Written by Emily Harstone March 15th, 2023

Why We Don’t Review All Presses

At Authors Publish we receive a lot of emails every week asking us why we haven’t reviewed a certain press or requesting that we do review a certain press.

Sometimes it’s easy to send out a one sentence answer, which is often this: “We have never heard of this press before, but we’ll look into them”.

Often the answer is more complex than that, but it is usually for one of the following reasons.

1. They don’t align with our guiding principles

You can read our complete guiding principles here, but the main takeaway is this: We don’t review presses that aren’t traditional publishers. Traditional presses are publishers that pay their authors, not the other way around. We also won’t cover publishers that charge reading fees, which is something that is becoming more and more common. Some presses charge some authors but not others, we do not consider these traditional presses either, unless they have a clear vanity publishing imprint, that they don’t re-direct submissions to. We also only review presses that are open to submissions regardless of the identity of the writer or their geographic location. Although we do cover presses with geographic and other limitations as part of larger focused lists.

2. They haven’t been actively publishing books for a year

This is technically part of our guiding principles but it bears repeating. Most brand new presses don’t make it past the starting stage. I add all new presses I come across to a list, and most never ever publish one book, never mind more. I do make exceptions for imprints of established presses.

3. They’ve behaved in a way that raises major red flags

If I research a press and I discover they’ve promoted hate speech, or been accused of not paying their authors, or any other kind of serious problematic practice, I don’t review.

If a press I’ve reviewed in the past becomes guilty of any of these things, I update the review at the top, to make it clear what has happened.

This article is a good starting place in terms of figuring out what is a warning sign, and what isn’t.

4. They’ve behaved in a way that raises minor red flags

I’ve also not reviewed presses because I’ve heard from authors that they weren’t allowed to promote their own book, and that the press didn’t either, or there just was something about the site that made it hard for me to promote it (like a website with hard to read fonts). You can learn more about evaluating a publisher’s website here.

5. They’ve always been closed to submissions when I’m ready to review them

There are some presses that have really short and/or irregular submission windows and I just keep missing them.

6. I simply haven’t seen them yet.

I’m always happy to see a question about a press I haven’t encountered yet, enter my inbox at support@authorspublish.com.

Emily Harstone is the author of many popular books, including The Authors Publish Guide to Manuscript SubmissionsSubmit, Publish, Repeat, and The 2022 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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