Single- or Co-Author Story Submission Guidelines


The information on this page is provided publicly to: 1. facilitate our contributors finding it; 2. help interested parties learn more about what we will and won’t published; and 3. ensure transparency.


Must have had at least one story previously edited by the Duck Prints Press staff for one of our anthologies and/or for our Patreon/ko-fi. No outside/unsolicited manuscripts will be considered. Individuals interested in publishing with us must first become involved in the Press by applying to one of our anthologies and then either must contribute to that anthology or must accept an invitation to participate in the Press and contribute a Patreon/ko-fi story. If we have never edited a story you have written, we will not consider your solo submission.

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Current Editing/Publishing Capacity (as of winter, 2023)

Novels (50,000 words or more): maximum four per year.

Novella/Novelette (10,000–50,000 words): capacity will depend on how much interest we get both in this length and in novels—more-or-less, two novellas = one novel’s worth of editing.

Short Stories (0 to 10,000 words): one to two a week.

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Selection Criteria

  • We will favor authors who have complete manuscripts.
  • We will favor authors who we know, from experience, tend to need less editing (solely because we don’t have much capacity at the moment; projects that require less work for us will mean we can publish more).
  • We will favor authors who have ideas/partial manuscripts who have actually completed novels or novel-length fanfics before (because having a track record of completing novel-length projects, whether those are original or fanworks, speaks to ability to completing more—we’re trying to avoid expending a lot of our effort on projects that aren’t ultimately completed).
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Restrictions on Story Submissions

  • We will not accept works that portray bigotry in a positive light. Of course your story can include all manner of dark themes, characters with problematic features, etc.—read this restriction as meaning, basically, “don’t write stories where the Nazis were actually just misunderstood, are the good guys, and win.”
  • We will not publish works that portray pre-pubescent children in sexual relationships. We support your right to write this, but ask that you respect our right to decline to edit or publish it.
  • We would prefer to avoid stories where there is a large age difference in a sexual/romantic relationship and one of the characters is underage. Read this restriction as meaning, “we ask that your thousands-of-years-old vampire woo characters who are at least 16-or-so (given that age of consent varies by location).” Depending on the story, the age(s) of the characters in question, and the nature of their relationship(s), we might be flexible on this item.

The general gist of our few restrictions is: we are anti-censorship, which means we support authors who wish to create works like the above, even when the topic being written about is heinous to us; however, being anti-censorship doesn’t mean we’re comfortable publishing stories with these themes or that we want to use our platform to promote them.

In addition to the above restrictions, note that because of triggers among our current editing staff, we may have trouble finding an editor for works featuring the following themes/prominent plot elements:

  • harm to children/death of a child 
  • CSA (childhood sexual abuse)
  • rape/non-con 
  • MCD (major character death)
  • unhappy ending
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Expectations for Authors

  • You will Write The Thing.
  • If the work in question started as a fanfiction, you will be responsible for thoroughly “scrubbing” all references to the source fandom and ensuring that the work is no longer recognizable as a fanfiction. (We will absolutely help you, but you will have to take the lead on “barcode scrubbing.”)
  • You will respond promptly (within 7 days) to attempts to contact you through your preferred contact method(s) and keep the Duck Prints Press staff “looped” on delays, issues, etc.
  • You will be open to conceptual and copy editing.
  • You will be gracious and understanding with your editor(s)—even if you do not agree with them, you must understand they are working in good faith to polish your work, and treat them politely. (We encourage you to open discussions about proposed edits you disagree with!)
  • You will use at least one beta reader. Beta readers will be used in the “classic” sense: once the manuscript is “as good as we can get it,” but before final edits, one or more outside beta readers (can be from within DPP or not) will read the manuscript with an eye for confusing passages, sections that read poorly, etc. Their input will ensure that the author and their editor(s) have not gotten “so deep in the story” that they missed issues and will be used to guide any final revisions for clarity, story consistency, etc.
  • Depending on the topic(s) your novel engages with/explores, you may also be asked to use one or more sensitivity readers. Depending on the subject, you may be expected to provide sensitivity readers, because we may not have anyone for your specific subject. You will help with marketing/advertising/publicizing the project. We do NOT expect you to pay for advertising, but you will be expected to help spread the word, do what you can to promote your own work, potentially reach out to book-bloggers, etc.—the more effort you’re willing to put in on promotion, the more time DPP staff will have for working on other tasks and supporting your novel in other ways.
  • You will never be asked to pay for anything up front under any circumstances. If your project fails to fund, you will never be expected to “pay back” funds that Duck Prints Press has expended on your behalf, UNLESS you have violated the terms of your contract!
  • You retain copyright/ownership of your work AND of our edits on your work; you merely grant us whatever rights are agreed upon within the contract.
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What Duck Prints Press Contributes

