Imagine your place on the bookshelf of the future



A new, unagented and unpublished writer with a brilliant idea that belongs on the bookshelf of the future.

You are someone who feels that the publishing industry doesn’t adequately represent people from your background or with your experiences – and you want to change that. You might be from a BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) or LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer) community, from a socio-economically marginalised background, or have a disability.

It doesn’t matter if your book isn’t quite finished yet, or if you think it needs a bit of editing before it’s ready; we’re looking for someone who is committed to being a writer and who is ready to work hard to develop their idea.

If this sounds like you then we’d love to read your book.



We are Hodder & Stoughton, Headline, John Murray Press, Quercus, Orion and Little, Brown, part of one of the UK’s largest publishers. Together we publish a wide range of fiction and non-fiction, from edge-of-your-seat crime thrillers to smart women’s fiction, and from books by YouTube stars to autobiographies from the world’s best-known sportspeople. We are proud to be the publishers of Stephen King, Martina Cole, Jodi Picoult, The Sidemen, Stieg Larsson, Trevor Noah, David Mitchell, Andrea Levy, Katie Piper, Mo Farah, Graham Norton, and many more.



We are always on the lookout for brilliant new talent – for writers and books that surprise us, inspire us, make us laugh, make us cry or tell us something that we didn’t know about the world.

Specifically, we are looking for novels and non-fiction projects from new voices.


  • A novel is a work of fiction that is 50,000 words or longer. It can be in any genre.


  • A non-fiction project is a work of non-fiction that is 50,000 words or longer. It can be on any subject.


So whether you’re writing science fiction or serious non-fiction, if you think you’re the next Martina Cole, or if have written a story to rival Stephen King, we want to read it.


At the moment, we aren’t looking for the following types of book:


  • children’s books (though we are accepting Young Adult fiction)
  • illustrated non-fiction and cookery
  • graphic novels
  • poetry
  • short fiction or short fiction collections



If you are submitting a novel, you will be asked to submit:


  • a three-thousand-word sample from your novel and a two-page synopsis of the book


If you are submitting a non-fiction project, you will be asked to submit:


  • a brief outline (maximum two pages) of the whole book and a three-thousand-word sample of your writing.


The submissions period will open at 12 am GMT on 24 May 2019, and will close on 2 June 2019, at 11.59 pm GMT.

 Terms and conditions

  • We are only able to consider books in English.
  • We are open to submissions from the UK and Republic of Ireland.
  • If you would like to submit a previously self-published novel, please let us know that it was previously self-published and tell us where.
  • This is only a submission. By sending us your manuscript you are not granting us any legal rights to your work.
  • If we decide to turn your work down, we will inform you of our decision and delete your submission.
  • You must be 18 or over to submit.



What is on offer?

We are offering you the chance to have your book read by our editorial team, via a route outside of the mainstream submission process which is via a literary agent. If you are successful we will publish your book with all the commitment and flair that we bring to each and every book we publish, with the aim of reaching the widest possible market.


What will happen to my work after I submit it?

After submitting your work, it will be read and reviewed by an editorial team across the Hodder, Headline, John Murray, Quercus, Orion and Little, Brown. A team of readers will consider each work and decide which books we would like to take forward.


When will I find out if my book has been selected or not?

You will receive an automated email to let you know we have received your submission. We will then, in due course, email everyone with our final decision on their work.


Why are you asking for ‘unagented’ submissions?

The purpose of The Future Bookshelf is to find new, talented writers outside of the established routes to publication. We want to find the writers who wouldn’t ordinarily reach our inbox, so we have specified ‘unagented’ submissions.


What will happen to my book if it is selected?

If your book is selected, that means we love it and want to publish it!

You will be contacted by an editor who loves your book, who works for one of our imprints – Hodder, Headline, John Murray, Quercus, Orion and Little, Brown. We will draw up a full publishing contract and commit to publishing your book under one of these imprints. The contract will include an advance and royalties.

Your book will receive the same treatment as all our other authors – you will work closely with your editor, your publicist and the wider team including sales, marketing and production. You will be consulted at each stage including edits and the cover design. We will distribute and sell your book using all of our channels, in the UK and internationally, and you will have a dedicated publicity and marketing campaign.