Writers of Historical Fiction: Top Hat Books OPEN for submissions

I am so excited I could spew.

I am aware that’s not very professional. Possibly my overflowing emotion could be seen as gauche or simply not done. Real business people move calmly through their careers – the only outbursts being of anger at their minions, generally.

I can’t help it. Top Hat Books now has its own official page on John Hunt Publishing’s website! We can accept submissions! We are, in fact, well and truly, most certainly, finally and at last – ALIVE!

Initially I had planned to concentrate on the nineteenth century, but further discussion has led me to open Top Hat Books to all periods. I’m particularly keen to cross boundaries and explore new avenues, and publish the histories of peoples across the world. So if you’re working on a cracking tale of seventh-century Indonesia, I want to hear about it.

If you want to submit, please bear these guidelines in mind: your story should be primary. If you’ve gone into minute detail about rivets on a steam engine but the plot is still in the sidings, that’s not what we want. You should be writing non-fiction. The plot should excite, inflame and inspire the reader. I do want historical accuracy though unless it’s clearly a Steampunk or alternate history offering.

Pay attention to your spelling, grammar and punctuation! JHP doesn’t undertake heavy editing. A few mistakes are easily dealt with but if I’m going through a red pen every chapter, I’ll ask you to go away and have it professionally edited.

Your manuscript must be complete. Use this page to upload the first three chapters but be prepared: if I ask to see the rest, I don’t want to wait six months while you finish it.

The decision is not all mine. We use a team of readers who submit reports on the text. I might hate it…and you might still get published. That’s only fair. No-one made me god.

You have to be willing to engage with our technology. JHP is a traditional publisher in that we pay royalties, we publish in print, and so on. We’re non-traditional in that everything is done through a central system. You can track the progress of your book but you will need to be involved – especially in marketing and promotion. We’ll do what we can, but at the end of the day, you need to get a launch sorted at the local book shop; you need to get working on whatever social media platform works for you; you need to help us target the right places to send review copies.

It’s all very exciting. I’ve created a facebook page here, but I’ve always been slightly reticent about that, because some people are not on facebook and I don’t see that someone should be pushed into signing up to something just to get access to this. Therefore I’m working on a blog because that’s open to all. I want to create a resource bank, a help point, an interface online – a blog seems the best way to do this. I’ll let you know when it’s in a fit state to be seen in public.

I’d be hugely grateful if this exciting news is passed around as widely as possible. Thank you all!

Here’s the press release which can be sent anywhere you like:


Top Hat Books – new historical fiction imprint open for submissions


Contact: Autumn Barlow barlow.writing@gmail.com

Top Hat Books is a new imprint of the long-established John Hunt Publishing company. We are now looking at completed manuscripts of any historical period. You can make the initial enquiry using our online form, and upload the first three chapters or 10,000 words for us to read. http://www.johnhuntpublishing.com/jhp-get-published.html?i=48

Our manifesto is to publish fiction that captures the contrasts, the achievements, the optimism and the radicalism of ordinary and extraordinary times across the world.

We’re open to all time periods and we strive to go beyond the narrow, foggy slums of Victorian London. Where are the tales of the people of fifteenth century Australasia? The stories of eighth century India? The voices from Africa, Arabia, cities and forests, deserts and towns? Our books thrill, excite, delight and inspire.

The genres will be broad but clear. Whether we’re publishing romance, thrillers, crime, or something else entirely, the unifying themes are timescale and enthusiasm. These books will be a celebration of the chaotic power of the human spirit in difficult times. The reader, when they finish, will snap the book closed with a satisfied smile.

Top Hat Books publish in print, with ebooks as an addition. We pay royalties and we promote worldwide.

You can get involved on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/tophatbooks.

For further information please email Autumn on barlow.writing@gmail.com

Please pass this on!


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