Who are you?
I mean, it’s blunt, but it’s a fair question. Stirling Publishing (Ltd) is a an independent Scottish press based in Edinburgh. We started off as Stirling Robyns Publishing (which you might still see on our Submittable portal) before splitting with our two imprints, Stone Cold Fox and Skiddaw Books. We’re small, but we’re still a traditional publishing press, and you might have already heard of us through our publication of the BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic) anthology The Colour of Madness and our first YA fantasy novel, Aphra’s Child by the well-known Lesley Glaister. We’re run by Commissioning Editor Tabatha Stirling and supported by Associate Editor Laura Maria Grierson.
What are Stone Cold Fox and Skiddaw Books?
Stone Cold Fox and Skiddaw Books are our two imprints.
Stone Cold Fox is for YA-novels, historical fiction, romance, grimdark and fantasy, with some representative authors being V.E. Schwab, George R.R. Martin, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Phillipa Gregory, and Maya Angelou. Our current Stone Cold Fox list includes Lesley’s Glaister’s Aphra’s Child and Dawn Finch’s Brotherhood of Shades. For more information, check out our Stone Cold Fox page.
Skiddaw Books tends to veer on the darker side. If you think your submission can have us huddled under blankets by candlelight, then this is where it belongs. Skiddaw handles thrillers, crime, horror, and the Gothic as well as non-fiction and poetry. Our BAME mental health anthology The Colour of Madness is under Skiddaw Books, as are upcoming novels The Final Casebook of Mortimer Grimm and The Duties of Women by Lex Jones and Dr Emma Venables respectively. See our Skiddaw Books page for more info.
Why should I submit to you?
Again, a fair question. There are a lot of presses out there and we’re looking to build a partnership: that is, the book is something that we can effectively publish, and you want it to be published by us. Yes, there are many small presses out there but not all of them offer a traditional publishing contract. Not all of them have a high-quality website and not all of them offer promotion out with social media. We have distribution: we use NetGalley and we use Clays printers in London.
The team at Stirling Publishing are writers ourselves, and we know how disheartening it can be to try and get your book into the world. We try to keep the human element in everything we do. We care about the books we sign, and we ensure that the authors behind them receive a fair deal in their contract. We see no point in offering an e-book contract with zero publicity (apart from the odd tweet) that will result in the book sinking before it has even taken a breath. The author might as well self-publish. We are about publishing magnificent stories with beautiful covers, professional editing, decent percentages and traditional print runs. You've worked extremely hard writing your book and you deserve some financial reward.
We’re relatively new, but we’ve already enjoyed huge success. Our anthology, The Colour of Madness, which looks at mental health through an exclusively BAME perspective has made waves throughout the country, and has been lauded as “greatly needed” and summarised as “Great insights on mental health and illness, wonderful stories and heartfelt experiences.” We acquired incredible author Lesley Glaister’s newest novel (and first venture into fantasy YA) Aphra’s Child that has been well-received by readers.
How do I submit?
We only use Submittable. If you submit via email it’s likely to get lost, and it also means that only the owner of that email address has access to your submission. Check out our directions to make sure your submission is in its best condition to be considered, and then follow our guidelines to upload your (single) document through our Submittable portal.
What happens during the submissions process?
We ask for twelve weeks to consider your submission, although we do aim to reply within six – it’s just that the day-to-day running of the press takes prerogative over new queries. If the first reader thinks your extract has potential, they’ll request the full MS. Once that’s uploaded, we ask for three to six months to read the full thing and to make a decision whether we’ll recommend it for publication – with the number of three-chapter submissions we receive, we often focus on clearing those first. If it’s recommended, we’ll let you know that we’re passing it on to the next reader, who’ll make the final decision (with input from previous feedback, of course) on whether we’d like to publish it. If it’s agreed, congratulations: we’ll make an offer of publication, either as is or under an agreement of edits to be made, and you become one of our authors!
Who reads my submission?
There’s no hard and fast rule on who reads through submissions, but as a general rule of thumb, Laura will go through the initial submissions. Laura is our Associate Editor, and she’s usually the first port of call if you have a question about your submission. If we’re working with an intern or editorial assistant, they may also share their thoughts. If it’s a no, Laura will decline it and do her best to let you know why – such as, the writing’s not quite up to scratch, it doesn’t fit in with the imprint, or we’ve published something too similar. If she thinks it could be a good fit for us, she’ll accept your submission and request you upload the full MS onto Submittable. From there, she’ll read the full novel and make some notes on its suitability. If she thinks it could be published by us, she’ll pass it on to Commissioning Editor Tabby Stirling with her recommendations. If it’s not to be, Laura will decline the full MS. Once Tabby has read your manuscript and Laura’s comments, she’ll make a final decision on whether to offer you a contract.
How do I get in touch?
We have a general email address for queries: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’d like to contact Commissioning Editor Tabatha Stirling directly, her email is email@example.com.
If you have a question about submissions or need some information from Laura, send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that Submittable notifications can be flaky, and your messages through the platform may not reach the person you want. Better safe than sorry: always send us an email rather than a note on Submittable. General queries about submissions should be sent to email@example.com