Firstly, thank you for your interest in editing a book for us. As we are only a very small publisher, we do have certain requirements in order to make the most of our limited resources. Please read the points below before submitting a proposal.
The novel itself must be:
- out of copyright in the UK. This means that the author died at least 70 years ago. There are some Victorian Methuselahs who made it well into the 20th century, so please check before submitting a proposal. We’d love to publish George Egerton’s Keynotes, but the rights have been bought by another publisher.
- available electronically, ideally as both an OCR (plain text) and facsimile version. If it is on archive.org, then it’s usually fine. Alternatively, you could provide us with a clean electronic version of the text if you fancy transcribing it yourself. In order to make our titles affordable, we do not use agencies to reset the text for us.
- not published by anyone else in a scholarly edition. As the market is so small, we don’t want to compete with other publishers, especially Broadview or Oxford World’s Classics.
- of significant interest to the academic community. Our titles need to sell at least 600 copies in order to cover their costs, and this figure is difficult to achieve in the current economic climate, especially given the preponderance of facsimile editions from the British Library and Kessinger. Normally a title will sell well only if it is included on a reading list. We ask editors to confirm that there is at least one institution has agreed to teach the text in the following academic year.
- not too long! - this might sound daft, but literary behemoths are expensive to produce and difficult to sell. Anything over 500 pages is unlikely to be considered.
- not by George Gissing – we have nothing against him, but already have a few of his novels in the pipeline.
We ask that editors:
- have a PhD or equivalent professional experience. This might sound snotty, but we need to be sure that you are familiar with writing for an academic audience, and also that you have successfully completed a significant research project.
- can demonstrate a strong knowledge of both the text and the author. We cannot allocate a project to you.
Our editions normally comprise:
- 3,000 word introduction, arranged thematically.
- 1,000 word author biography, along with a timeline of key events in their life.
- explanatory footnotes, translating foreign phrases and explaining any concepts likely to be unfamiliar to the modern reader.
- contextual material for the appendices, such as contemporary reviews, extracts from the author’s other work, and documents relating to the novel’s themes. All such material must be out of copyright.
Now that we covered those points, there are benefits to editing a novel for us:
- It’ll look good on your CV.
- We can normally turn around novels within 4-6 months, so it doesn’t take long before you see your name in print.
- You’ll have the satisfaction of resurrecting a neglected novel and making it available to the academic community.
- You get a shiny copy of your own book.
- Editors enjoy working with us (at least, that’s what they say).
Unfortunately, in no circumstances can we pay editors. We don’t draw salaries ourselves and the small profits are all reinvested in the business to ensure that the books remain affordable.
Should we turn down your proposal, please don’t respond by telling us we are wrong. This makes it far less likely that we will consider future proposals from you. If you feel strongly about your idea then there are now many self-publishing avenues open to you.
If you have any queries on the above, please don’t hesitate to email us.