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Flur
06-25-2011, 08:51 PM
For one of my PB manuscripts, I'm considering going to local publishers as the story is more local interest. I was looking up submission guidelines for a University Press and now I'm more confused than ever.

They have "submission guidelines" and then "final manuscript submission guidelines" as well as an "Author and Manuscript Inquiry Form," which is similar to an application and includes questions to submit along with your general query. The thing is, most of the questions on the Inquiry Form aren't applicable to my manuscript and seem to apply more to scholarly texts and dissertations.

I see from the University's catalog that they have published a few children's books, so it's not as though they wouldn't consider my MS. It just looks as though their submission process is quite a bit different from querying agents and I'm not sure where to go from here.

Does anyone have experience with submitting MS to a University Press? Is there anything I need to know before considering the process? Am I missing something? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. :)

shaldna
06-25-2011, 09:18 PM
I would go with the submission guidelines and take it from there.

Puma
06-26-2011, 01:57 AM
Two of my Dad's novels were published by a university press. In both cases, it was direct contact with the director of the press rather than going through a submission process.

The downside of a university press from our experience is lack of marketing. They are geared towards academic manucsripts which don't get advertised the way commercial books do. On Dad's first book the marketing wasn't too bad, but on the second it was abysmal.

Before you submit, I'd do a lot of research on the press - even looking at the positions on their org chart can tell you something. There do seem to be some outstanding university presses that publish more regional material, but then there seem to be a bunch more of others that don't. Puma

Medievalist
06-26-2011, 03:51 AM
Does anyone have experience with submitting MS to a University Press? Is there anything I need to know before considering the process? Am I missing something? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. :)

It's quite a bit different; you may not get any advance. The contracts are a bit different as well; I wouldn't sign one without an expert--an experienced agent or an IP attorney with specific expertise in publishing--because they can be a bit quirky.

The MS. submission guidelines are for after the initial form-based query.

University presses are very much specialized towards scholarly books, and to a lesser extent scholarly editions of classic works, and then, sometimes new works of fiction or poetry--typically (but not exclusively) from faculty affiliated with the specific University.

shaldna
06-26-2011, 11:03 AM
The downside of a university press from our experience is lack of marketing. They are geared towards academic manucsripts which don't get advertised the way commercial books do.

Not necessarily. I don't know what it's like in the US, but several university presses here are very sucessful with fiction, with a strong presence and good marketing.

gothicangel
06-26-2011, 11:21 AM
Not necessarily. I don't know what it's like in the US, but several university presses here are very sucessful with fiction, with a strong presence and good marketing.

I was quite stunned recently to discover as I read Rosemary Sutcliff's books that they are published by Oxford University Press. I doubt that they would publish them if submitted to day, but stunned none of the less.

underthecity
06-27-2011, 09:26 PM
If your subject is of local or regional interest, then a university press might be a good choice--if other avenues have already been exhausted.

Regarding submitting, just follow their posted submission guidelines and disregard the other ones (final manuscript, etc) unless they direct you there.

In the past, I have submitted to university presses and I have spoken to other authors who have been published by them. There are a few issues to consider first, as others have pointed out.

Poor marketing. Or, in some cases, none.

Low advance, or none at all.

Sometimes a horrible cover, and/or inside layout.

Poor distribution.

Sometimes unusually higher cover price.

I've also been told by one author acquaintance that the university presses he had dealt with were just not that easy to work with.


Most university presses will consider their in-house professors first, so their subject matter can take precedence over what you've proposed. They might have no room in their catalog for two books with similar subjects.

Just food for thought.

Flur
06-27-2011, 10:16 PM
Thanks for the very helpful responses. The lack of marketing is what puts me off a bit, as well as the submission guidelines (they're brutal.) It's definitely regional interest but I may try querying agents first and see what the tone of the responses are--if I'm lucky enough to get any feedback at all.

Puma
06-27-2011, 10:37 PM
You might also look around for local presses that aren't associated with a university. There are a few of those. Puma

Medievalist
06-27-2011, 10:38 PM
You might also look around for local presses that aren't associated with a university. There are a few of those. Puma

I think this is excellent advice. Look for Regional/Local sections in local bookstores, and see who published those books.

IceCreamEmpress
06-27-2011, 11:21 PM
Not necessarily. I don't know what it's like in the US, but several university presses here are very sucessful with fiction, with a strong presence and good marketing.

Some of the larger university presses in the US publish new fiction, particularly fiction in translation or fiction with a particular market focus (GLBTQ fiction, fiction by people of particular racial/ethnic/national heritages, fiction on regional themes or by regional writers). Their bookstore presences vary--the University of Wisconsin Press GLBTQ titles, both non-fiction and fiction, are widely distributed (you can find some in big-city Barnes and Nobles, for instance), whereas something like the University of Arizona Press's very nicely produced fiction titles (which focus on Latino/a and Native writers) are something one needs to special order.

Flur
06-27-2011, 11:51 PM
You might also look around for local presses that aren't associated with a university. There are a few of those. Puma

I did this, which is how I came across the uni press. Unfortunately, everything else that was local was more of a publishing service/self publishing than a traditional press. The uni press is the only one I've found so far that operates like a traditional publisher that accepts my type of MS. There were one or two others but they don't publish children's books.

Flur
06-27-2011, 11:53 PM
Univ. of Arizona is the one I'm considering. :)

IceCreamEmpress
06-29-2011, 03:54 AM
My experience is that U of Arizona Press has magnificent production qualities but not the most aggressive distribution (though I have not published with them myself, one of my clients has, as has one of my friendquaintances).