Our submissions officers Avery and Tara are on the prowl for new manuscripts for Grattan Street Press! We had a chat to Avery and Tara to find out more about the submissions process and what they look for when considering a new submission.
What type of things do you look for in a new submission?
We’re looking for original voices and immersive stories from unique and diverse perspectives. We love reading things that really engage with an author’s passion and get us excited about the narrative world they’ve created.
Do you discuss together whether you want to accept something or divide up the submissions and decide individually?
We individually read each submission and we’ll then discuss them together before making a joint decision on whether to accept or not. Other students here at GSP also assess submissions for us, which helps us to make decisions. Ultimately, we have the freedom to spend a lot of time looking over each submission we receive, and each work is closely considered by our team.
What first attracted you to the role of submission officer?
AVERY: I’m an avid reader, and looking over manuscripts can be exciting. Published books are all edited, but when you read a manuscript, you’re looking at a version of that book that not too many people will probably see. You also get to be the cheerleader for books you really love, and are involved in the direction that the press decides to take with every submission we accept.
TARA: I think the role itself is varied and exciting. I get to read a range of manuscripts and then take multiple standpoints into consideration when I’m doing an assessment – such as that of a reader, editor and so forth. I agree with Avery here, too – it’s a privilege to be able to read a text in its manuscript form, and then champion the ones that you believe are publishable.
Can you tell us a bit about the process you go through when considering a manuscript and whether it is appropriate for Grattan Street Press?
We’ll read the manuscript several times, taking into consideration what genre it is, if it’s suitable for one of our lists, how much editing it will need, and how engaged we were by the narrative.
What do you think are some genres or themes that are underrepresented in publishing at the moment?
Publishing is shifting towards seeking out voices that diversify and reinvent or transgress genres. We think this is exciting and want to foster this within our list by publishing authors from a range of backgrounds.
What books or genres are your personal favourites?
TARA: My reading taste is so varied that I don’t tend to commit to one particular genre. I usually gravitate towards fiction and character-based narratives that take a unique angle or perspective (bonus points if the protagonist is queer). I also enjoy a good memoir.
AVERY: I love all sorts of books and genres. Recently I read How Should a Person Be by Sheila Heiti and it’s one of my new favourites. I’m willing to read anything, though, if it has an interesting voice or approach to craft. I love writers who are willing to push and experiment.
What advice would you give to new authors submitting their work for publication?
Writing can be an insular experience, so we recommend emerging writers share their work with people whose opinions they trust. When you don’t have an editor or agent, getting a reader’s feedback on your writing can be extremely helpful before you submit your manuscript to a publisher. Furthermore, don’t be discouraged by rejection – it’s not always a judgement on your writing ability. Sometimes we enjoy a manuscript that doesn’t suit our list, but it might belong with another press. Research the publishing houses you’re submitting to and whether your work would fit with their list – this could save you time and heartache.
Do you have a vision or hope for what type of books belong on Grattan Street Press’s list?
Our list is still very much growing, which means there are so many opportunities for the directions it could take. We’d love to publish works that speak to the diversity of our Australian audience and their experiences.
What role do you think Grattan Street Press can have in helping new authors find their footing?
New authors can be assured that our team will take the time to assess their writing, with the help of incredible academic staff. We have the freedom to work closely with each author and offer guidance about any aspects of the publishing process that they’re uncertain about.
You can submit your work Grattan Street Press’s submissions officer via our Submittable page. We’re always thrilled to get new manuscript submissions and love to hear from new authors starting out in their career!
Featured image retrieved from Pixabay.