A Guide to the Dostoyevsky Wannabe Publishing Process

This is a resource for writers who we have agreed to work on a book with.

Publishing with Dostoyevsky Wannabe is a lot like 'doing the skate'.


Do the Skate

The publishing process is a bit like “doing the skate”. It’s an intricate process that can seem perplexing at times and the truth is it's not as easy as it looks. This guide should help us to get in co-ordination so that we’re not stamping all over each other’s feet, missing our cues, getting frustrated with each other and generally looking like idiots on the dancefloor.

First time writers sometimes imagine that the work is done as soon as they complete the last word of their manuscript (or make their last edit) and that's fair enough but the truth is a little more complicated than that. Next you've got to submit it to loads of publishers and if you submit it to us (see submissions) and we accept it then what you thought was the end of it was really just the beginning of the publishing process.

If we've accepted a manuscript from you then we would encourage you to read this guide before asking loads of questions. We've tried to answer all questions here.

Communication with Dostoyevsky Wannabe

Pretty much all that you will need can be found in this guide and elsewhere on our site. Due to time restrictions we just don't have a load of time to discuss details of this process with you in person as much as we'd been able to do in the past. For the first few years, we just answered all queries about the publishing process in email or on social-media and all was well but as the books that we produce have grown in number it has become an impossible task.

Unlike huge corporate publishing houses who employ large amounts of staff to produce lots of books, or smaller independent publishing houses who might outsource typesetting and cover-design to third-parties, Dostoyevsky Wannabe consists of only two people (one and a half when our day-jobs are taken into consideration) and we do all of the typesetting and cover design ourselves so there are just not the hours in the day to continue working on a one-to-one basis across email or social-media (incidentally, conversations on social-media tend to bypass our usual working practices and often therefore add more complexity and not less, books have ended up being delayed via plans that we've made with people in social-media inboxes).

It probably seems like we’re being picky but the simple fact is that if we don’t have the time to work on all of the books that we’re working on with you then it is effectively your book that is suffering so we hope that you understand why we have had to move into doing things this way and will work with us to smooth out the process.

It's easier to break the process down into stages.

Stages to Publication

So we just need to master a few signature moves between us and we'll be fine. Five signature moves actually.


This is the first stage and occurs (obviously) BEFORE we have accepted your manuscript. Please go to our submissions page for details of this.


If we accept your manuscript and want to collaborate with you on it, you'll receive an email. We're often backed up with submissions so it could take a while and there's no timescale that we can commit to for reading submissions but starting from the next round of submissions next year you will receive a reply one way or the other (in the past you didn't always).


This stage is VERY IMPORTANT to get right if you want your book to go ahead smoothly. We've improved our documentation on it in the guide below to help us all get through it. There are one or two omponents to this process such as sending author and book info for our website, sending a back-cover blurb, and, most importantly, ensuring that you've formatted the manuscript correctly (in the past we had time to help with the formatting but we don't have that time these days). This is the final stage to get your manuscript right for you before the typesetting stage. Please see the delivery of manuscript heading below for full details of this.


The production stage encompasses a few back and forth sub-stages between author and Dostoyevsky Wannabe (see below).


The process doesn't even end when the book is published. That would be the time to try and sell it to as many readers as possible. This is a process carried out co-operatively but largely separately between author and Dostoyevsky Wannabe. More info on that below too.

Please read the general information and then read in more detail below about each stage.

General Info

Delivery Date and Length of Process

When we accept your book, we will usually offer a date as to how long this process will last and when the book will be out for sale. It should be noted that this is very much a provisional date from our end and, although we rarely find ourselves unable to publish a book in and around this initial date, the process can sometimes be prolonged by factors outside of our control. More often, we find the date prolonged by factors outside your (the author’s) control however (maybe you need longer to polish off your final draft manuscript or other things happen). It would be helpful to us if you would let us know if you suddenly feel that your manuscript will not be ready for some months after the provisional date, it's not a huge problem (life gets in the way of books for all kinds of important reasons), and then we can re-order our schedule. This will definitely mean that your book will then be dependent on us finding gaps in the Dostoyevsky Wannabe schedule though and this may cause delays way past the initial projected date. Rough timescales for the publishing process can be found in the sections below. It should be noted that this is different for DW Cities books as they are sometimes tied to a physical launch event date. Actually on that subject...

