*** Submissions are currently closed. ***

Basic Information for Authors

Mainly Murder Press (MMP) is a royalty-paying independent publishing company. Our niche is mystery novels with an emphasis on New England-based stories by New England authors. However, mysteries authored by others, even if the stories are set outside the region, will also be considered for publication.

MMP publishes and distributes e-books in a variety of formats and trade paperbacks, when a title is deemed marketable as such. Authors retain all other rights. MMP titles are available via our broad-based distribution network, which includes Ingram Book Co., Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, as well as Untreed Reads and its affiliates, which make our books easily available to libraries around the world.


MMP offers a three-year author contract for worldwide e-book rights. Royalty payments to authors are 50% of net sale (what we actually are paid by various resellers) for e-books. Mainly Murder Press charges no fees of any kind to authors for editorial services, cover art design and production, file formatting, distribution and ISBNs.

Trade Paperback Option

All MMP titles are published as e-books. Authors with a proven paperback sales record will also be offered paperback publication.

However, we recognize that many first-time authors wish to publish their titles in paperback to sell at personal appearances, place on sale at local bookstores, offer on consignment, distribute for review purposes, or sell on their personal websites. To accommodate these authors, MMP offers a trade paperback publishing option, a convenient and cost-effective alternative to other programs.

If your title is accepted for publication by MMP as an e-book only, you may add the paperback option to your publication package for a one-time fee of $395 (waived for authors who pre-pay an initial order of 100 copies at 40% discount at the time of publication.) This option includes:

  • inclusion of the trade paperback version in your three-year contract
  • a professionally designed full-wrap cover based on your e-book cover, formatted to the specifications of Lightning Source, the printing arm of Ingram Book Company
  • a fully edited .pdf text file formatted to the specifications of Lightning Source
  • distribution (availability for purchase by bookstores, libraries and other resellers) through Amazon and Ingram Book Company, one of the largest wholesalers in the world
  • a Mainly Murder Press ISBN registered with Bowker and Company for the duration of your contract
  • a bar code imprinted with the retail price on the back cover of your title
  • five complimentary print copies
  • the opportunity to purchase copies at a 40% discount for personal resale or publicity
  • free shipping to a single destination on orders of 100 copies or more (a considerable savings – books are heavy!)
  • inclusion on the Mainly Murder Press Website with purchasing links and information

Royalty payments on paperback sales are 15% of what we receive from resellers other than the author. Copies may be purchased for resale by authors at 40% off the retail cover price; however, royalties are not paid on such sales.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can bookstores and libraries order MMP books? Any bookstore or library may order paperback books on a nonreturnable basis directly from MMP. See “Wholesale orders” for complete information. They may order on a returnable basis from Ingram Book. Our print books are also available directly to the consumer on Amazon.com. Libraries and others may order our e-books from Amazon, Untreed Reads, Overdrive, Freading and other e-book distributors.

Are MMP paperbacks printed traditionally? MMP uses Print-on-Demand production to produce gift-quality 5”x 8” trade paperbacks. You’ve probably bought many digitally printed book titles and never noticed any difference between them and offset-printed books. Digital printing is a green alternative to traditional offset printing, which creates huge amounts of waste and pollution. With digital printing we can keep your title available without damaging the environment.

Do you publish the electronic book first? And are there any sales requirements before putting a book into a print version? E-books and paperbacks (if elected) are published simultaneously.

Will I have to do revisions? Will my book be copy edited? Yes to both questions, although revisions will be minor. If a book is accepted for publication, we have found the manuscript to be largely acceptable and will limit ourselves to copy editing, for the most part. If errors or inconsistencies are discovered during this process, the author will be asked to make the necessary corrections.

Do I have to query first? Yes, query first, and send your first three chapters and the best marketing plan you can create. See “Initial Submission” below.

How long will it be before I hear a response on my query? We make every effort to respond to initial queries within 10 days. If a full manuscript is requested, that review may take up to 30 days.

If a contract is offered to me, how long will it be before my book is published? We strive to publish new titles 8 to 10 months following the issuance of a contract. From time to time a title is published more quickly, but editing, design, file formatting and production do require sufficient time.

Do you assign an ISBN and file for copyright in the author’s name? We do assign ISBNs. However, authors are urged to file for copyrights on their own.

Do you consider previously published books? Not often, but special circumstances may apply in the case of authors with brisk sales histories on their backlist titles.

Initial Submission

Before submitting your work to Mainly Murder Press, be sure that your prose has been carefully reviewed for grammatical and typographical errors. Sloppy work will be summarily rejected, so put your best professional foot forward. Please provide us with the following documents as your submissions package emailed to subs@mainlymurderpress.com:

  • Cover Letter. Include the working title of your manuscript and any past publication experience, including books under contract with other publishers and out-of-print titles. Give us the outline of your manuscript, including the word length and a brief synopsis. Be sure to include complete contact information for yourself.
  • Business Plan. Your intention and ability to market your work will count heavily in our decision. Tell us specifically about yourself, your community connections and organizational memberships, and how you intend to promote and market your published manuscript. Do you have a current author website? How else do you plan to participate actively in the marketing of your book?
  • First Three Chapters. Submit these as a Microsoft Word document attached to your email. Do not email your completed manuscript until you are invited to do so. However, please be sure your manuscript is complete before asking us to consider it for publication.
  • Please note:
    We accept ONLY electronic submissions in Microsoft Word 2003 or higher, not hardcopy submissions, and no electronic submissions in Microsoft Works, Mac, or Word Perfect formats.
    We publish only novels in the 50,000 – 70,000 word range.
    No simultaneous submissions. We will respond to your query within 30 days.

If you are invited to submit a complete manuscript, formatting guidelines will be provided to you.