Handheld Press really wants to hear from authors with ideas for books: please talk to us.
First, check what we do and don’t want to publish:
- We publish Classics: reprints of forgotten fiction with Introductions. Have an idea for a book (fiction or non-fiction) that’s fallen undeservedly out of print? Tell us!
- We publish Research: scholarship-based non-fiction that tells an amazing story.
- We publish Modern: fiction and non-fiction by living authors.
- We don’t publish children’s fiction or YA (too specialised a market for us).
- We like historical fiction without anachronism (and we are very picky about historicism).
- We love science fiction and fantasy, but we don’t like horror. We have very little interest in zombies or vampires (unless that’s just what those characters happen to be and the story focus is something else).
- We are open to being convinced that you could be the new Georgette Heyer.
- We are interested in literary fiction but usually find it too pompous.
- We are not interested in fiction focusing on a couple’s relationship and their dreary interiority.
- We are also interested in non-fiction, please send us some.
We are keen on storytelling: tell us a story, don’t paint word-pictures.
For authors with just an idea, not sure what to do about it
- Describe the book in no more than 50 words: what it’s about, who it’s for, why you want to write it.
- Email this to us at enquiries at handheldpress.co.uk.
- Tell us when you’re thinking of writing it.
For authors who know what your book is going to be about, send us an outline:
- one paragraph on the book’s subject
- one paragraph each on each chapter
- one paragraph on the readers you have in mind, and why they’re going to want to read your book
- one paragraph on why your book is better than anything else out there in the same line.
- one paragraph on the story / theme
- three sentences on the plot (they can be long), exciting bits, setting and characters
- one paragraph on all the categories and readerships that your book will fit into.
Don’t forget the title! And please send us one or more sample chapters, up to 3,000 words in length. They don’t have to be in a final, polished state, but if they are, let us know so we don’t get judgemental.
If you have a reprint in mind for the Handheld Classics, use this Handheld Classics proposal form (.docx format).
If you have a book in mind for Handheld Research, use this Handheld Research proposal form (.docx format).
If you have a book in mind for Handheld Modern, use this Handheld Modern proposal form (.docx format).
What happens next?
When your email and any attachments have been received, you’ll get an acknowledgement email within a few days. We hope to be able to read and send feedback and a decision within a month of this acknowledgement.
If you don’t receive an email, please remind us (politely). We will jump to it, and give you a fresh date by when you can expect your proposal and files to have been read and responded to. If delays coming up are foreseen (eg holidays, illness, pressure of work), we will post a note to this effect on the home page. Please check that page first.
Our decision is likely to be one of these:
- Thank you, but we do not wish to take this work further (and some reasons why).
- Thank you. While this work is not what we’re looking for right now, we like X, Y and Z about it / your writing very much, and would encourage you to send us further work for consideration.
- Thank you. We’d like to take this discussion further (and then the interesting bit begins).
Handheld Press are looking for full-length works to publish as print editions plus e-book editions in the first instance. The contract will list the final agreement, but in outline it is likely that the author will retain all copyright and receive royalties to a set amount for set amounts of sales, and the publisher will retain first-printing world exclusive English-language rights (including audio rights and e-book rights) for a set number of years. This outline is not binding, and is offered here as an indication of the publisher’s intentions for the works they will ask to publish.
The author can always refuse. But Handheld Press is not staffed by bloodsuckers and we want to publish wonderful books. Please work with us to this end.