Typescript length should be between 35,000 and 45,000 words, the ideal length is a little closer to 35,000 than to 45,000 All submissions should be made by email to, firstname.lastname@example.org, attaching the work as a Word file and should include a covering letter, synopsis, and the complete text of the work. The manuscript should also include a title page, an example of which can be seen here. Sample title page.
Please also take the time to familiarise yourself with our house style.
Will my book suit the BHW series?
Black Horse Westerns are typically around 35,000 to 45,000 words in length. Essentially they are tales about how the West was won, about the migration westwards, conflicts between ranchers and sodbusters, Indians and the European invaders, North and South, the attempts to establish law and order, etc.
Is there anything considered unsuitable?
Obviously violence figures very largely in these conflicts, as does rape occasionally – or romance, but gratuitous violence or excessively detailed descriptions of sexual encounters are not considered to be appropriate or necessary. Sexual encounters should finish at the bedroom door.
We prefer not to include stereotypical Red Indians typecast as ‘baddies’, but as characters in their own right. It is acceptable to use the term ‘Redskin’ or similar in dialogue, but otherwise it is better to refer to the character by name or using his/her tribe name. Basically, we want a good yarn that will appeal to everyone.
How historically and geographically accurate do I need to be?
Many readers of Black Horse Westerns have a detailed knowledge of the history of the Wild West, so if actual historical events play a part in your narrative it is as well to check on the relevant dates and outcomes.
If introducing real life historical characters make sure you are acquainted with the basic essentials of their life stories: dates of birth and death; dates, locations and outcomes of their most famous (or infamous) exploits. This applies particularly to events and battles during the Civil War, but also to famous heists, robberies and gun battles.
The building of the railway system accelerated the development of the West, often affecting the prosperity or otherwise of newly burgeoning townships. A good deal of financial finagling went on with regard to the purchase of land, rights of way etc. Authors should have a basic knowledge (or at least know where to check the facts) of what railway lines connected where and when.
It is as well to be aware of at least the basic mechanisms of the various types of firearm used in the 19th C. American West: Army Colts (including Peacemaker), Navy Colts, Smith & Wessons, Sharps, and Deringers (if manufactured by Henry Deringer) or derringers if referring to a general type of small pistol, (often favoured by women because of being easily concealed!), among many others. (According to the Dictionary of the American West (very useful if you can lay hands on a copy) cowboys never referred to their handguns as ‘pistols’; to them a ‘pistol’ was ‘a green hand’, an inexperienced cowboy’, or ‘a pocket flask of booze’. However, there is probably no need for authors to avoid referring to a ‘pistol’ in the sense of a firearm).
Make sure that references to climate, and particularly extremes of weather conditions are meteorologically probable in the region in which the action is set, and avoid historical anachronisms when referring to recorded extreme weather events, e.g.: droughts, floods, tornadoes, great freezes etc.
How do I submit a manuscript?
To submit a manuscript for consideration, please send it by email to Mollie Broadhead at, email@example.com. Most types of files are acceptable but we prefer to receive the book in one single file as opposed to one file per chapter.
What happens once I have submitted a manuscript?
Once we receive your submission, we will assess its suitability for the Black Horse list and aim to be in touch within four to six weeks with a decision. Sometimes it may be possible to provide you with feedback from the reader. Upon acceptance you will receive a contract outlining the terms we would offer.
What happens once my manuscript has been accepted?
Once we have accepted your manuscript for publication it will be copy edited, after which you will have an opportunity to read the edited script. The book is then typeset and proof read and finally printed, in the UK.
How long does the production process take?
There are many variables in book publishing but on average the production process takes approximately 7-8 months.
Will my book be available as an ebook as well?
Your book will be available as both a hardback and an ebook. We make ebook sales through our website, Amazon, and iTunes amongst others. Our books are also distributed throughout the UK, US, Australia, Europe and the rest of the world through our representatives and stockholding distributors.