SD welcomes work from all, and does not discriminate based on country, creed, color, sex organs, sex identity, preferred sex positions, heart's desire, age, eye color, sports agility, handedness, or lunar sign.
Or, in more tamed lingo:
We embrace and encourage women, people of color, people with disabilities, LGBT writers, immigrants, internationals, and other writers who feel marginalized by mainstream madness.
We are inspired by varied voices fractured in the current climate. Offering here, haven. We are open to those who've published many a book, and to those who've never published a book.
We look for work that is taut and raw, real as our own flesh quivering in the winter light. We thirst for work that breathes with an invisibly divine shudder when summer resurges once more.
We are open to poetry and prose that is and makes new, and genre-bending cross-pollinating trans elocutions too.
Rooted reveling, revealing.
"Let the beauty you love be what you do"
We believe in you!
Lifting the Veil Off the Quivering Bride;
A Spuyten Duyvil Guide
Spuyten Duyvil is a small publishing house—and a communal endeavor. We design each book by ourselves—this effort takes tremendous devotion and regenerative energy. We direct our highest selves thus because we believe that innovative writers need a safe place—a wild open field— in which to ululate, incant, and offer their voices.
We relish work that is and makes new. New not in a trendy, cliquey niche. New with staying power. New of the timeless immortal, illuminating variety. Work that dives deep below the surface, seeing light move under the outer dross. Work steeped in Spirit and Eros. We love lyrical lands and sonorous seas, where music washes over us, commingling meaning with underbelly rhythm. Corresponding sight and scent with inner sense. We are not as titillated by straight up narrative/traditional work, or super cerebral feats, unless these hold an especially bright spark. And conceptual art, you ask? Just between us, conceptual art is like making love to a cement wall.
Genres that we consider:
Poetry, Poetics, Experimental Prose, Creative Non-fiction, Non-fiction (of literary interest), Creative Memoir, Translations, Art, Photography, Collaborations between Writers/Artists, Hybrid/Trans/Cross-pollinating genres.
Before submitting your work
Please familiarize yourself with the sense and sensibility of SD, including our aesthetics and core. Peruse our website and/or read some of our authors’ works.
Because we understand that gifted writers are often struggling for survival, we do not ask for a reading fee. Instead, we ask you to support our press by purchasing our books whenever you are (financially able and) inspired by their contents.
Likewise, we do not hold yearly contests for emerging authors (which require a contest submission fee). Instead, we remain open year round to new authors, and ask you to support our press by purchasing our books, whenever you can.
Join our community by purchasing one of our books
on our website whenever you see the
A brief statement about the nature of being a small publisher:
Publishing experimental poetry and fiction does not produce much revenue. You'd be surprised how few copies sell, even with a strong marketing push.
For a pragmatic education on the tender business of publishing poetry/experimental fiction, please read this rivetingly refreshing post by Reb Livingston (of Queen Mob's Teahouse).
There are two good interviews with Jessa Crispin in The Guardian that we like:
We are led to Believe a Lie
When we see not Thro the Eye
So the desire to publish and be published must arise from somewhere beyond any craven lust for fame or money.
There must be a divine inner core that seeks to connect to a wider sphere of open ears through the vessel of voice.
What moves you?
Please let us know what inspired you to submit to SD, and why you feel your manuscript corresponds with SD’s vision.
Our authors are directly involved in the marketing of their own books.
Though our title list is varied and very long, we are a small publishing house. We can’t underscore this enough. We do not have the resources to invest in major publicity. We can suggest avenues for reviews and advertising. We do send out a limited number of review copies (hardcopy) to a select group of journals where we deem each book has a chance at actually being seen. We don’t go hog wild though, since sending out review copies is costly, time consuming, and wasteful, often leading to books sitting on a distant desk unread. Pdfs are accepted at major review outlets and that is a preferred way of forwarding review copies to most institutions. We do seek reviews by reviewers who are in our orbit and who we believe will correspond with our author’s vision. In general, over the course of thirty years in publishing, we’ve discovered that ads do not usually ad up to much real life recognition. Social media has blessedly made publicity cheap and easy—and often can be quite effective. Authors are responsible for organizing their own readings and book parties, but we can assist with suggestions and connecting authors to venues.
In your cover letter
Please tell us your ideas for placing your book in your community’s hands and hearts. If you wish, please note too your favorite local bookstores where you'd like your work to appear—this will help us envision how to get your book out into your local community.
SD titles usually take between 6-12 months to produce. The production timeline is largely dependent on the complexity of the project, and the backlog of ongoing SD projects in production. Authors work with SD to set a pub date which is agreed upon in the contract. This ensures that authors know their pub date in advance, allowing them to organize readings and book parties.
Unlike many presses, SD believes authors should have the ability to choose their aesthetics for their book cover. We are open to hearing what authors envision for their covers, and/or using images which authors find. SD allows authors to select any image(s) of the author’s choosing, provided the rights are easy to attain. If the author does not have a specific image already chosen, SD designs covers that are in keeping with the author’s vision for their work, and works directly with authors to ensure this. Our managing editor, T Thilleman, has a background in the arts, and takes delight in choosing or creating art for book covers. To get a sense of SD’s book cover designs, please visit our home page and take a look.
