Please note: Submissions will be on pause from 1 December 2023 to 1 February 2024. We are not able to consider submissions sent during this period.
THW publishes literary fiction and nonfiction, poetry, and scholarly nonfiction. We welcome inquiries from prospective authors, and we are always happy to receive manuscripts or proposals that fall within our areas of interest.
Before you submit a manuscript or proposal to us, please read some of our books and take a look at our online catalogue.
Most of our authors live in Aotearoa New Zealand and/or their work is suitable primarily for a local audience. Please note that we are not able to consider submissions from overseas writers whose work does not have a connection with Aotearoa New Zealand.
Scholarly nonfiction in particular should be suitable primarily for a New Zealand audience. A connection with Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington is an advantage but not a necessity.
For submission of scholarly nonfiction, we require a proposal and some sample text (ideally the first 10,000 to 20,000 words of your manuscript).
For submissions of fiction, poetry, memoir and personal essay collections, we require a finished manuscript.
We do not publish young adult or children’s fiction. We rarely take on straight genre fiction such as fantasy, crime, romance and horror. We also do not publish very short works of nonfiction or fiction (usually, anything shorter than approximately 20,000 words).
How to submit your work
All submissions must include:
—a brief cover letter or email that tells us a little about you and your book, and any relevant publishing history;
—a synopsis of your book, if relevant.
We prefer to receive submissions by email, but will also accept submissions by post.
If emailing your submission, please attach the manuscript as a Word document or PDF. Please title the file with your name and the name of the work. Make sure your manuscript is in A4 format, with the pages numbered. Please send your manuscript as a single file; do not separate chapters into different files.
If sending a hard copy in the post, make sure your manuscript is typed and printed single-sided on A4 paper, with pages numbered. We can return your manuscript if you include a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Please make sure you have an electronic file of your manuscript.
Te Herenga Waka University Press
Postal address: PO Box 600, Wellington 6140, New Zealand
Street address: 6 Kelburn Parade, Kelburn, Wellington 6012, New Zealand
Phone: +64 4 463 6580
How long will it take before I hear back from Te Herenga Waka University Press about my submission?
We receive many submissions, so it usually takes us up to three months to respond, but longer during busy periods.
Are you able to provide editorial feedback?
We’re sorry to say that we are not able to provide editorial feedback.
I have previously had a book published by a different publisher. Are you able to consider my current project?
We will assess your work on its merit; however, as we have a full list of authors and forthcoming books, we are not often able to take on mid-career authors who have parted ways with a previous publisher.
I have self-published a book. Will Te Herenga Waka University Press consider it for wider publication?
Unfortunately, we can’t consider full-length works that have already been published, even if they have been self-published or published only in a digital format. We can consider submissions of original work only.
What level of success should a writer have before submitting a manuscript?
We assess each manuscript on its quality, independent of any recognition the writer has received. However, most writers who publish a first book with us have been publishing their work in print and online for several years. This is especially the case for poets. The same does not necessarily apply to novelists and writers of long-form nonfiction, though they may have published excerpts of their work.
What do most unsuccessful submissions get wrong?
Many authors submit manuscripts to us without finding out what kinds of books we publish and that we only consider submissions from writers whose work has a connection with Aotearoa New Zealand. Please make sure you read some of our books before sending your work.
Some manuscripts come to us that have already been self-published, and we can't consider these for publication with Te Herenga Waka University Press.
Some writers re-submit a manuscript very quickly after we have opted not to take it on. If you would like to re-submit work to us, please wait at least one year before you do so. Seek feedback from others if possible, try some different things out with your writing, and have fun with your work. Write to please yourself first.
Some writers send their manuscript to multiple publishers in the same email, with a cover letter meant for all. It is best not to do this! Instead, think carefully about where your work would fit best, and approach publishers individually.
I want to write my life story. Where can I get advice about writing it?
Just as with fiction and poetry, it takes time and practice to write strong nonfiction. Look for courses in memoir and life writing. Some continuing education programmes offer these courses, as do polytechs and universities. For nonfiction submissions, just as in fiction, we look for strong, compelling voices, novel perspectives, insight, craft and story.
I’m a young writer and I want to write a book one day. Where do I start?
It’s important that all writers read widely, so read as much as you can. Look for writers’ events in your community – readings, talks, festival events – and go to hear writers speak about their work. This also helps other writers and keeps our literary community strong. You might find it helpful to join a writing group, where you can give and receive feedback on work in progress. A creative writing workshop can also energise your writing.
Carry a notebook with you and jot things down. Become a keen observer of your world. Learn to take on criticism that is helpful and to discard what is unhelpful.
The Exercise Book (2011) contains a wealth of writing ideas and exercises for poetry, fiction and script-writing. The Fuse Box (2017) collects essays from New Zealand writers about the creative process.
Many online resources offer advice to writers. The New Zealand Society of Authors offers good, wide-ranging advice and information about writing and publishing your work in New Zealand.