For Authors

About Riptide

What makes Riptide Publishing different?

Simply put, we have some of the most rigorous quality standards and friendliest contract terms in the business. The majority of our staff is also LGBTQ, with broad representation and interests all across the rainbow; you can rest assured that you and your manuscript will be treated with the utmost respect, and that folks who are a part of the queer community will be helping to shape your book and its launch at virtually every step of the process.

Many of us are authors too, so we know what it’s like to sign a year’s work away, only to find yourself trapped in a relationship with poor royalties or bad editing, late payments or terrible covers or nonexistant communication. We are not an author mill. We have no set production quotas, and we view authors as partners, not as inconveniences.

We’re not seeking to make money on volume by turning over as many manuscripts as we can as quickly as we can, quality be damned. Instead, we carefully select a small handful of manuscripts and shower them—and their writer!—with all the love and attention they deserve. That means excellent cover art, excellent layout, Manhattan-quality editing, a dedicated marketing staff, and author-friendly contracts. We’re proud to put our name on every book we publish, and our authors are too!

In October of 2016, our press celebrated its five-year anniversary, and what a ride it's been! We've published the first m/m book to win a RITA award, and the first F/F book to be nominated for one. We've received several dozen starred reviews from the major trades, seen our books reviewed in venues as large (and difficult for queer fiction to crack) as the New York Times, and have sold over 100 subsidiary rights to foreign publishers, audio publishers, and even film and television producers. This success is thanks to both our amazing authors and our excellent staff. To learn more about us, please browse the rest of our FAQ and check out our staff bios.

Which genres do you publish?

We publish all genres of LGBTQ romantic, erotic, and literary fiction under the following three imprints:

  • Riptide Publishing: primarily adult genre fiction with romantic or erotic focus; all heat levels from sweet romance to erotica are welcome
  • Triton Books: YA genre and literary fiction
  • Anglerfish Press: upmarket fiction (literary genre fiction) with little or no romantic or erotic focus; HEAs are not required here

For a current list of genres we're actively seeking, please see our Submissions page.

What won't you publish?

Our list is shorter than most.

  • No pedophilia or necrophilia, please.
  • No scat.
  • No bestiality, though shifter sex in animal form is welcome.
  • No gratuitous rape as titillation, though dubcon and forced seduction as titillation are welcome, as is rape in non-titillating circumstances.
  • No materials that encourage or shine a positive light on hate of any kind. Please note that doesn’t mean your character can’t be a bigot; it just means you-the-author should not be agreeing with them.
Are you related in any way to the defunct Riptide Press?

Nope.

Our Contract

What rights do you buy, and for how long?

We purchase worldwide English language rights for all print and digital forms, translation rights, audio rights, and some other select subsidiary rights that we have historically had an opportunity to license. You retain any rights not explicitly stated in the contract. Standard contract terms for new books are six years. Reprints are negotiated on a case-by-case basis. Most rights are negotiable.

Do you have a Right of First Refusal clause?

No, no, and no again. There’s nothing in the world more frustrating or muse-killing than finding yourself contractually obligated to submit a sequel to a publisher who’s treated you poorly. Not that we’ll ever treat you poorly, mind you, but we want our authors to return to us again and again because they love it here, not because they’ve signed their creative life away.

Will it cost me anything to publish with you?

Absolutely not. Expert editing, layout, cover design, and all other parts of the production process are 100% free.

Do you have a sample contract?

Any author who's received an offer on their manuscript will receive a contract to review. For the convenience of those in the pre-submission stage, most of our terms (contract length, royalty rates, bankruptcy clause, stance on right of first refusal, etc.) are spelled out clearly in our FAQ, and much of our contract is modeled after the industry-standard EPIC contract. If you have not yet received an offer and wish to see the complete contract anyway, please have your agent request a copy. We do not send contracts directly to authors without an offer.

Royalties

Do you offer advances?

Because our ebook royalties are so high and paid on a monthly basis, advances are not standard practice at Riptide. However, well-established authors with proven track records may be offered advances of up to $2,000 per title as part of their individual contract negotiation process.

What are your royalty terms?

Every contract is different, but most authors will begin with ebook royalties of:

  • 40% of net for most Riptide mainlist titles
  • 30% to 35% of net for most Triton Books titles
  • 30% of net for most Anglerfish titles
  • 25% to 35% of net for most reprints

Once a book crosses a certain sales threshold, royalties for all titles typically increase to 47.5% of net, and once a book crosses the final sales threshold, royalties typically increase to 55% of net. Exceptionally risky projects (including non-romance genres, SF romance, non-traditional historical period romance, non-traditional fantasy romance, mixed-gender menage, etc.) will receive lower royalty terms; these range from 25% to 35% on the first royalty tier, then will likely jump to standard rates on the second and third tiers.

Royalty rates for print-on-demand, traditional offset printing, and various subsidiary rights are a bit more complex, but ultimately designed to split net profits 50/50 between the author and the publisher. (In the case of some rights, such as first serial and performance rights, the split is significantly in the author's favor, rather than 50/50.) All terms are fully detailed in our contract, and we're happy to answer any questions a prospective author may have.

