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Fiction submissions

Key points before submission


Finished, polished novels only, which includes immaculate punctuation among many other points of perfection.


Think hard about whether your novel is ready for submission. Some writers submit their writing prematurely, without the necessary re-drafting, checking, polishing and attention to presentation.


Have you asked a few individuals to read and comment on your novel? Have you responded to any relevant points?

The ultimate test of whether your novel is ready for submission is reading it aloud to a group of people who know nothing about it. Every time you stumble over your own words and every time your audience shows signs of inattentiveness or boredom, take note: something is not working and more drafting needs to be done. 


Please do not submit your novel to CDLA if it has already been widely sent to agents and rejected.


We only consider paper submissions. We do not read submissions on screen.

If you would like to submit your work of fiction, please send Caroline Davidson the following information:


A. Your covering letter including:


  • The title of your novel.

  • A description of what your novel is really about other than the story line.

  • What makes you think your novel is of a standard suitable for publication?

  • Who would be your ideal publishers and why?

  • The history of your novel to date (explain what first prompted you to write it and when; its writing history; who has read it at different stages and their reactions; which elements derive from your own personal experience; which required research; your own appraisal of its current state including any weaknesses that you are aware of).

  • What makes you think you can write?

  • The current word count, the date you started, and the number of drafts so far.


B. Your CV


Your full-length CV or résumé, regardless of whether you have writing experience. We would like to know about your career, where you have lived, where you have travelled and your education.


C. Your pitch


Please include a three-sentence description of your novel, such as might appear in a preview of new novels in The Bookseller magazine. Treat this as a thirty-second Hollywood pitch.


D. A detailed synopsis


Construct a document showing how your novel is constructed and put together.


E. Laying out the first fifty pages of your full-length novel and the last ten


Your title page must include the book title, your name, address, phone number and email.


Your contents page must show chapter headings or numbers as appropriate.


Layout requirements:


  • Use 1.5 spacing.

  • Have wide margins - at least 1 inch on both sides with 1.5 inches top and bottom.

  • Sequential pagination at the bottom of each page. Make it small and pale so as not to distract from reading.

  • Insert your surname, as author, bottom right-hand corner in feint.

  • Indent each paragraph.

  • Four line breaks between sections, marked by a central line of asterisks.

  • Print single sided.


Choosing a font


Your choice of font for your novel is all important. Instead of sticking to your old familiar favourite, you need to review the wonderful selection of fonts that are readily available. Select one that seems particularly appropriate to the period or atmosphere of your work. Your novel will be enhanced by your discriminating choice of font and it will add some character to your submission.


Editors and publishers can be intrigued when they have a typescript in a font that they are not already overly familiar with. If in doubt, print out a page of your typescript in different fonts and ask a jury of your friends and family to say which font works best. Having selected your font, use it consistently and do not mix it with others.

Select a font size that is easy to read and that is appropriate to the novel. Most computers have around five hundred fonts, but there are thousands available online.

F. Before sending your submission:

UK writers:

  • Please provide a correctly stamped self-addressed envelope or jiffy bag.

  • Please note, we only reply by post and never by email.


Overseas writers:

  • We shall not return sample material. It is unfortunately too complicated to do so.

  • If we are interested in your submission we shall let you know by email within three weeks of receipt. You will not hear from us if we decide not to pursue your submission.


We aim to respond to submissions within three weeks of receipt, but this can vary.


If we are unable to help, or offer you representation, we shall not comment on your work. This is because we do not have the time.


Please remember that all submissions must be sent with a stamped self-addressed envelope. We do not reply to submissions without a stamped self-addressed envelope.


CDLA does not accept email submissions.

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