Writing for Pen and Sword 

Our friends at Pen and Sword Books (P&S) are keen to commission books on all manner of history and biography as long as the subject is mainstream. They’ve steered away from hyper-local books (ie Swansea workhouses) as they don’t tend to sell as well. However, London is OK. The also avoid anything too niche (ie architects that aren’t household names). As they are traditionally publishers of military history, war-related books are welcomed, as is anything royal. Books that tie in with future anniversaries are good (but publishing is slow so you need to be thinking 2023 onwards).

They are currently keen to expand on their Real series (The Real Sherlock Holmes, The Real Beatrix Potter, The Real Enid Blyton, The Real Dad’s Army are all existing books). Celebrities are also welcome (ie The Real Diana Dors), but they do like their subjects dead. One of the decision-makers loves cartoons the history of Marvel Comics, Dandy, Beano and Garfield are recent commissions.

They are also keen on true crime, especially ‘women who kill’ (Rose West is covered).
Basically, they are very open to ideas and if you look at the website www.pen-and-sword.co.uk, you will get an idea of what they’re publishing.

The Deal

Here’s the rub. The deal isn’t great – £1,000, paid in three instalments – third on signing, third on delivery and third on publication. We appreciate this might put many of you off & we totally understand that but we wanted to extend this offer to our experts who may be interested. The books are 55,000 to 80,000 words, and usually contain up to 32 images. These need to be sourced by the author but P&S can help with libraries and discounted deals.

Next Steps

P&S would need to see a proposal prior to commissioning. This includes a short sample chapter (3,000 words max), short synopsis (half page is OK) and a paragraph of an author biography. Anyone who has been published with P&S previously won’t need to include a sample chapter.
Please contact our team in the first instance to register your interest.