You want to see your name in the big bright lights? You want the joy of that first copy of your first book coming into your mailbox some sunny April morning? You want to be feted at your first launch, with family and friends, zealous (or jealous?) fellow-authors milling around you (when all this becomes possible some day again!)?
What Not To Do
You want to submit your manuscript?
First of all, here’s a couple of examples of what not to do.
Christine from the South East sends us an unsolicited submission of a complete collection of short stories, telling us that she is ‘confident this collection will underpin her reputation in the Irish literary canon.’ Wow! I wish I had / had ever had that kind of self-confidence. I know I shouldn’t but for some inexplicable reason I take the time to read the stories, which I find rather disturbing and certainly not what Doire Press would be looking for. The rejection letter goes out and… we never hear a word from Christine from the South East again. Not a thank you for taking the time to read and consider my submission. Nichts! Niente! Nought!
Richard is an English teacher somewhere in Mayo, who writes short stories. His colleagues all love his writing and tell him so. Richard’s submission letter with a full unsolicited manuscript begins:
Not ‘Dear John,’ Not ‘Dear Lisa and John,’ Not ‘Dear Fellow-Earthling!’ He hasn’t a clue who we are but sends a full manuscript that ends up in the bin. A waste of postage, a waste of paper but I’m not going to waste my time again for an English teacher who doesn’t know how to write a letter, let alone a collection that wouldn’t sell to anyone other than his dear well-meaning colleagues.
‘Now that ain’t workin’. That’s the way you do it.
You play the guitar on the MTV.’
Want to know how it works with Doire Press? Read on at your peril!
How To Impress Us
We like to receive a query email or letter addressed to us personally, asking if we would be interested in receiving a submission. No unsolicited manuscripts of full and complete collections. We’ll let you know what to send next after we reply to your query.
The query email should let us know your publishing history, when, where and what you have already published in book form or in poetry/ fiction magazines or online publications. What competitions have you ever won or been shortlisted for? The more previous experience of publication you have had, the more interested we will be. Okay, having said that, we do specialise in debut authors but all these authors have done their apprenticeship, put in the time and the work they needed to get to the point where they know now they are ready.
Tell Us About Ourselves
We will also want to see that you know about the type of poetry / fiction we publish, so it is clear to us that we are not just a random item on your list of publishers, but that you are familiar with Doire Press and our authors. How many Doire Press authors / books have you read? Why do you see yourself in there with them?
Then it helps if you can answer the question: why Doire Press? What makes us the right Press for you? That’s not an easy one to answer, but we are always interested in what people come up with. We’re a small press publishing max. six titles a year––and the plan is to stay small–– so obviously we’re going to be saying No more often that we say Yes. That’s the harsh reality you’re looking at. So don’t fire off that query email without considering carefully what your chances could be. In most cases you’ve got ONE shot with any publisher.
Let’s Talk A Little Bit About REJECTION.
As writers ourselves we know all about this. And it’s always tough for all of us. We hate rejecting authors, but once again the harsh reality is that it is part of what we have to do. Didn’t want it to be that way but… The more submissions we get, especially from writers who are definitely not suitable for us, the more rejections we will have to send out. The math is simple.
Please don’t set yourself up for rejection. Give yourself time. Hone your craft, get feedback from as many of your peers and fellow-writers as possible, establish your reputation. And when the time comes and you know you are ready and that Doire Press is the Press for you, we will be glad to receive your query email or letter.