We welcome submissions, but we are a small press publishing no more than 12 titles a year, and often working at full capacity, so we are only able to accept a very small proportion of the scripts we receive.
All submissions are evaluated by an editorial committee, and are assessed solely on their merit and suitability for our list. We are absolutely flooded with fiction submissions, most of which don’t fall within the guidelines given here. Please have a look at the kind of work we do and consider whether your work fits our remit before submitting to us. Prospective authors should be aware that we don’t have the resources for major advertising and marketing campaigns, and we trade on a more modest principle: our reputation for quality of production and content. Many first-time authors have unrealistic expectations about their sales potential – if you’re looking to be a famous bestselling author you might want to try elsewhere. Our royalty rate is pretty decent but please note we can’t pay advances.
Our purpose is to support and nurture good writing. We are not looking for commercial or mainstream work, nor do we want clones of bestsellers. We’re seeking quality literature – imaginative and intelligent writing which has a special spark – and sane occultism in our esoteric list – good, responsible writing that adds something new to the topic.
We’re especially keen to support and encourage British writers. The small press scene in Britain is very much smaller than that in the US, and we feel that providing opportunities for UK writers is where our resources are most needed.
Email submissions are strongly preferred; physical scripts may not be read. Please submit sample chapters or complete scripts to Daniel Staniforth for consideration by our editorial team. If you want to tell us a little bit about yourself that’s great; we don’t need a full CV or a marketing pitch. Decisions are made solely on the merits of the script in hand, and creative writing qualifications are, unfortunately, no indication whatsoever of writing ability.
While we welcome submissions from agents, we should make clear that you don’t need an agent in order to submit to us, and neither are agented authors treated with priority. There are very few agents operating within our areas of specialisation, and so only a tiny handful of our current authors have them. We sometimes get scripts from fake agents – writers or their friends posing as agents in the belief that it will make us take their work more seriously. Please, save yourself the bother. It doesn’t fool us and we’d much rather you were honest with us.
Submissions received as part of a mass-mailing will be regarded as spam, including those that come from so-called submission services. Though of course the kind of people who submit their work carelessly are unlikely to be reading these guidelines anyway. Ho hum.
Ready to submit?
Please email your file to:
Daniel Staniforth, Submissions Editor
We publish ...
• Serious esoteric and occult books with a focus towards the Western Esoteric Tradition, Faery, Arthurian/Grail traditions, ancient sites, paganism and ritual magic.
• Imaginatively written literary fiction. We also consider exceptionally interesting literary analysis, including studies and translations of medieval literature.
• Non-fiction including works of historic interest, and serious horticulture books with an emphasis on ecological and sustainable gardening, which should be innovative and inspiring.
We are not currently accepting poetry scripts.
We DON’T publish ...
• Mainstream fiction, genre fiction (thrillers, sci-fi, fantasy etc), children’s books, or trendy poetry.
• Popular mind body & spirit, new age, conspiracy theory or self-help books.
• Mainstream gardening books or coffee table books.
We aren’t looking for stories of childhood abuse, murder mystery, dodgy cops, mental breakdowns or exploding spaceships, unless you really feel you’ve got a new and original way of approaching these topics.
We only publish full-length scripts, not chapbooks or flash fiction. Fiction should ideally be between 40,000 and 90,000 words. We are unlikely to accept novels longer than that as it’s not economically viable for a small publisher to produce them.
We sometimes, at our discretion, issue our titles as ebooks as well as printed editions (usually a short while after publication), but our core activity is very much within the printed book trade (don’t believe what you read about the death of the printed book – we think they have a strong future).
It’s our general policy to use British English in all our books.
There are many positive things about publishing with Skylight: we are independent, self-sufficient, solvent and thriving. We don’t depend on any outside grants or subsidies. We have a different ethos from most big publishers and our support of quality writing goes beyond simple profit factors. We’re not afraid to take on low-selling titles if we feel they deserve to be given a chance; the books that are profitable help to pay for the ones that aren’t.
We have UK, US and Australian distribution which ensures that our titles are listed on all the major online retail sites in those countries, and available to bookshops and libraries worldwide. All of our esoteric titles are stocked by the Atlantis Bookshop, Treadwell's and Watkins in London.
We do all the design, editing and proof-reading work ourselves, and regret we can’t offer any opportunities for freelance or placement work at the moment.