All SD books are distributed to the trade through Ingram (the largest distributor of books in the world), and Amazon.
Years ago, we housed many thousands of copies of books at a major distributor, in the hopes of putting more books on bookstore shelves. Using a major distributor nearly led to our demise, since the distributor destroyed books that weren’t purchased and charged heavy storage fees.
We also had a long history (nearly twenty years) of distributing books through SPD in the Bay Area. Unfortunately, (though we love the SPD team and admire their work) we found this method of distribution no longer economically or physically practical. No matter how much we love the culture of belonging to SPD, we need to survive.
As our concern for survival (both for ourselves and Gaia) has increased, we began to feel increasingly ill at ease with any method of publishing which requires using natural resources to print books that sit gathering dust in a warehouse till they are, if not purchased, discarded.
Through Ingram and Amazon, we have found a more economical and environmentally friendly way of reaching our readers. And happily, we have found sales not dwindling with our new distribution tools, but picking up.
SD has a long history with printing, from the early days of hand-bound offset printing to the how-now of POD.
In the early days (think the 80’s of Madonna and Prince), Thilleman studied and worked with master print maker Joe Wilfer on the Chuck Close project. Thilleman took courses on book making at the Center for Book Arts, New York, which woke him to the wonders of how to print by sheer determination and ink-soaked hands. Then Thilleman crammed a small letterpress in his tiny Willamsburg apartment, and by 1985, Meeting Eyes Bindery, a future imprint of Spuyten Duyvil, was born.
The nineties and early aughts saw SD move toward a model of printing offset/digital with small and large scale printers from New York, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Michigan, Maryland, and Quebec. We continue to work with these printers to this day, especially on visually complex or textured projects. We are truly grateful to smaller printers, who are crafts(wo)men of a nearly lost art.
Having fully entered this century, we use a combination of POD and offset/digital printing, depending on the project. When manuscripts contain collages, art, or require a special grade of paper, we work with authors to come up with the right printing mode. Despite the nostalgia we share around the sweet glory of handmade paper and the intimacy of custom offset printing, POD is truly a savior to publishing, since it allows no natural resources to be wasted or tossed aside. With current technology, the POD options of paper type and ink are nearly endless, creating custom-designed, beautiful works. All POD means is that books are always available, but they won’t be printed until ordered by a live being or bookstore. Instead of sitting cold in a warehouse, books will be housed in the ether, until they are called upon to enter the real world.
We make every effort to offer each SD title to the marketplace as an ebook (in addition to the physical book form). Some mss are very difficult to convert—poetry mss (with their visual leaps and irregular spacings) are notorious for getting warped in the ebook conversion process. Often, in order to preserve the integrity of the work, we choose not to release poetry titles as ebooks.
We work with small bookstores to offer them means to showcase our books. Though they are vital to literary culture, many indie bookstores are struggling, and we often find ways to give them copies of books at low or no cost. We set up monthly ordering systems with preferred bookstores, and are open to adding new bookstores to our list.
SD uses a standard publisher's contract for all authors. Contracts vary for each project and are negotiable. This contract includes information about author royalties and granted author copies of books, in addition to standard rights of author/publisher.
Like most small publishing houses, we do not pay author advances. Instead, SD authors receive a small amount of author copies for free (number of copies dependant on the size of project), and author royalties, as per individual contract.
Should you decide SD is a good match for your work, we look forward to receiving your submission, and diving in to your conscious stream!
Who. What. When. Where. Why.
We only consider full-length mss. (We do not publish chapbooks.) We prefer receiving mss. in pdf format.
Please submit a formal cover letter—including an explanation of why your work is in alignment with SD’s community of spirit, and details about your vision for marketing your work—plus a brief bio.
Because of the high volume of submissions we are only able to respond to queries or submissions we would like to pursue. We send these responses usually within 3-6 months of receipt for poetry submissions and within 6-9 months of receipt for prose submissions.
As writers, (who endure the wild roller-coaster ride of submitting ourselves), we understand the immense gesture that sharing your work entails. We respect and honor the gift you are offering here, and will attend to it mindfully, reading deep.
Unlike many presses, which are notorious for terse lack of response or stone cold reticence, we offer our best to communicate with authors promptly and courteously throughout the publishing process.
We respectfully ask you to treat us with this same courtesy in your communications with us. We are not robots or corporate goliaths—we are fellow human beings who do this work because we believe in you and your art and what your art can do in the world.
We request your mindful attention to your correspondence with us, and as much kindness and compassion as your resources allow—we will do our utmost to offer you these basic sentient decencies in all our energy exchanges. Over these past thirty years in publishing, we've discovered one resilient truth—a little loving kindness can go a long way!
spuyteneditors at gmail dot com