Physical Book Launches

If you want to organise yourself a physical event to promote the book and if you intend to book a venue with which to launch your DW Original or or DW Experimental then please DO NOT do this until AFTER the book is live for sale on Amazon. We may very well not be able to work to your launch deadlines and then you may have a venue deposit or otherwise a planned launch date that exists ahead of the possibility of any physical books and that wouldn't be so good.

Also, physical launches, if you do choose to do them (you obviously don't have to) are completely your responsibility and the nature of our print on demand model means there are not discounted copies available for sale (although pricing your book at a low-cost and taking advantage of the usual free delivery offers that are built into Amazon's usual systems can allow you to buy a few copies and sell at a pound or so more in order to make your money back and many Dostoyevsky Wannabe author-collaborators have done that previously and to good effect).


Permission from the copyright owner must be obtained for any third-party materials cited that fall outside the remit of ‘fair use’ conventions. For information on the interpretation of fair dealing in UK law, please consult the Society of Authors Guidelines on such matters because they know more than we do.

There is no fair dealing exemption for epigraphs, which always require permission, as do quotations of any length from poems, letters, lyrics and recipes. Artwork and images, including photographs, maps and line drawings also require written permission. Photocopies or scans of permissions granted must be submitted with your manuscript on delivery.

Artwork and Images

The use of cover images will be discussed with Dostoyevsky Wannabe editors during the cover design stage and are also subject to copyright.

Cover Design

We will sometimes produce a cover ahead of the production process for the rest of the book.

Putting the finishing touches to your final pre-typeset manuscript.

Delivering Your Manuscript

What follows does not refer to the delivery of the initial submission but refers to the delivery of the manuscript in readiness for the typesetting stage. Please ensure that the final manuscript has been proof-read and is as free from error or omission as you can manage. It is not possible for corrections to be made at post-typesetting proofs stage that amount to major edits/re-writes of the text, that stage is only for fixing problems that occur during typesetting. You should consider having the book read by a trusted friend/editor or just by someone who loves to point out errors in grammar (inasmuch as you stylistically care about such things) BEFORE delivery of the manuscript.

Please format your final manuscript as per the guidelines below. We’re afraid that it is NOT really acceptable to deliver a manuscript and to ask casually whether it is formatted to our standards as we receive many manuscripts every week and we do not have time to open them to check and subsequently fix any defects in formatting ourselves (this is a trap that we fell into many times in our early years and we found that we don't have time to do this). So please read the guidelines below and follow them to format your final draft manuscript accordingly before sending it to us. If we move to typeset a manuscript and find that it is not formatted correctly, we will have to return it to you and this could cause delays in publishing the book that will be out of our hands.

Technical Terminology

Terms such as hard-return, soft-return, tab, page-break, etc, what they are and how to view them and create them in your word processing software, can be more easily understood by downloading and reading our rivetting but essential Guide to Formatting Marks.

Formatting – General

  • Each chapter, section or individual poem MUST end with a proper page-break. Please DO NOT just press the enter key until another page appears as this will not work for typesetting.
  • Please remove all footers, running headers and page numbers.
  • Please make the first page of the document the first page of the text and don’t add the title, author, bio or anything in. We add the front matter in during the typesetting process.
  • Use up to a 11pt typeface/font preferably Times New Roman or a serif equivalent as this is the closest to the typeface that we may eventualy use in size (plus you will likely have that typeface on your system).
  • Please remove any contents page as that will be added in later.
  • If you have a particularly complicated layout (poetry or prose) you might want to use the DW Word Template. This document is the closest approximation to the page sizes and margins used in the final typesetting job so please use this to ensure that your line-breaks satisfy our margin size if you have very particular requirements in those areas, otherwise your lines will wrap to become hanging indents (which is usually fine anyway). Please note that the above document will only be a guide and any difficulties will have to ironed out during the typesetting process. You’ll need to set the type in Times New Roman (11pt) to most closely approximate the font-size and style of the finished typeset book.
  • Text written over other text palimpsestically or any other such special effects that have been collaged together can probably only appear if you send it in a black and white, high-resolution (minimum 300dpi) JPEG. Each such piece will also have to be sent in a portrait and NOT a landscape orientation.


For poem titles or chapter titles, please make them bold and separate them from the text that follows using ONE hard-return.

Formatting – Prose

  • Paragraphs should end with ONE hard return.
  • If you have any section breaks within the same chapter (that denote a passing of time or a change of scene or whatever) please use three hard-returns so that we can distinguish these from paragraph spaces.
  • Please don’t use the space bar to make paragraph indents, use the appropriate paragraph indenting rules.

Formatting – Poetry (conventional and unconventional)

  • To make a line-break (not a stanza-break) you need ONE hard-return (the ENTER key) and NOT a soft-return (so NOT SHIFT + ENTER).
  • If you're writing poetry that is laid out with different indentations, please DO use tabs but DO NOT use the space bar (also please DO NOT indent poems with the ruler or via the paragraph dialog box because those indentations will be lost in tranlation between word processing and typesetting). As mentioned, if it's particularly complex, it will be worth downloading and using the DW template above. The reason we ask you to use hard-tabs (i.e CTRL + the TAB key) as indentations for more experimentally laid out work is because we can be a 100% sure they will survive the typesetting process.

Other Parts of the Book

It is usual for a book to open and close with front matter and, possibly, back matter. Please send any such details in separate files labelled ‘front-matter’ and ‘back-matter’. Typical examples of this type of content include:

Front Matter/Preliminary Book Text

This may consist of some, or all, of the following and all of this in totally up to the author:

  • Foreword or preface
  • Introduction
  • Dedication
  • Thanks or acknowledgements
  • An epigraph

Back Matter/Appendix

This may consist of some, or all, of the following:

  • Contributors bios, author bio
  • Glossary
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Any blurbs/endorsements from other writers

Internal images

If your book has any internal images then we must be sure that you have the permission to use them and they MUST be black and white (colour is too expensive), high-resolution (at least 300dpi) and cropped in a portrait orientation.

Sending your Manuscript

All manuscripts should be delivered electronically as email attachments to [mybook at dostoyevsky wannabe dot com]. Please do not send it to all known DW email addresses or to the incorrect address as we have automated elements in place that mean that we might not see that you have delivered your manuscript.


For guest-editors delivering anthologies, please ensure that the manuscript is split into individual files according to the work of each individual contributor to the anthology and that each file is named after the author who wrote the piece.

Following on from the delivery of the manuscript stage, now it's time for the production and post-production phase.

The Production Process

The next stages are:

  • Cover Design - responsibility of DW
  • Typesetting (6-8 weeks) - responsibility of DW
  • Revision (1-4 weeks) - responsibility of author. Important Note: this is simply to check the file post-typesetting and NOT for literary revision
  • Final Correction (3 weeks) - responsibility of DW
  • Upload to Print On Demand provider (3 weeks) - responsibility depends on Option 1 or 2


Copyediting is the responsibility of the author or their own appointed copyeditor and this should have been undertaken BEFORE delivery of final manuscript.


Unless you have purchased your own ISBN, we will use a free-ISBN from Kindle Direct Print and this will mean that the book is listed as 'Independently Published'.


Author Copies/Contributor Copies

Dostoyevsky Wannabe is a zero-budget operation who produce many books and thus we cannot offer ANY free author copies for single-authored books or contributor or guest-editor copies for any anthologies.

The best we can recommend is that authors or guest-editors price the book at a very inexpensive price and buy from the Amazon site post-publication, taking advantage of the free postage over £10 (or equivalent outside of the UK). If an author wants to buy books to sell at launch events it should then be acceptable for books to be sold for a few pounds more to your assembled audience (or indeed you can sell them at the cost price, that is up to you).

Also see our note above on any potential physical book launches that you may or may not wish to plan to launch your book.

Discounted Copies for Retailers

This is not possible. See our retailer guide .

Marketing your Book

Dostoyevsky Wannabe has a policy of announcing all DW books on social-media and promoting them on those platforms at the launch date but, due to the scale of all of the different titles that we produce, we can't really do anymore than that. We try to promote each book equally and then it is the job of the authors to promote their books to gain sales. If we are tagged in/mentioned on Twitter or Instagram, we will always try to retweet to help get word about the book out there but that is as far as we can go due to time considerations.