VUP welcomes inquiries from prospective authors and we are always happy to receive manuscripts that fall within our areas of interest. Please take a look at our catalogue on our website. Scholarly non-fiction in particular should be suitable primarily for a New Zealand audience. A connection with Victoria University of Wellington is an advantage but not a necessity.
Please note that for submissions of fiction, poetry, memoir and personal essay collections, we require a finished manuscript. For scholarly nonfiction, we require a proposal and some sample text (ideally the first 10,000 to 20,000 words).
We prefer to receive submissions by email, but will also accept submissions by post.
All submissions must include:
—a brief cover letter that tells us a little about yourself and what your book is about;
—a synopsis, where relevant;
—a CV of previously published writing.
If emailing your submission, please attach the manuscript as a Word document or a PDF, and title it with your name and the name of the work. Make sure your manuscript is in A4 format, with the pages numbered. Please send your manuscript as one document file; do not separate chapters or sections into different files.
If sending a hard copy in the post, make sure your manuscript is typed and printed single-sided on A4 paper, with pages numbered. We can return your manuscript if you include a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Please make sure you have an electronic file of your manuscript; don’t send us your only copy.
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
Is VUP currently open to manuscript submissions from new authors?
Yes, we have an open submissions policy. We will consider original manuscripts 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We do not publish young adult or children’s fiction, and we rarely take on straight genre fiction such as fantasy and romance. We also do not publish short works of nonfiction or fiction (anything shorter than approximately 30,000 words).
If you have a single poem, story, or essay, you are welcome to submit to VUP’s literary magazine Sport, published annually.
Before you submit a manuscript or proposal to VUP, please read some of our books and take a look at our online catalogue to see the kinds of books that we publish.
Is VUP able to provide feedback on an unfinished manuscript?
We’re sorry to say that we are not able to provide editorial feedback, as we receive a lot of submissions.
What level of success should a writer have before submitting a manuscript?
We assess each manuscript on its quality, independent of any recognition the writer may have received. But it is worth bearing in mind that it is helpful to us when a writer has had their work previously published. Most poets and writers of short fiction and nonfiction who publish a first book with VUP have been publishing their work in print and online for several years, and they may have built a following. The same does not necessarily apply to novelists and writers of long-form nonfiction, although a writer may have published excerpts.
What do most unsuccessful submissions get wrong?
Many authors submit manuscripts to us without knowing what kinds of books we publish. Please make sure you take a look at our books before sending your work.
Your cover letter is useful to us as an introduction to you and your work, but it does not influence the outcome of your submission. The work itself is what’s most important to us. Keep your cover letter simple and to the point.
Sometimes poets submit a full collection of poetry before they have published poems elsewhere. Ideally, we would like you to have connected with some readers before you submit a full manuscript.
Another problem is re-submitting a manuscript very quickly after we have opted not to take it on. If you would like to resubmit to VUP, please wait at least one year. Try some different things out, seek feedback from others if possible, and have fun with your work. Write to please yourself first.
How long will it take before I hear back from VUP about my submission?
We receive a large volume of submissions, so it takes us at least six weeks to respond, but under the current circumstances this period is likely to be closer to three months.
I have previously had a book published by a different publisher. Are you less likely to take on my current project?
We will judge your work on its merit; however, as we 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 want to write my life story. Where can I get advice about writing it?
Just as with fiction and poetry, it takes time and practise to learn how to write strong non-fiction. Look for courses in memoir and life writing. Some continuing education programmes offer these courses, as do universities and polytechnics. In nonfiction, as in fiction, we look for strong, compelling voices, novel perspectives, insight, craft, and of course story.
I have self-published a book. Will VUP consider it for wider publication?
Unfortunately, we can’t take on full-length works that have already been published. We can consider submissions of original work only.
I’m a young writer and I want to write a book one day. Where do I start?
There are many online resources that offer advice to writers, so the web is a good place to start.
It’s important that all writers read widely, so read as much as you can. Look for writers’ events in your community – readings, talks, festival events – and go to hear writers speak about their work. (This also helps other writers and keeps our literary community thriving.) Some writers find it helpful to join a writing group, where you give and receive feedback on works in progress – this can help to give you new perspectives on your work. A creative writing workshop can also energise your writing, providing structure and a useful pressure.
Carry a notebook with you and jot things down. Become a keen observer of your world.
Don’t be afraid to tell the stories you want to tell. Try not to 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 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 offers good, wide-ranging advice and information about writing and publishing your work in New Zealand.