What do you mean by "list" and "net"?

“List” means the price on the cover of the book. So if your print book lists for $16.99, and you earn 7% of list on your title, you’ll earn $1.19 for each sale, regardless of what price the retailer sells the book for. “Net” means the sale price of the book minus third-party vendor fees. Nothing else is taken into consideration for the “net” calculation. So if your ebook sells for $5, and you earn 40% of net for each sale, you’ll earn $2 for each copy sold directly through our website at full cost, but $1.20 for each copy sold through a vendor like All Romance Ebooks, because ARe keeps 40% of the sale price of the book.

How do I get paid?

Royalties are paid monthly, either via check or Paypal. (Authors outside the USA are paid via Paypal only.) Sales made at our website are paid the next month, but third-party royalties are passed on to you only once we receive them, which means you may not see royalties from your January Amazon sales until April or so. Some vendors pay quarterly. Others pay only twice a year. Some pay monthly on a net 45 or net 90 delay. If we've offered you a contract, we're happy to answer any questions you might have about specific vendors' schedules and policies.

Submissions

What story lengths do you accept?

Short answer? Anywhere from 10,00 to 100,000+ words for agented or invited authors; from 25,000 to 80,000 for slush submissions (with potential book-by-book exceptions for fantasy romance, contemporary romance, romantic comedy, and romantic suspense); and within the listed word counts on specific themed open call submissions.

We accept longer stories too, of course, but it’s highly unlikely we’ll publish a work much longer than 110,000 words. We do not accept stories shorter than 25,000 words under any circumstance, unless they are part of an anthology submission call.

For a complete breakdown of our short, novelette, novella, and novel lengths and sale prices, please see our pricing FAQ.

Do you accept reprints / previously-published materials?

Maybe. If you have a long and proven track record, or you’re an existing Riptide author, we may consider a reprint. Otherwise, no. Please note that contract terms on reprints will vary from our boilerplate depending on how much (or how little) editorial, cover art, layout, conversion, and marketing work needs to be done.

Do you accept simultaneous or multiple submissions?

Simultaneous submissions: No. We’ll usually get back to you in sixteen weeks or less, so please be patient and do not submit your manuscript to anyone else while you have it out with us. If you need to withdraw your manuscript from consideration so that you may submit it elsewhere, please be sure to let us know.

Multiple submissions: Any author may submit to multiple open calls at any given time. Authors already working with the house may also submit multiple projects (for open calls or otherwise) directly to their editor. Otherwise, no; if you are submitting via referral, invite, or agent, please choose your single best work for our review.

I have an agent. Do I still need an invitation to submit?

No; Riptide currently welcomes all submissions, agented or unagented, without an invitation. Pease have your agent query submissions@riptidepublishing.com or email directly to the editor they wish to pitch.

Do you accept unagented submissions?

Yes we do. Please note, however, that our open calls may close from time to time based on slush load. Please view our submissions page for more information on submitting to both specific and non-specific open calls.

Do you send personalized rejections?

If you've been invited to submit by an editor to whom you didn't pitch, and your work is rejected, we do indeed send a personalized letter. After all, we're authors too, and we all know the frustration of receiving a one-line “thanks but no thanks” rejection. Our rejection letters may still be fairly short, but they will explain the primary reasons why we felt we couldn’t accept your piece.

We may also on occasion send what we call an R&R, or a “revise and resubmit” letter. Celebrate—these are good news! An R&R means the acquisition editor saw great potential in your story, but felt something (or several somethings) weren’t quite strong enough to justify a contract. The editor will send you back a list of those things that need fixing and invite you to resubmit once you tackle the revisions. By no means are you obligated to do so, and it’s important to note that even after you make the revisions, your manuscript may still be rejected. But many R&Rs result in contracts in the end.

You rejected my manuscript. Can I edit and resubmit?

If you have made such significant changes that the manuscript no longer even resembles the version we rejected—in other words, if it’s essentially a new book—then yes. Otherwise, no, unless we rejected with an R&R letter and invited you to resubmit after edits.

If my story was rejected from an anthology or collection call, can I resubmit it as a standalone?

No. If the anthology or collection editor thinks your piece won’t work for his or her purposes but would work as a standalone, they will forward the submission to another editor for evaluation.

What should I include in my submission, and how should I format it?

Please send the following to submissions@riptidepublishing.com:

  • A 1-page query letter in the body of the email.
  • A 1 to 3 page synopsis as an attachment to the email. Don't forget to tell us how your story ends!
  • The complete manuscript as an attachment to the email.

All attachments should be .docx or .rtf files. Please format your manuscript as follows:

  • 1” margins all around
  • 1.5 line spacing
  • NO TABS OR SPACES for paragraph indents! Use the paragraph formatting feature to indent your first lines 0.5”
  • 12-point Times New Roman font

Save your files as “Book-title_Author-lastname_SYNOPSIS” and “Book-title_Author-name_MS” respectively. For instance, Pride and Prejudice would be Pride-and-Prejudice_Austen_MS.rtf and Pride-and-Prejudice_Austen_SYNOPSIS.rtf.

On the synopsis, please include a title page with your full name, address, phone number, and email.

