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We publish realistic LDS novels for adult readers.

Psalm & Selah cover of Bound on Earth cover of Coming of Elijah cover of In a Dry Land

Submission Guidelines

We’re looking primarily for realistic LDS novels for adult readers (80,000+ words).  We’re less interested in historical fiction, magic realism, fantasy, or science fiction, but we’d be fools to turn down an LDS Garcia-Marquez, Atwood, or Vonnegut.

Maybe someday we’ll be able to attract an audience for LDS Miltons and Shakespeares, but for the time being, we’d be overjoyed to find an LDS Cather, O’Connor, Bellow, or Potok, because those are the writers we and the people we know like to read.  We’re looking for prose, but we appreciate graceful style and poetic imagery.  We’re not averse to “inspirational” stories, but we’re tired of conversion stories and pat, happy-ever-after romances.  Mitford was charming; but The Ladies Auxiliary made us think.  We’re looking for stories of real life conflicts and struggles—including crises of faith.  We’re also not afraid of damaged or even psychotic characters faced with trying situations and difficult decisions.  We understand that in real life, things seldom turn out well for people who make poor decisions, but tragedy, too, has its fascinations and can be “inspirational” in its own way.  We agree with Kafka, who said, “We read stories that wound and stab us.  The purpose of a story is to be an axe that breaks up the ice within us.”  At the same time, we’re convinced that, for our audience, these wrenching stories must be told without resorting to crude language, excessive onstage violence, or explicit sexual descriptions.  Also avoid any direct reference to the wording of the temple ordinances.

We prefer submissions under 100,000 words.  The longer a book is, the more expensive it is to produce, so it has to be that much better to warrant the added risk.  Send an email with a one- sentence synopsis, a one-page outline, and a sample chapter (or two or three) in the body of the email, with the entire text as an attachment.  Word, WordPerfect, Rich Text Format, ASCII, or PDF documents are fine.  We even read CP/M.  Don’t try to wow us with your academic credentials and previous publications or with endorsements from people you think we should respect.  Let the work speak for itself.  If you prefer to correspond by mail, send your synopsis and outline first, with SASE, and we’ll ask for sample chapters or the whole manuscript if we’re intrigued.  Simultaneous and multiple submissions are okay, but NO unfinished manuscripts or works in progress.  We’ll try to respond to all correspondence within a month. 

FAQ

How much will I be paid?

Basically ten percent in royalties.  This percentage is figured on the amount the book sells for, namely the wholesale price if the book is sold to a bookstore or distributor, or the retail price if the book is sold directly to the consumer.  We do not yet offer an advance against royalties. You’ll receive 50% of any subsidiary rights sales we make (book club, audio, movies, excerpts in magazines, etc.).  You’ll also receive five free authors copies.  And you’ll be able to buy as many additional copies as you want for resale at the standard discount rate offered to retailers (1 copy - 40% off, 2-5 copies - 41% off, 6-10 copies - 43% off, 11-50 copies - 45% off, over 50 copies - 47% off).  Naturally you’ll still get royalties on these purchases.

When will I get my money?

Royalties will be paid twice a year, at the end of June and January, thirty days after the close of the royalty period.  We will not withhold a percentage of royalties in anticipation of receiving unsold books back from stores.  Returns (if there are any) will be deducted from subsequent statements.

What rights will I have to give up?

We’ll purchase all rights, but these rights will revert back to you (upon request) if sales dip below five copies per year.  This is in lieu of the usual practice of reversion when a book is declared out of print, since technically, a book is never out of print with print-on-demand technology.  You will not, however, be asked to give us a “right of first refusal” on your next book, as some publishers demand.  If you sell your next book to Random House, we’ll be happy to say we knew you when.

What will my book look like?

You may make design suggestions, but ultimately we’ll select the cover art (four color) and graphic design and present the package to you for approval.  We feel no author should be saddled with a cover he’s unhappy with; we’ll eventually come to an agreement.  Most books will be issued as a trade paperback and ebook simultaneously.  We’ll try to remain as competitive as possible, in pricing the paperback.  A three-hundred-page, 130,000-word book, for instance, should sell for $14.95.

Will I have any say in the editing?

In most cases, we’ll expect you to conform to Chicago style.  The Church also issues a style book (Distribution #31107) that’s very helpful.  But exceptions can be made in punctuation (à la Cormac McCarthy) and especially in tone within dialogue or for a first-person narrator, as long as the text is consistent.  However, gross violations of what we feel is in good taste could be a deal breaker.  We may also want to discuss your choice of title, which is probably the single most important marketing tool you have.

How much marketing will you do?

We’ll send out a minimum of twenty-five review copies.  If we receive favorable pre-publication comments, we’ll incorporate those in back-of-the book blurbs.  We’ll also post any favorable reviews on our own website and in other online venues.  If you have suggestions for more media outlets, we’d be happy to hear about them.  We will likely not be paying for media ads, except in Books and Things.  We’ll make a concerted effort to place your book with LDS distributors and bookstores, but these outlets sometimes reject books with realistic content, and their decision regarding your particular title is totally out of our hands.  If you’re willing to make author appearances, we’ll try to arrange for book signings and publicity at stores and libraries.  We can not, however, pay for travel expenses.  Simply having an ISBN number gets your book listed in Books in Print, making it available as a special order item through any brick-and-mortar or online bookstore.  And since your book will be printed by Lightning Source Inc. (LSI), it will automatically be listed with a one-hundred-copy virtual inventory by Ingram Book Company, the largest U.S. book distributor, making it even more readily available to stores and libraries.  We’ll also make selections of your book searchable through Google.  If your book lends itself to special marketing strategies, we’ll work with you to help you reach your audience.  Once we’ve chosen to publish your book, we have a vested interest in seeing to it that you sell as many copies as possible.  This is not a vanity press.

Do I need an agent?

No, but if you have one, we’ll work together.  If you don’t, you might want to have a lawyer look over your contract.  We feel we’re being fair, but it’s your future.  You should be comfortable with the financial decisions you make.

Does print-on-demand cause a delay in delivery?

Not with LSI.  Print orders (even orders of more than a hundred copies) typically ship within two days via UPS, and ebooks are sent within hours.

Is the print quality of print-on-demand noticably inferior to traditional offset printing?

Not with LSI, although a cover with a precision border isn’t a good idea, because it requires hand triming.

How long will the publishing process take?

Usually under a year.  Perhaps as little as six months after acceptance. Much depends on how much work is involved to get it ready for press (editing, revisions, etc).

Do I need to file for copyright before submitting?

No.  But you can if you want to.  We’ll file for copyright in your name in any event.

Is there a special format for submissions?

No.  We’re more interested in content than in manuscript format, but we do have a prejudice against poor spelling and grammar.  If two stories are equally worthwhile, but one is riddled with typos and errors, we find it hard to stay focused on the story and not opt for the one that’ll require less editorial work on our part.  We’re only human.