Macmillan New Writing
This interesting experiment in getting unpublished authors into print has been going for eighteen months now. Macmillan New Writing publishes one new book a month and is designed to provide unpublished writers with a route to publication in this era of inaccessible agents, and publishers not looking at their slush-piles. As the website says: ‘Macmillan New Writing is designed to give a voice to talented new novelists who might otherwise fail to get into print.’
How it works
The imprint breaks quite a few of the usual rules of publishing and there was something of a furore when it was first launched. Writers are not paid an advance, but receive a royalty of 20% of the price received, or net receipts, on sales of their books. This means that on a first novel sold at an average discount of 50% and priced at £14.99, you would get £1.50, so £150 in royalties for every 100 books sold – the approach is appealingly straightforward.
MNW stipulate that they contract for world rights on a 50/50 basis, so the author gets half of all subsidiary rights income. Authors signing up agree to give the publisher an option on their second book on the same terms, which may be irksome if you suddenly become a bestseller, but it’s more likely that you’d be happy to have your second book published at all.
Clearly what the imprint is hoping to do is to discover new writing talent which can be moved over to their mainstream Pan Macmillan lists. It’s too early to comment on this yet, but in April 2007 Pan announced a three-book deal with Brian McGilloway, an author who made his debut with Macmillan New Writing.
So, who is eligible and how do you send your manuscript in? They will only accept previously unpublished full-length adult novels of between 50,000 and 150,000 words and ask for them to be emailed to them. They must be in English, but writers from anywhere in the world can send in material.
If your manuscript is rejected you can’t re-submit it once you’ve done more work, so it’s worth getting it into good shape first and giving it its best chance. Make sure you look carefully at their submission guidelines, or you may be breaking them and ruling your book out of contention.
Once accepted onto the list, the book is treated like any other, ie it is copy edited, proof-read, has a cover designed and is then sold by the Pan Macmillan sales team and distributed in the usual way.
What are your chances?
With around 80 submissions a week and 7,000 manuscripts sent in to date, MNW is not short of material but is still looking for more good manuscripts.
Eliza Graham, an author who has put her work through our editorial services, has written about the positive experience of being published by the imprint. What they are offering is unique, and it’s well worth considering giving them a go. Where else can you send your novel with the certainty that it will be properly assessed and given a real chance of publication? It’s a golden opportunity to get into a programme which has been specifically designed to give unpublished authors a fighting chance of getting into print.
© Chris HolifieldManaging director of WritersServices; spent working life in publishing,employed by everything from global corporations to start-ups; track record includes: editorial director of Sphere Books, publishing director of The Bodley Head, publishing director for start-up of upmarket book club, The Softback Preview, editorial director of Britain’s biggest book club group, BCA, and, most recently, deputy MD and publisher of Cassell & Co. She is also currently the Director of the Poetry Book Society; During all of this time aware of problems faced by writers, as publishing changed from idiosyncratic cottage industry, 'occupation for gentlemen', into corporate business of today. Writers encountered increasing difficulty in getting books edited or published. Authors create the books which are the raw material for the whole business. She believes it is time to bring them back to centre stage. 2007
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