Written by Emily Harstone April 25th, 2024

Moving Away From the Weekly Publication of Manuscript Publisher Reviews

For almost a decade, Authors Publish has reviewed one manuscript publisher a week. Occasionally it will be update on an older publisher that has now drastically changed their focus, or a new imprint of an established press, but the vast majority of the time it is a brand new press.

I spend a lot of time researching publishers, over an hour minimum, and putting together reviews. I’m not planning on stopping these practices, but we are planning to stop publishing them on a weekly basis through Authors Publish.

The reasons for this are threefold:

We have a lot more subscribers than we did when we starting out.

When we started out, our reviews made little impact on the number of manuscripts a publisher received. Over the years as our readership has grown, the submission influx from a review has grown truly massive. Some publishers don’t mind this, but for a lot of them this is overwhelming.

Many of our subscribers mass submit to the publishers we review.

You can read one of our articles on what mass submitting is and why it a problem here, but it basically boils down to this: Publishers receiving tons of submissions of work they would never ever publish and aren’t open to submissions for, such as a children’s book publisher receiving adult romance novels.

These mass submissions never result in success, but they do encourage publishers to close their doors to unsolicited submissions or have more limited windows.

We have published a lot of warnings in our articles, and in text next to our articles, to try and prevent these mass submissions. We’ve published a LOT of educational articles about submitting appropriately.

As far as we can tell, none of the efforts we have made have helped actually decrease these mass submissions.

Our goal is to make publishing more equitable and approachable, but causing publishers to close to submissions is not supporting that.

AI has only complicated the issues.

Before AI became commonplace and more adaptable, at least all of the submissions these publishers were received were written by humans. Now they are not. Science fiction publishers have borne the brunt of this, but even here at Authors Publish it has caused significant issues in terms of our inbox.

Because of the three previous points, more publishers are closing to submissions or asking to be delisted.

This is still very much the exception not the rule, but we do not plan to continue down this path. We want to support equitable and approachable publishing.

I will still be reviewing about 52 publishers and their imprints a year and I will use this information to update the Guide to Manuscript Publishers twice a year as well as special issues articles that round up 20 or more publishers. Our monthly list for underrepresented authors will still contain manuscript publishers as well.

These longer lists and the guide have never caused the same issues, because people do not use them to mass submit the same way and submissions tend to be dispersed over all the publishers, so it’s more like a heavy storm than a waterfall.

We still have a few more scheduled manuscript publishers to go, but by June we will have fully shifted away from them.

We’ll see if this strategy works over time and there might end up being other ways to bring more regular reviews back over time. This isn’t the route forward we would have chosen for ourselves, but it seems like the only way given the circumstances.

We will still publish a review of one literary journal a week, as that has been less of an issue. Moving forward we will focus more on list articles, even in the issues themselves, as well as covering publishing industry news more consistently, something we have already been working towards.

In the meantime please keep supporting indie publishers by buying books directly from them, or local bookstores as much as you can.

We already have some options for replacement articles but we are always open to hearing more, and if you have any feedback on any of this, please feel encouraged to send us an email at suppot@authorspublish.com.

Emily Harstone is the author of many popular books, including The Authors Publish Guide to Manuscript SubmissionsSubmit, Publish, Repeat, and The 2024 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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