EDITORIAL ENQUIRIES (not Submissions):
Northumberland NE46 1BS
or use the form opposite (selecting Editorial).
We receive numerous enquiries about possible work experience at Bloodaxe. We much appreciate such offers, but it is not practical for us to accommodate volunteers, interns or people wanting work placements in our small office.
We do not use the services of freelance editors or proof-readers.
If you have not yet published poems either in reputable literary magazines or in a pamphlet from a reputable small press, please do not send us your work.
We do not consider unsolicited submissions sent by email (see panel opposite).
Bloodaxe is one of Britain's leading poetry publishers with an internationally renowned list of writers. We do not publish anyone who has only recently started writing. Every poet we take on already has a track record of magazine or small press publication.
Bloodaxe now publishes over 300 poets, and we need to keep up with their collective output. This won't be possible if we take on too many new authors, so we are only able to pursue publication in very few cases.
This means we can only publish two to three first collections out of the thousands we are offered each year. And because we don't have the capacity to expand our current list of published poets, we are no longer able to take on poets who have already published book-length collections with other publishers.. So if you are lucky enough to have a publisher willing to publish your next collection, our advice would be to stick with them just as they have stuck by you.
QUALITY & QUANTITY
If we aren't able to publish your poetry this may have nothing to do with the quality of your work; it's more to do with the restrictions of poetry publishing. However, Bloodaxe is continuing to introduce new poets, and we're still bringing out first collections every year as well as editions introducing major poets from overseas and anthologies aimed at broadening the readership of contemporary poetry. We have been publish around 30 new books of poetry a year, and it has not possible for us to do more than that. We will not usually be in a position to publish more than one or two first collections per year. And now that Arts Council England has cut our annual funding by 15%, we will not be able to publish as many new titles. This means it will be even more difficult for new authors to have their books taken on.
Although we have a policy of publishing new authors, these are invariably poets whose work has appeared in magazines or pamphlets and who have built up a publishable book-length collection over a period of time. If you have not yet published poems in reputable literary magazines or in a pamphlet from a reputable small press, please do not send your manuscript. We receive up to 100 manuscripts or offers of publication each week, and most authors submitting to us will have a track record of previous publication in magazines or pamphlets. If you do not have a track record of previous publication of this kind, please do not send us your work.
We regret that we aren't able to offer detailed criticism of poetry submitted for publication. That's not the publisher's "job". But there are specialist organisations offering critical services (e.g. the Poetry Society) and others which organise writers' courses and workshops (e.g. the Arvon Foundation and the Poetry School). The links page of the Bloodaxe website lists many more poetry organisations offering a variety of services.
If it’s not possible for you attend workshops or courses, we recommend Peter Sansom’s highly readable guide, Writing Poems, published by Bloodaxe. Drawing on his extensive experience of poetry workshops and courses, Peter Sansom shows you not how to write but how to write better. This practical handbook is illustrated with many examples.
NORTH AMERICAN POETS
Bloodaxe is maintaining its programme of publishing books by leading poets from the US and Canada. However, our programming does not permit us to publish more than four North American poets in any year (which is four more than most UK publishers!), and our commitments in that area now cover the next few years. We receive hundreds of unsolicited submissions from American poets because we are one of the few British publishers with an American poetry list. Regrettably, we can no longer consider unsolicited submissions from American (or Canadian) poets. We are continuing to develop our American list, but our future publication of American poets will be by invitation or recommendation only. So sorry you guys: you've flooded us with your stuff and we just can't handle this volume of work we are never going to be in a position to publish, excellent though the work may be.
Please note that we no longer publish books of literary criticism (apart from titles published with Newcastle University).
POETRY PUBLICATION: SOME POINTERS
Reading: If you do not read much contemporary poetry, or if you write poetry 'as a hobby', we're unlikely to be interested in your work. You may disagree, but we believe that no one can write poetry of quality unless they read other poets and are in touch with the literary culture.
Magazines: It is advisable to submit poems to magazines before thinking about putting a book together. Such a "track record" is not used by publishers as a guarantee of quality, but as an indication that the writer has spent time building up a publishable collection. Poets under 30 can apply for a Gregory Award from the Society of Authors. This can be a good stepping-stone to publication. For a comprehensive listing of poetry magazines, see these two websites: The Poetry Library (UK) and Poetry Magazines
Market: Don't submit to publishers unless you've read their books, or to magazines unless you're familiar with the kind of work they publish. Every imprint is different, and you will not be able to publish much unless you research the field and send to the publishers or magazines whose output you like and respect. You can read back issues of many of the leading British poetry magazines on the Poetry Library's poetry magazines site (see above).
Recommended articles: If you'd like to gain a greater understanding of the editorial process, we recommend this article by Bloodaxe editor Neil Astley offering advice to new authors in a Guardian poetry guide, and this article by poet Roddy Lumsden from the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook called Approaching a poetry publisher.
There are certain firms which charge writers to publish their work or which require the writers to pay for copies of anthologies in which their work appears as a condition of publication: please note that this type of publication does not count as a "track record of previous publication". Listing such publishers and anthologies when submitting work to reputable publishers will be counterproductive: it gives the editor an immediate indication that this writer's work has been published not because of literary merit but because the writer has paid to have it printed. For more information about so-called "vanity publishing", see the web page Vanity Publishing – Advice and Warning and also the advice offered by this Society of Authors webpage.
Reputable publishers or magazines of any size will pay authors for their work, usually with royalties in the case of books. If you are asked to pay for the production of your book by a “publisher” who sends you a flattering “reader’s report” on your work, try asking a local printer to give you an estimate for printing a few hundred copies of the book. The likelihood is that the cost to you will be considerably lower, and if you want your work to be read by friends, colleagues and people in your local community, the circulation you will achieve by this DIY method will be more effective. The normal arrangements for publishing also involve the author receiving complimentary copies of a book or a free contributor’s copy of a magazine or anthology: if you’re asked to pay to see your own work in print, you are paying to have it published.
Self publication: As an alternative to using a local printer, we recommend the self-publishing website www.lulu.com which offers a distribution channel as well as well-produced books and e-books.