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Writing, Editing, and Publishing Indigenous Stories

Basic Steps for Submitting your work

  • A cover letter/proposal that includes a brief description of the project, its anticipated length, your timeline for completion, and your complete contact information (name, address, telephone number, and e-mail).
  • Include a current curriculum vitae and / or résumé, including citizenship and previous publications. 
  • A description of the project that addresses the questions outlined in the points below:
    • A brief description of the content and focus of the book;
    • Primary audience and market;
    • Length of proposed publication, illustrations, etc;
    • Background of the project.
  • A table of contents.
  • Sample chapters.

Most publishing companies can accommodate online submissions through email or their website. Every publishing company will have a “submissions guidelines” page on their site that will tell you how to send them your work, in addition to how it should be formatted. If you have made a submission to a publisher and have not heard back from them within three months, feel free to email or call to check on the status of your submission.

Publishing Process

Generally, the process is as follows:

1. Start writing!

2. Initial submissions (samples, C.V. etc.). 

3. Discussion and reworking.

4. Publisher acceptance and contracting. 

5. Deliver full manuscript, including graphics, permissions, etc.

6. Creation of book metadata - all the ways the project can be described, from format and estimated page count to cover design. 

7. Copy editing. 

8. Design. 

9. Proofreading. 

10. Indexing, if necessary. 

11. Creating digital files. 

12. Printing. 

13. Print books and electronic editions are sent to distributors. 

14. Marketing and promotion. 


All publishing houses have different requirements or processes for submissions.  Explore the website of each publishing house to ensure you meet their needs. 

For an example of submission information check

Digital Art

If your book has digital art you will want to make sure that the images are clear. The following is a set of tips for submitting works of digital art,

Image Permissions

Images are sometimes useful to include in your work. If you are interested in including images, please be aware that images are not always free of cost. Getting permissions for an image can be a lengthy process. Depending on who owns the rights to the image, they may not even give you permission to use it. 

When considering images that represent Indigenous peoples, it is best to have a discussion with the creator about the content of these images as many Indigenous peoples did not give consent to be photographed. If the creator is not accessible or if they are unable to give you the context of how the photo was taken, bring the image to the community that is represented. They will provide you with moral guidelines surrounding these types of images.