Big Announcement: The Clarendon House Submissions Process

Writers want to get published. Ideally, they want to receive monetary reward for their work too.

I’ve been contemplating for some time how best to serve those needs.

Right now, Clarendon House anthologies accept submissions without cash payment to authors, but in return offer the opportunity for such submissions to be voted as ‘best in the anthology’ by readers — and a winning vote gets the author a book contract, a chance to publish their own book upon which royalties are paid.

Having a limited budget as an independent publisher, and no resources other than myself, some expertise and a laptop, that was the best I could come up with at the time to help writers get established and start a paying career. As far as I know, no other publisher in the world offers such an arrangement. And it’s been successful, with eight authors so far having received royalties on their own books after following this route.

But that pathway is still too narrow, I think. There needs to be a wider gateway to commercial returns, especially for new authors.

Over the last three years, since I started publishing anthologies and personal collections, I’ve received almost two thousand submissions of one kind or another, and I’ve been able to make observations about them ranging from their format to their subject matter to their overall shape. I have also observed what works and what doesn’t work in the world of marketing (and summarised those findings in an e-book). All of those observations add up to being able to make certain judgements about whether or not individual pieces of work are viable as publications. Viability is based on questions like

‘Does this work have an audience?’

‘What is the likely commercial size of that audience?’ and

‘Is there enough potential here to warrant the time and effort involved in publishing it?’

Whenever a writer submits a work to a publisher in the ordinary fashion, those are the kinds of question which are being asked. The technical accuracy of the writing and whether or not it’s a carefully crafted piece, whether or not it has some kind of ‘soul’ or life of its own, these all matter too — but from a publisher’s perspective, they often lead to more practical questions: is this going to be worthwhile comme