- July 2, 2013 -
We’re always on the hunt for brilliant new writers.
We’re always looking for exceptional new works of fiction: if you’re an exceptional writer, we’re looking for you.
If you’re a person of colour, we’re particularly looking for you. If you identify in any way with a group that has been under-represented in literature, we’re looking for you.
In fact, all you need to be published by Tramp Press is 1) be an exceptional writer! And 2) follow the submission guidelines. Then email us at email@example.com (please don’t send to any other address as we can’t guarantee it’ll be logged and read).
We have an open submissions policy, which means you can submit whenever you like – you don’t have to email us first to ask, just fire away as per the instructions below. You don’t have to be Irish – in fact you don’t have to be anything at all, except great at writing.
Now for the bad news: unfortunately it’s very likely that we won’t publish your work. Like most presses, we turn down the vast majority of submissions sent to us by writers and agents, and with just a couple of new books a year, we are ridiculously picky.
We try to be as upfront as possible in who we are and our publishing viewpoint: with that in mind if you address us as ‘Dear Sirs’, or list only male influences, we will decline to consider your work. For more information on sexism in publishing, please refer to Anne Enright’s article in the London Review of Books.
If however you read women and don’t assume that the only people qualified to read your work are men (you’d be amazed at how often we get this), we promise to acknowledge receipt of your manuscript, and to get back to you on your work as soon as possible. In about 90% of cases we’ll get back to you within a month.
Thanks and we look forward to reading your work!
Sarah & Lisa
To submit your work, please send the following to us at firstname.lastname@example.org:
Sample: We’d like to see a good-sized sample of your work (fiction only, please! We aren’t currently accepting any poetry, children’s, or non-fiction such as memoirs or histories) in a Word doc or PDF. Please send a few chapters (they do not have to be sequential – we want you to wow us, and if the big wow happens in Chapter 4, then by all means send that on to us), or a few short stories. If you don’t have chapters or your short stories vary a lot in length, a good rule of thumb is that we’d like to read roughly 50 pages or 10,000 words.
Cover letter: Tell us a little bit about yourself, your writing experience and your influences. We love to hear about why you think your work would be a good match for us.
Synopsis: A page would be fine – three pages, also fine. We’d like to hear the full story from beginning to end, please don’t hold back on spoilers!
Q: What format do you prefer to read in?
We don’t really mind, anything that is readable is good for us! Times New Roman in font size 12, double-spaced, with page numbers, would be perfect. We’ll read anything as long as it isn’t in Comic Sans or Wingdings. Send it in a Word doc or PDF – no links to ebooks please!
Q: Should I just send my work to you, and wait for a reply before sending it to other publishers or agents?
We recommend that you send out your work not just to us, but to a lot of other publishers and agents too – in fact we recommend that you build up a long list of publishers (or agents) who might be interested in your work, and that you read this article: https://lithub.com/why-you-should-aim-for-100-rejections-a-year/
Q: I’d rather send a printed-out manuscript to your postal address. How can I do that?
We’re on the move all the time, and we receive a lot of submissions, so even though like most people we prefer to read things on actual paper, it’s just not practical to accept manuscripts by post. Email only, please!
Q: I’d rather phone you to pitch my novel, what’s your number?
While a phone call can often be a great way to sound out whether a non-fiction project is worth pursuing, it’s not a good approach for fiction publishing. We need to see the quality of the writing before anything else. Email only, please!
Q: Should these all be attached as one document?
We don’t mind at all whether the sample, synopsis and cover letter are all attached to your email or whether they’re copy-and-pasted into the email itself – do whatever suits you best.
Q: Will you really read my manuscript? How much of it will you read?
Yes. We absolutely read everything that is sent to us: we know there are exceptionally talented writers out there, and reading work is one of our favourite parts of the job. We’ll read manuscripts until we have made a decision about it, one way or the other.
Q: Will you be able to provide feedback about my work?
We currently get maybe 20 submissions a day, so we can’t write up a critique for everyone. If you want feedback, ask a trusted friend or family member, or join a writing group – in fact, we as publishers shouldn’t be the first people other than you to read your work. Productive criticism is a great way to edit your work and improve your skills, so try to find people that you’ll enjoy working with!
Q: Do you publish work from writers outside of Ireland?
Absolutely! As you’ll see from our list we’ve published writers from the UK, America, Nigeria, Finland and elsewhere, and we’re delighted to read work from writers all over the world.
Q: Do you publish work in translation?
Yes. We are also interested in bringing excellent works of fiction in translation to our readers. Please send a sample to email@example.com with a note about the work, i.e. a synopsis or other similar outline.
Q: Are you accepting pitches for Recovered Voices?
Not right now. As we only publish one a year, forward-planning means we’ve usually decided two years ahead. We’re very grateful to people for getting in touch about books they love that deserve another look, and we love to hear your suggestions, but please note: we now have titles planned up to 2021 and won’t consider more for the list for the time being.
Q: You’re not going to reject my work just because I don’t read books by women, are you?
Not directly because of that, but because writers who don’t read widely usually don’t write well. Brilliant writers are great readers, and great readers are diverse readers – make a list of what you’re reading and if you notice patterns (like all the authors are dead white males, for example), chase down some diversity!
Q: Should I try to make my manuscript look like a finished book?
Please don’t feel like you have to include a title page, dedication, acknowledgments, etc. We’d love to open your MS and get straight into the text, so if you really want to include those things, pop them at the end of the document, please.
Q: What are the reasons you turn manuscripts down?
The only thing we really turn down work for is not being brilliant enough to keep us awake at night. But here are some things that quite a lot of the manuscripts we reject have in common:
- ‘Is my work too edgy for you?’ If you have been told your work is edgy by another publisher, that usually means it’s just heavy-handed. We don’t mind provocative, interesting work, but it still has to be well-written.
- The draft is too rough. We often see promising work, but in such an early stage that it’s too difficult to know if an edit will help.
- Unconvincing dialogue/inaccurate slang or dialect.
- If, when you list your influences, you cannot name a single female author who has made an impact on your work or inspired you on some level, we won’t turn you down for that, but it’s not likely that we’re a good ideological match. We’d urge you to read more widely.
Here’s what we won’t turn you down for:
- We’ll never turn you down for not being ‘commercial’ enough. It’s your job to write exceptional fiction, and our job to sell it.
- We’ll never turn you down for not being active enough on social media.
We’re looking for unique voices, and for brilliance, and that’s all we’re looking for.
Q: Should I address my manuscript to you as ‘Dear Sirs’?
A: Uhm, no! And it is frankly insulting to presume the only people who are qualified to make decisions about your work are men. Helpful hint: we are not men, and you can read more about who’ll be reading and discussing your work here. Words are power, use them carefully.
If you’d like more information and opinions on the submissions process, we recommend the following articles:
Send your submissions to this address only: firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, if we can answer questions for you, please email us at email@example.com, but check out this Twitter thread first, as it covers some more questions that come up: Why We Have Guidelines.
When you submit your manuscript to Tramp Press, we note your name and contact information in order to confirm receipt and to allow for follow-up about your work. We do not share this information with any third parties.