Submissions: General Guidance

Our publishing programme is currently set for the next 18 months so we are NOT currently taking unsolicited submissions for single author collections. However, we occasionally publish project briefs and call-outs for writers on the 'Resources' section of our website, and also run an annual prize called The Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction. Submission details to this can be found here. This prize is the foremost place where we find 'new talent'. So if you want to bring your work to our attention, please consider entering a story. It's free to enter and aimed specifically at previously unpublished writers.

To keep up to date with publishing opportunities and call-outs, please sign up to our newsletter, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you are a writer interested in developing your skills further, we suggest you consider one of our short story courses, which take place in towns and cities across the UK throughout the year. We also occasionally find and commission new writers from these courses. All participants also have the opportunity to publish their finished story in eBook form at the end of each course, once they're happy with it. If you are looking to work with other publishers and agents (in any literary genre), do join us at the annual Creative Writing Industry Day hosted by Comma and MMU in Manchester every November.

We are also keen to hear from translators about short story writers and collections that have achieved recognition in different languages. As a principle, Comma will look to prioritise translations from smaller, regional and minority languages. Please bear in mind that we only generally consider books for which we could acquire world rights. If you are submitting as a translator, you will find useful tips in translator Ros Schwartz’s guidelines on submitting a book proposal to publishers. If you have further questions, please email: sarah.cleave@commapress.co.uk

Here are some useful guidelines for submitting stories to our anthologies, and in general:

1. Comma Press is first and foremost a publisher of short stories. We do not publish microfiction or novellas. 

Before submitting, we strongly recommend that you read some of our books in order to familiarise yourself with our publishing programme. You might start with David ConstantineJane Rogers or Adam Marek, who all have very different approaches to the short story form.***

2. We can only respond to proposals we wish to pursue. If we want to consider your work further, you should hear from us within twelve weeks of submitting your work. Unfortunately we cannot offer feedback on unsuccessful submissions, and cannot return any printed material sent to us therefore please do not send original material or complete manuscripts unless requested to do so.

For authors who are not successful with us but keen to develop, we recommend that you visit the Writers’ and Artists’ website to find out more about getting published.

3. If you are submitting to one of our new writer showcases, we ask that the stories are unpublished, or under consideration with, any other publisher. These anthologies are aimed at showcasing new writers exclusively. By ‘new writers’ we mean those who haven't had a full body of prose previously published (i.e. a novel or a collection of short stories). Contributors must be from the UK or presently based in the UK. Potential contributors are advised to read previous anthologies in the series (BracketParenthesis or Brace)

4. Comma will not publish anything that could be deemed libellous in character, or offensive to any individual or group of individuals. Any material that could be regarded as racist, blasphemous, offensive to minorities or any specific groups or communities, will not be considered. Comma also reserves the right to refuse to publish a piece of work if it contains copyrighted material (song lyrics, long quotations from other works, etc.) for which permission/re-use rights have to be sought.

Finally, for more in-depth advice from our Publisher about what we are (and aren't) looking for in a short story, CLICK HERE.

*** If you would like to find out more about what makes a good short story, then we suggest that you watch our video lectures on short story pioneers.

Updated 16/11/2018