Duckworth Books: Now Accepting Manuscript Submissions

Written by Emily Harstone

Emily Harstone’s author’s note: My copy editor brought Virginia Woolf’s personal history to my attention after the review was written. I am very grateful for S’s diligent work, now and always. I went back and forth on publishing this review at all, and it is likely the only review I will ever publish that is accompanied by a trigger warning for childhood sexual abuse.

Duckworth Books was started in 1898, is one of Britain’s oldest independent presses, and it has published many well-known and influential authors over the years.

They have one of the most in-depth histories of a publishing company that I have ever seen online, and you can access it here. In the history section they focus on the fact that Gerald Duckworth, Virginia Woolf’s half-brother, started Duckworth Books, and that he published her first two books. They do not mention that Gerald Duckworth sexually abused Virginia Woolf as a child. It strikes me as odd that not only they’ve not changed their name, but more importantly, they erase this publicly known history, while emphasizing Gerald Duckworth’s familial relationship with Virginia Woolf.

They have good distribution, and for the most part, excellent covers. Their website is polished and professional. They accept only a very small percentage of the submissions they receive.

Their areas of current focus are memoir, biography, popular science, psychology, history and historical fiction. They are only accepting work that falls clearly into one of these categories. 

If you are considering submitting, I would encourage you to spend some time scanning their main page, which lists recently published books. Only submit work to them if you feel like your manuscript is a good fit.

In order to submit, please include a one-page synopsis of the manuscript highlighting the main storyline, key selling points, and how the book fills gaps in the market, or compliments books already on the market.

Also include two to three sample chapters, or the completed manuscript. Make sure to include your CV, outlining any books published, awards, or writing experience.

To submit, please visit their submission guidelines here.

Emily Harstone is the author of many popular books, including The Authors Publish Guide to Manuscript SubmissionsSubmit, Publish, Repeat, and The 2020 Guide to Manuscript Publishers.

She regularly teaches three acclaimed courses on writing and publishing at The Writer’s Workshop at Authors Publish. You can follow her on Facebook here.


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