our newest titles

Lake Chelan
John Fahey

All You Can Eat
Richard Harlan Miller

The Rancher
Dawn Nelson

Submissions

Important

We are currently not taking submissions.

Please note: Gray Dog Press no longer accepts hard copy submissions.


Gray Dog Press considers both agented and unagented submissions. We do not consider poetry, technical manuals, cookbooks, memoirs, or children's books. As of summer 2012 we are not actively seeking fiction submissions. You may still submit fiction, but be advised that we are not actively reading and it may take quite some time to respond. We are seeking enlightening, original nonfiction works about the northwest or by northwest authors.

You are encouraged to check out our previous titles to get a feeling for what we've published, but we have a very open mind. Completed manuscripts should be more than about 35,000 words and preferably less than 125,000, though if the right book comes along and happens to be either small or huge, we'll run with it.

Good nonfiction should give the reader something; a simple recounting of facts or events isn't interesting, and we are most drawn to nonfiction with some kind of narrative drive. We are in the business of establishing relationships between authors and readers, so embrace that. Give your reader something.

The current lead time for submissions is 3-5 months, though it varies throughout the year depending on how many projects are currently in play. If you ever have to wait more than five months, six days, and three hours to hear back from us, we invite you to write and inquire about the status of your submission. Otherwise you can rest assured that we haven't forgotten you. We accept submissions via our handy Submishmash page; details are at the bottom of this page.

Current Needs

GDP is currently seeking more nonfiction proposals, especially those of regional interest. Proposals with a historical angle are especially enticing if the writer is capable of crafting engaging prose. If you have a proposal worked up, we want to hear from you.


Guidelines

Our guidelines are pretty informal, but otherwise fairly typical of the publishing industry. Still, please read the entirety of this page; it will only take a couple minutes. Failure to follow these simple guidelines will result in your manuscript being ignored, discarded, or laughed at. They are not difficult. If you have questions about them, please ask.

Our Requirements

You do not need to send us a query letter before sending us your submission. Just provide us with the documents listed here, and we'll get down to business reading.

We require four things of writers. Specifics for each item are listed farther down the page.

  1. Introductory letter
  2. Synopsis
  3. Marketing analysis
  4. Sample chapters

The Letter

Your introductory letter should include your name, contact information, basic information about the manuscript (genre, length, etc.); essentially everything you'd find in a good query letter. There are dozens of good guides for writing such letters available on the internet and your local library. Look them up.

We wouldn't mind knowing (briefly) why you chose to submit to us. There are many other publishers out there; why is Gray Dog the right place for your manuscript?

Submittable doesn't provide an ideal way to include this. You may use the notes feature or include it as the first part of your document.

Synopsis

This can be a matter of a single page, or even five pages summarizing each chapter in detail. In general, lean toward the former. We want to know what the book is about, but we don't need the instructor's edition. This is the place to display the general scope of the book, the approach to the argument (if there is one), and the various subtleties of your writing. This is not the place to give your life story.

Take note: All submissions should be either plain text (.txt), Microsoft Word (.doc), portable document format (.pdf), or rich text format (.rtf). Other formats will simply not be read. Do not send a compressed archive of your attachments; we will not open it. If you do not know how to save in any of these formats, here is a useful tool that should help: Google.

Marketing Analysis

Don't be put off by this. We are not asking for you to earn a business degree and provide a thirty-page analysis and marketing plan. When we accept a book for publication, we ultimately prepare the marketing and promotion, but those efforts are greatly enhanced with the author's input. Yet many writers suddenly lose their typing ability when it comes to this part, and some queries come in with the marketing statement reading, simply, "I don't know anything about marketing, but I'll do whatever you want." This is not helpful to us or to your book, and will likely result in your manuscript being rejected without much further review. All we ask is for you to do a little forward thinking and answer a couple basic questions. Specifically, who will buy this book? What do you see as the ideal market and way to reach it? Why and how is this book different from all the others?

Remember, you are an expert on your topic. (If you're not, you should not be submitting a book on it.) As such, no doubt you know any major organizations or means of information dissemination likely to reach people interested in the topic. Use that knowledge.

Who will buy this book?

When we get proposals that say, "Anyone old enough to read will like this book," it indicates that the writer has not done his/her homework. "The general population" is not a target audience; it's all of humanity. Be a little more specific. Is it geared toward middle-aged people? Young adults? People in rural areas? Veterans? Start with broad groups and then narrow it down further. If you've written a book so broad in mind and scope that it's meant to appeal generally to everyone, chances are it won't appeal strongly to anyone.

Take a few minutes and consider who will be drawn by what you've written. Are there fan groups dedicated to your subject? Are there professional organizations who would be interested? Do you have a 20,000-strong audience for your weekly newspaper column?

What's the marketing plan?

Telling us to "put it in bookstores" is not very helpful. We already know that. There are hundreds of thousands of books published every year, and a given bookstore might stock 20,000 to 50,000 at any one time. We'll do our best to get it into stores, but once it's there, people still need to seek it out. (Think about how many books you walk past every time you go into a bookstore; those people all want to be seen, too.) So, this is where your connections come in. If you're the president of a statewide farming association, and you're proposing a manuscript about the future of farming in the state, then you have both a target audience and a way to reach them.

This doesn't mean that you need to be at the top of a professional organization to reach people. Do you have a friend who can set up a book signing at a bookstore across the state? During your research, did you make friends with some noted scholars in the field? Don't be afraid to elaborate in this section. Tell us how we can reach people. To whom should your book be visible, and what ability do you have to make it visible?

How is this book different?

Why would someone buy your book about duck feeding habits and not the one next to it? Remember those hundreds of thousands of books a year that get published? You're competing against all of those. And even if you have a huge audience and manage to get the attention of all of those people, if your book about duck feeding habits is less interesting than the book about duck feeding habits written by Joe Smith (which he's also marketing to the same audience), your book won't sell. What about your book is different and better?

And please do not tell us that no book is truly unique and everything's already been done. We'd be glad to talk philosophy sometime over a drink, but don't use platitudes to avoid answering this simple question. It really isn't that difficult to answer; if it is, perhaps it's time to re-examine the manuscript.

Sample Chapters

Send us 25-40 pages of your writing. We do prefer chapters from the manuscript itself; however, if you're still in the proposal stage, it is okay to send writing samples that are evidence of your skill with the intended subject matter.

Do not send us the whole manuscript. If we are pleased with what we see in the sample, we'll contact you to discuss the project and/or ask for the whole thing. If you send us a complete manuscript, we'll send you a note that asks you to read our guidelines before submitting.

If you have further questions regarding what to include, please contact us. Email is the fastest way to get an answer, as not everyone is always available to talk on the phone (due to meetings, appointments, out-of-office duties, etc.).


Sending your materials

Now that you've prepared your submission, we prefer to have you send it digitally.

Now that you've prepared your submission, you may send it to us using as an email attachment to submissions[at]graydogpress.com.

Good luck!