Austin Macauley is one of the few publishing houses which still operates a fully open submissions policy, welcoming unsolicited work from any and all writers. This traditional approach has become a rarity among most publishers and agents.
Publishers, once seen as the ‘gate-keepers’ of the book world who maintained the standard of what the public read, now often limit themselves to a very narrow selection of books. For a long time unsolicited manuscripts have tended to languish unread on so-called ‘slush piles’, and now most publishers simply refuse to accept them at all.
At the same time any sense of literary ‘standards’ has been comprehensively blown away by the rise of self-publishing, where anyone with a computer, a word-processing program and an internet connection can be a printed author in a matter of days and an eBook author in a matter of minutes. Naturally, this free-for-all has led to a decline in overall quality, in terms both of the appearance of the books and of the text they contain. Without a concerted marketing strategy, which most self-published authors have neither the expertise nor the resources to generate, these books are more than likely to be lost in the crowd.
Austin Macauley has chosen a middle way between these two methods by giving every writer the chance to have their work evaluated. We operate a two-stage selection process, starting first by viewing sample material, selecting the best and brightest submissions and then assessing the chosen writers’ complete manuscripts in greater detail. (Please see more about our submission process here.) This puts the emphasis back on talent, and allows unknown – or forgotten – writers the opportunity to have their books edited and designed at the highest level. Our marketing department will then deliver a fully integrated campaign tailored to each book.
In order to achieve this, Austin Macauley operates a model called ‘hybrid publishing’. This offers two kinds of contract: non-contributory (traditional) contracts and ‘partnership’ agreements. Initially, our editors look at every new manuscript with a view to offering a traditional publishing deal. It is only when our editors have reviewed the work thoroughly that will we be able to decide which avenue would be most suitable for each individual book. A partnership agreement entails the same benefits as a traditional agreement; however, as the writer you may be asked to cover a small proportion of the cost of publishing the book. Needless to say, whatever the type of contract offered, all our books receive the same high standard of promotion and marketing.
We are proud to have offered many first time authors the best possible start on their new career in the writing business. The proof is on our authors’ page where you will see not only new authors, but those who have returned to publish with us again and again. Our open submissions policy means that we can publish a broad range of books from a diverse set of authors, making our list of titles a colourful and unrestrained range of high quality fiction and non-fiction.