when you’ve been on the road for six hours straight. You may not turn in, you may keep going and eventually choose a place with a bigger sign, but just seeing it up ahead, knowing it’s there makes all the difference to whether you keep going or give up.
I hope your Nanowrimo is still in full flow and the words are gushing out in a torrent of creativity.