  • We will provide you with a clear, concise contract outlining your rights and ours, as well as pay rates and percentages for your crowdfunding campaign and/or royalties on website sales. We will negotiate with you until all involved parties are satisfied with the contract terms.
  • We will edit your book through multiple edit runs.
  • We will help you recruit beta readers and sensitivity readers to our best efforts and will pay them on your behalf, with this money to be “paid back” to the Press when the project funds. If the project doesn’t fund, you will never be responsible for paying these expenses.
  • We will typeset your book for print.
  • We will format your book for e-publication.
  • We will provide cover art and/or other art as needed for smaller projects, however not every project smaller than a novel will be eligible for its own cover art. However, you are free to commission an artist for cover art yourself, should you wish to, we only ask you to work with us to make sure the art is up to our standards and works for our purposes.
  • We will work with you to develop marketing material(s), promos, tag lists, etc., that meet our standards and your approval.
  • We will publicize you as an author, using only information you provide and approve.
  • FOR NOVELS ONLY: We will manage your crowdfunding campaign (…unless you really don’t want us to…) on a crowdfunding site chosen jointly by you and the Press. We are currently open to Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Seed & Spark, though we would potentially consider other funding platforms if you know of ones appropriate for a project of this type, so feel free to propose alternatives.
  • FOR NOVELS ONLY: We will work with you to choose merchandise items appropriate to your campaign and help you recruit artists for your cover and selected merchandise items. We will front the money to pay for artist services, with this money to be “paid back” to the Press when the project funds. If the project doesn’t fund, you will never be responsible for paying these expenses. We currently recommend that authors choose three to four of the following merchandise items: art prints, bookmarks, stickers, pins, keychains, magnets. Note that many variations of these are possible in terms of size, shape, materials they’re made from, etc.. If you’re interested in offering a merchandise item not listed here, please let us know—we can check if we have a vendor that offers it and/or research to find new vendors. (We’d love more ideas for cool not-too-expensive merchandise items!) NOTE: we are currently only considering more-or-less “flat” merchandise items for solo novel campaigns because of the expense of shipping larger/heavier/bulkier items.
  • We will list your book on our website for the time indicated on your contract. When that time expires, we will contact you to negotiate a new contract, or you may choose to remove your work from our catalog.
  • We will manage the funds received from your project and distribute your share of crowdfunding profits and/or royalties (as applicable to your project) in a timely fashion and in accordance with the terms in your contract.
  • We may in the future be able to offer print-on-demand services for your book, but please note that this is not possible right now
  • We are not able to offer advances at this time!
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Note that we reserve the right to amend/edit this set of guidelines as we continue to refine our process for working with authors writing solo works.

Sample Budget

Sample Author Contract

Interest Survey: if you are an author who has worked with us and is interested in working with us on a solo story as per the guidelines above, please e-mail us and we can send you the Interest Survey. (For understandable reasons, we’re not going to post this link publicly.)

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How will solo submissions be evaluated?

The basic eligibility and selection criteria are discussed above. Beyond that, we don’t have a fantastic answer to this yet because the management team hasn’t been sure how much of a system we’ll NEED – ’cause we have no realistic way to estimate how much interest there’ll be. IF we get more interest than we have availability, we’ll favor first:

  • people who have complete manuscripts (because we can get to work immediately)
  • people we know from experience don’t need as much editing (cause if a work needs less of our time, then we can do more)

If that leaves more than 4 people, we’ll ask everyone for pitches and pick based on those, though I can’t say what that process will look like yet. It’ll definitely consume a management team meeting or three to figure it out.

But in the end, I’d say honestly that no one, NO ONE, who is involved with the Press already, is in good standing, and expresses interest in publishing wish us is gonna get a “no,” they’ll just get a “not now.” We’re going to growing our capacity a lot once 3/4 is done (adding more editors, etc.) and so hopefully we’ll be able to take most of what people give us, we just may need a little time to get it all slated into the schedule in a way we can handle.

I have outlines/ideas/started drafts for multiple stories. How should I pick?

We’d be open to hearing multiple if you want help picking! though advanced warning that if you talk to me my answer is almost guaranteed to be “these all sound good write all three eventually maybe this one first?”

Will my editor(s) exercise editorial control of my story?

As little as humanly possible. We WILL do concept editing – if something just doesn’t work or doesn’t make sense, if we spot plot holes, etc., we are going to say something, but we will never say (for example) “rewrite it this way because it’ll sell better.” We might say: “focus on THIS ONE cause we think it’ll sell better.” But in the end the choice will be yours and we’ll never say “no, cause money” over a proposed story idea.

At want point in the writing and editing process will crowdfunding campaigns be launched?

We expect to crowd-fund a novel when it is more-or-less done. Like, if the final edit run/clean up isn’t finished, that’s okay, but we want to be able to always guarantee that the book people are being asked for $$ for already essentially exists. This also means we can be a lot more flexible when Life Happens, because as we especially discovered in 2022, life is happening a LOT.

How many “extra” (as in, non-fulfillment) copies will be printed as part of crowdfunding campaigns? I’m asking because I’m interested in submitting my work to Rainbow Crate.

As regards Rainbow Crate specifically, we’ve looked into this. If they need print copies and the author is okay with that, the Press will advance the money for those no questions asked. We know Rainbow Crate is good for paying for it, and we’ll get back the money we invest, so that’s a non-issue.

For other cases of extra copies/non-fulfillment copies, that’s something we’d happily discuss with specific authors when the moment comes, and we can also write in a contract clause that covers our ability/willingness to print more in the future depending on the situation. Adding Print-on-Demand to our website (which we expect to be able to offer by the end of 2023) should help for cases where only one or a few copies are needed, and the person buying it would just…pay…and obviously the royalties scale and all would have to be different for a print-on-demand item since the printing cost comes out of the purchase price. For larger scale things like Rainbow Crate, we’ll do the leg work to vet if it’s a place we’re not familiar with, and, assuming everything checks out, the Press can pay for a print run.

I submitted an interest check. How long will it take for me to hear back?

More or less as soon as we see that you’ve done it! If you don’t hear from us within a week or two, you can always drop a note in our Discord or e-mail.