Please note: addresses here are for post only, and not appointments. Definitely do not just turn up at the office with your manuscript, or to enquire about progress on your submission, or anything else, or we will just stare at you.
Additionally, we do not take any phone calls, unless by prior arrangement. Please email in the first instance with all enquiries.
So, you’ve decided to submit your manuscript to Snowbooks. Yay! At this point, you’ve finished writing your novel and have done your best to polish and edit it. We’re not expecting you to have hired a professional editor, of course. And the MS will go through several stages of editing if we decide to publish it, but you shouldn’t be sending anybody your MS if the last thing you did was type ‘The End’ and then save it. We know as well as anybody that typos happen, but if your writing is riddled with them, it shows that you don’t care very much about A) your MS and B) our time.
Since your writing is now the best you can make it, you’ve submitted your book to us. We’re excited! You’re excited! Maybe this is the start of a wonderful partnership!
If you’ve done everything right, it could take many months to hear back from us. Sorry. Reading takes ages, though. If you receive a rejection, it’s going to be a short note, and it’s going to sound like a form rejection. That’s because it is. Sorry. We wrote our Open Rejection Letter to cover the many reasons we reject manuscripts, so I hope that’ll give you some insight into why we’re not publishing your novel. It’s important to stress that even though we didn’t love your writing (or feel like we could sell it), it’s really likely that somebody else will. We’ve gotten several replies to rejections, letting us know that another publisher has signed the book. That’s wonderful! We love hearing that. Anyway, our rejections are short and sweet. We understand the desire to know WHY we’ve rejected your MS in particular, but if we have something to elaborate on, we’ll include that in the original response.
But — joy of joys! — if we write back to say we adored your novel and we’d love to publish it and would you still like to work with us despite us taking so long to read it, that’s when the real fun begins. We’ll send you an author pack (which goes into more detail about our publishing process) and a sample contract for you to peruse and have vetted by whomever you like (we recommend the Society of Authors).
Once a contract is signed, we begin the editing process and design a cover and start pulling together all the information we’ll need to make your book a success. I think it’s helpful to mention right now — while you’re still considering whether Snowbooks is a good match for you — that we are retailer focussed, not media focussed. Our business model is based on our knowledge of how retail works. We believe that most readers buy books because of their experience browsing in-store or online, based on cover design, price, and the quality of the first few words that they read when flicking through the book. They also buy what their friends recommend – but they don't buy (in their masses) based on reviews in the media. The most important thing is to get the book in front of readers, hence the importance we place on making life as easy as possible for our retail, wholesale and online customers, focussing on providing excellent and timely metadata and playing by their timing and pricing rules.
We want to be clever about how we spend our time and money. For example, we would rather focus on doing all we can to get the big retailers to support your book than engaging in time-consuming and expensive author tours, signings and events that have no guarantee of generating sales. Author tours and readings eat up a lot of time and money, but we haven’t seen much evidence that they sell books. In most cases, we don’t arrange those kinds of events.
We want to stick to our values, which are to be nice to people, to be proud of what we do, to be successful and to do things properly. We want to work with people who share these values.
And finally, it's important to say that the vast majority of our books produce 6 monthly royalty statements of under £50. It is really, really unlikely that being published with Snowbooks is going to make you rich – or even solvent. Do not give up the day job, and do not seek publication with us if it's just for the money, because there probably won't be much at all. Also, we don't pay advances. But we have got our books discussed on national radio, in national papers, and we found and published debut authors who have gone on to be published by much larger and better resourced publishers (Paula Brackston, George Mann, Mark Hodder, Leila Johnston, James Brogden, Matthew De Abaitua and more found their first home at Snowbooks) and have won numerous prizes. So be aware that being published by Snowbooks might be more of a launchpad than a retirement plan. We have been in business since 2003 only because we trim costs right to the bone. Such is independent publishing (or our experience of it, at least).
If this makes sense, you’re probably the right sort of author for us. So get that submission off to us today...
Snowbooks has always welcomed unsolicited manuscripts straight from authors. Some of our favourite novels (not that we play favourites!) came to us from new, unknown authors who were just hoping somebody would take the time to look at their writing. So, yes, we welcome submissions with open arms!
We’ll get into more of the details in a second, but here are some basics to be aware of if you’re considering sending us your manuscript:
— We accept submissions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org only. We do not accept hard copies in any form; they will be recycled. We no longer use the Submittable platform to accept submissions. If you have already submitted via Submittable, and have not heard back from us, your submission is still in progress. Please do not resubmit.
— We are looking at genre fiction only. This means horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. Please don't be one of the many authors who email asking if we accept other genres, because we don't.
— We read finished novels (at least 70k words or more, ideally 80k or more) only. Being ready to submit means having finished writing and polishing your MS. You will notice that Snowbooks also publishes short story anthologies. If you want to make a proposal as an editor of such a collection, please email email@example.com with your proposal, without attaching any work.
— We do not require your submission to be exclusive.
– You don't have to, but we're going to spend time reading your work and so it would be appreciated if you'd read some of ours. This is a good one.
You must include the following information, with the following headings, in the body of the email not an attachment, or your submission cannot be read. This information is just as important as the manuscript. Publishing is not a meritocracy and marketing is as important as the quality of the writing.
– Title of the book
– Author name, as it should be printed (your pen name or real name)
– Word count
– Main genre. Please do not say "crossover" or "appeals to all". It should be one of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. For extra points, you could use the Thema code!
– Cover letter. Please keep it under 600 words and paste it into the body of the email rather than as an attachment.
– Author bio, as it would be printed in the book. This is important. Authors with a persona and a willingness to promote themselves sell more books, and we are shamelessly keen on selling more books. Sadly, publishing is not a meritocracy and just because your writing is as good as Philip Pullman's doesn't mean it'll sell.
– Blurb, as it would be printed on the back of the book. This is the bit we'll read first.
– Your website. Yes, you should have one.
– Your Twitter handle.
– Other social media handles and links.
– Selling points. Why should retailers choose to stock your book rather than the other 150,000 that are published each year in the UK, not to mention a backlist going back hundreds of years?
– First page. Please copy and paste the first page of your manuscript into the body of the email, up to 2000 words. Yep: we'll only download the attachment if we like what we read here. We're looking for polished punctuation and grammar, too.
– Attach the full manuscript to the email. It can be any format, and we don't care about spacing, font, running headers -- just the words. We went through a phase of trying to get authors to understand the importance of using paragraph and character styles, rather than local formatting, but it was like pulling teeth, so we gave up.
If all of that is a bit onerous, then that's a good hint that you need to consider whether traditional publishing is for you, because there'll be more of this sort of marketing copy to be written as you go. Thanks, though, for making the effort, and I hope it'll be useful in making other submissions, too.