I’m delighted to welcome Melissa Eveleigh, Director of March Hamilton, to my blog today.
Based in south-west England, March Hamilton specialises in publishing children’s and young adult fiction. Melissa took over as Director in spring 2018 and was named as one of London Book Fair’s 30 under 30s Trailblazers 2019.
During March Hamilton’s open submission window last year, I was lucky enough to be offered a contract for my middle grade contemporary fantasy novel.
They will be holding their second open submission window this summer and Melissa is here to spill the beans.
Hi Melissa, thanks so much for joining me.
1. Please can you tell me more about yourself and March Hamilton?
I am a (semi) recent graduate of the BA Publishing Media degree at Oxford Brookes, living in Somerset with a 12 year old Jack Russell and three small rodents! I have been running March Hamilton for just over a year and was shortlisted as an LBF Trailblazer which was absolutely incredible.
I took over March Hamilton in early 2018 and re-launched the company soon after. We specialise in publishing fiction for children and young adults, with a new focus on underrepresented stories and authors. My aim with March Hamilton is to challenge the London-centric nature and to publish stories by authors who very often don’t have access to an industry that still has so many gatekeepers and barriers in place.
Working with authors to produce high quality stories that reflect the experiences of young people is so important to me, especially in these complicated political times. It is vital that all children have both an escape from their reality and that they have a means of navigating their surroundings.
Having a close relationship with authors is important for any indie and this is also something that I focus on with my work. Building lasting relationships is the key to succeeding as a business and it definitely helps that all of my authors are absolutely lovely people who are so talented at what they do. I want to be able to champion these great women whose stories are going to be well loved by young bibliophiles everywhere.
I fully believe that books are the antidote for the bleak world we are currently inhabiting, and I hope that my work with March Hamilton will be able to produce books that will offer hope and joy in the difficult times ahead!
2. What submissions will you be accepting during your open window?
I will be accepting picture books, Middle Grade fiction and Young Adult fiction again this year. As long as it’s fiction for young people, I will be happy to receive it!
I accept manuscripts from authors who are un-agented, or from agents. Truly, anything goes!
3. What are you particularly hoping lands in your inbox this year?
· I am really hoping to read some LGBT+ fiction in any of the age categories this year.
· Some light-hearted and outright silly MG fiction would really get me excited.
· Also, if anyone has some sex-positive YA that would be very welcomed.
Aside from those things I am very open to what I receive, and it is always an absolute pleasure to read the product of lots of hard work. Last year’s submissions were a joy to read and I am hoping to receive even more submissions this year!
4. What makes a submission really stand out to you?
Strong characters with a unique point of view! I love to feel attached to characters, especially as initial submissions are only three chapters for MG and YA.
I also like to see different takes on tropes that have become common in fiction for children. It’s so important to think outside the box and really wow a reader with a perspective they may never have considered before.
Never underestimate the importance of a covering email either. I like to see the personality of a writer coming through in their initial email as I work so closely with authors it is important to get to know who they are before proceeding any further.
5. How and when can writers submit to you?
Dates for open submissions are:
8th-14th July: Submission window for BAME authors
15th-21st July: Submission window for working class and low income authors
22nd-28th July: Submission window for LGBTQ+ authors
29th July- 4th August: Submission window for disabled authors/authors with chronic illness
12th August-1st September: Fully open submission window
We only accept email submissions which can be sent to email@example.com
Full details for how to format your submission can be located at www.marchhamilton.com/submissions
6. I understand March Hamilton is still growing. What are your future plans for the business?
Short term, I want to commission a whole host of diverse authors with brilliant stories to really expand March Hamilton’s list. I also want to keep working to build a community around the books I publish and support creatives who wish to go into publishing.
Long term, I would love to build a successful business and brand and get March Hamilton well known throughout the country. I want March Hamilton to be around for years to come, maybe even branch out geographically into other areas underserved by publishing.
Thank you so much for all this information, Melissa!
Good luck to everyone who submits!
You can find March Hamilton in the following places: