Potton & Burton is a non-fiction publisher and distributor which publishes books on a wide range of subjects, including natural history, photography, outdoor and adventure, art and culture, history and biography, social and environmental issues, as well as a growing list of children’s books. We welcome submissions from authors and photographers who consider they have a concept, a completed manuscript and/or photographs with potential for publication.
Prior to submitting your proposal, please take a look at our books to get an idea of the types of things we publish and whether your idea would fit with our list. We do not publish novels, short stories or poetry, so please do not submit manuscripts in these genres. We accept manuscripts for children’s books only from previously published authors or if your work is recommended to us.
We offer three potential options for getting your book published. In providing these options we recognise that the publishing environment in New Zealand is rapidly changing, and that many worthwhile book projects are no longer commercially viable under the standard publishing models.
The great majority of our books are still published in the traditional way. When we believe that a project is of sufficient quality and interest, and also has the potential to be commercially viable, we establish a contract with the author to publish the book. Under this contract the author is normally paid a royalty on every book sold. We undertake and fund all editing, design, layout, print production, publicity, sales, marketing and distribution.
From time to time we publish books that we believe are of high quality and are important, but that we think are unlikely to be commercially viable. We are only able to do this if the book comes with a subsidy that we can use to offset the costs, and therefore reduce our risk to an acceptable level. Subsidies come from many different sources, but most commonly from grants and philanthropy. Before a decision to publish is made each project is individually costed to establish an appropriate level of subsidy.
Distribution for Self-published Books
Potton & Burton is unusual among independent publishers in that we have our own New Zealand-based sales and distribution operation that services every bookshop in the country. We occasionally offer sales and distribution for self-published non-fiction books, but only if we believe there is a realistic market for the book, and it is of sufficient quality. If you are interested in this option, then we encourage you to contact us early as possible in the process, as we may be able to help with key decisions that increase the chances of your book finding an audience.
If you have a proposal that you would like considered, please submit to Robbie Burton, Executive Director & Publisher, via email, a brief synopsis of the proposal, and an outline of any personal experience, professional or otherwise, that is relevant to your submission. We will then let you know if we are interested in seeing a more complete proposal.
Please do not expect an immediate response. We get many, many queries, and assessing publishing proposals often takes a considerable amount of time.
If you would like further information about writing and getting published in New Zealand, please browse the following websites:
The New Zealand Society of Authors site contains a raft of information about writing and publishing, including manuscript assessors, writing grants, self-publishing and ebooks.
The Publishers Association of New Zealand site has useful information about New Zealand publishing and contains a comprehensive list of New Zealand publishers.