Submission Guidelines

VUP welcomes inquiries from prospective authors and we are always happy to receive proposals for publications that fall within our areas of interest. Take a thorough look at our website to get a sense of the range of books we publish. Non-fiction proposals in particular should be suitable for a primarily New Zealand audience. A connection with Victoria University of Wellington is an advantage but not a necessity. All authors considering making a submission to VUP should also read the FAQs below.

We prefer to accept submissions by email, but will also accept submissions by post.

When emailing your submission, please attach it as a Word document or a PDF. Make sure your manuscript is in A4 format, with the text double-spaced and pages numbered. Please send your manuscript as one document file, do not separate out chapters or sections into different files.

If sending a hard copy in the post, please make sure your manuscript is typed, double-spaced, and printed single-sided on A4 paper. Pages should be numbered. We can return your manuscript if you include a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

For non-fiction and/or scholarly works, it is usually best to send us a proposal first. Please email your proposal and include a letter of inquiry, CV, and sample text (ideally the first 1–3 chapters).

Victoria University Press
Postal address: PO Box 600, Wellington, New Zealand
Street address: 49 Rawhiti Tce, Kelburn, Wellington, New Zealand
Phone: +64 4 463 6580
Fax: +64 4 463 6581
Email: 
victoria-press@vuw.ac.nz 

FAQs

Is VUP currently open to manuscript submissions from new authors? 

Yes, we have an open submissions policy. We accept submissions of fiction, non-fiction and poetry from authors who live in or are strongly connected with Aotearoa New Zealand.

We do not publish young adult or children’s fiction, and it is rare for us to take on straight genre fiction such as fantasy and romance. Before you submit work to us, read some of our books and take a close look at our online catalogue to get a sense of what we publish.


What level of success should a writer have before submitting their work? (Winner of competition X, publication in magazines Y & Z, Masters degree from University Q, devoted Twitter following of at least W people …)

We're happy to assess a manuscript on its quality, independent of any recognition a writer may have received. But it’s worth bearing in mind that for poetry, short fiction and short non-fiction, it can be a good sign if a writer has had their work previously published, in print or online – this shows they’re an active writer and that they may have gathered a following. Most poets whose first books we publish have been publishing their work in print and online spaces for several years. The same doesn't necessarily apply for novels and long-form works of non-fiction, although a writer may have had excerpts published on various platforms.


What do most unsuccessful submissions get wrong?

A frequent misunderstanding we come across is the belief that the writer’s cover letter has a bearing on our decision about the manuscript. A cover letter is useful to us as an introduction to you and your work, but it does not influence the outcome of your submission, no matter how eloquently it is written. The work itself is what’s most important to us. Keep your cover letter simple and to the point.

We also see quite a few poets submitting a full collection of poetry before having published poems elsewhere. In most cases, we need you to have connected with some readers before we can give serious consideration to your first full-length manuscript.

Another problem can be re-submitting your work very quickly after we have opted not to take it on. There is no rush. Take time to work on your writing. Try some different things out and have fun with it. Write to please yourself first.

Finally, many authors submit manuscripts to us without knowing what kinds of books we publish. Make sure you’ve done some research before sending your work.


How long will it take before I hear back from VUP about my submission?

We receive a large volume of submissions, so it will take at least six weeks for us to respond.


I have previously had a book published a different publisher. Are you less likely to take on my current project?

We will judge your work on its merit; however, because we already have a very full list of authors and forthcoming books, we are not often able to take on mid-career authors who have parted ways with a previous publisher.


I have an incredible life story to tell, and I want to share it with people. Who can I speak to about this?

Just as with fiction and poetry, it takes time and practice to learn how to write good non-fiction. Look for courses in memoir and life writing. Some continuing education programmes run these courses, as do universities and polytechnics. There are also some online courses.


I have self-published a novel and it has sold some copies. Will you publish it now?

Unfortunately we can’t take on full-length works that have already been published; we accept submissions of original work.


I’m a young writer and I want to have a book published one day. How can I make this happen?

There are many, many resources online that offer advice to writers, so the web is a good place to start.

From our point of view, it’s important that writers read widely, so read as much as you can. Keep an eye out for writer events in your community – readings, talks, festival events – and go to hear writers speak about their work (writers love it when people come to their events). Some people find it productive to join a writing group, where you give and receive feedback on works in progress – this can help to give you perspective on your work. Carry a notebook with you and jot things down. Become a keen observer of your world. Listen to the teachers and mentors you respect, and ask for help. Don’t be afraid to tell the stories you want to tell. Don’t take criticism to heart; learn to take what is useful from it and discard the rest. If you’re stuck with a piece of writing, write something else. Read Ann Lamott’s wonderful book Bird by Bird.

The Exercise Book (VUP, 2011) contains a wealth of fun writing ideas and exercises for poetry, fiction and script-writing. The Fuse Box (VUP, 2017) collects essays from the New Zealand writing community about the creative process. The New Zealand Society of Authors offer good, wide-ranging advice and information about writing and publishing your work in New Zealand.


Do you accept bribes?

It’s best not to send us bribes. As much as we love chocolates and $20 notes, they will not affect the outcome of your submission.