Riptide Publishing is deeply committed not only to publishing books that represent the full spectrum of queer experiences, but also to publishing such books by authors of color. As a result, Riptide is committed to responding to submissions by authors of color in a month or less, rather than in our standard 12 to 16 weeks. If you'd like to receive priority consideration and are a writer of color, please state that in your cover letter and add "PRIORITY: WOC" in the subject line of your email.

From Acceptance to Publication

If you accept my book, how long will it take you to publish it?

Depending upon the length of the book and the house’s current production schedule, your book could be published anywhere from two to twelve months after acceptance. (Some long-lead acquisitions or books bought on proposal may be published a year or more after acceptance, but never without explicit author permission.)

Most novellas require roughly five months to produce, and most novels require roughly eight months to produce. In almost all cases, we will have your cover art and advance reader copies (ARCs) ready at least one month in advance of your release date so you and we can solicit early reviews and promote with ease. In the majority of cases, we have ARCs ready three to five months in advance of your release date for submission to long-lead review sites like Romance Times and Library Journal, though doing so will of course will lengthen the overall lead time between acceptance and publication.

Why does it take so long to publish?

A manuscript goes through many stages to become a published book. First, your manuscript is assigned to the appropriate developmental editor (DE). The DE may make suggestions for some pretty significant changes—or, if the book is very clean, the changes may be minor. Expect this process to take one to three months, depending on the length of the book, the number and significance of edits required, the speed at which the author is able to return those edits to the editor, and the editor's schedule.

Once the book is done with developmental edits, it goes on to the line editor, then back to the author, possibly more than once. This process can take one to three months, sometimes more with an exceptionally long or error-prone manuscript or during a particularly busy season for your editor. After that, it goes to the copyeditor, and again back to the author, which can take an additional two to four weeks.

Then it goes to two separate proofreaders. When the proofreaders are done with it and you've had a chance to review their work, it goes to the typesetter, who lays out the manuscript and produces what’s called a galley. The galley first goes to a production proofer, who checks the page proofs for typographic errors (which are then corrected), and then it goes to between two and four Advance Readers, who read the laid-out book as readers to catch any last errors that may have slipped through the multiple proofing stages. We know that's a lot more editing than you'll find at many other digital publishers, and it may seem a bit intimidating, but it's how Riptide produces Manhattan-quality books, and we guarantee you'll be delighted with the end result!

Once the editing's done, we send the book to our converter, who uses software to convert your Word doc into a variety of ebook formats and then checks and codes each format by hand to ensure a beautiful and error-free layout. The finished conversions go to a production proofer, who double-checks the converter's work. Any errors found are fixed before the conversions are released.

Meanwhile, your chosen cover artist is hard at work giving your book the best possible face for the world. When you’re done with the galley and the cover artist is done with the cover, we put it all together into an ARC, which we then start sending out to reviewers in advance of publication. We like to have at least three months for this to generate the most exposure and excitement for your release we can. In a perfect world, we have four full calendar months to send your ARC to long-lead review sites like Romance Times, Library Journal, and Publisher's Weekly.

We are one of the only digital publishers in the LGBTQ space to offer true developmental edits, comprehensive line edits and copyedits, hand-coding for our ebook files, extensive production proofing, or long-lead pre-publication ARCs. This is why our production time is longer than most, but we firmly believe it's worth the wait.

Will my book go to print?

If your story is over 60,000 words, it will be included in our print program automatically. Most print titles release simultaneously with the ebook.

If your story is between 25,000 and 60,000 words, print publication hinges on the success of your ebook sales, although some books may go into print simultaneously with the ebook release regardless, either because of the author's track record or because of the paritcular project.

Shorter stories may be bundled into thematically similar single-author or multi-author print collections. We will occasionally make open submission calls for such collections. Shorter stories between 10,000 and 13,000 words may also be placed into print as standalone chapbooks, primarily for promotional purposes and sales at conventions.

Can I provide my own cover art and/or interior illustrations?

Interior illustrations are tricky in ebooks and make the book expensive to produce. If your book requires, say, a map at the opening, that’s fine, but anything more than that may be rejected.

As for cover art, we have an excellent stable of artists to provide cover art for our titles and create a consistent look across our brand, but we are open to considering outside art if the rights are free and clear. Please note that if we do consent to use your cover art, all rights for the art must be turned over to us.

Where are Riptide books sold?

We distribute our ebooks directly to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes, Overdrive, Hoopla, 3M/Bibliotheca, TotalBoox, BiblioBoard, Smashwords, Ingram, and others. We also distribute to hundreds of large and small etailers through Ingram, one of the largest book distributors in the world; Smashwords, a massive indie publishing wholesaler; and Overdrive, a premier distributor to libraries and other retailers. Of course we also sell our books on our own site, and we're constantly working to expand our distribution to vendors who will not devalue your work by heavily discounting it. (Please note that this is why we don't distribute directly to Google Books; they are serial deep discounters who routinely trigger costly opening-week price-matches on Amazon.)

Our print books are available through our own website, and also distributed through Ingram. This means your print book will be sold on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Books-a-Million, and hundreds of other online stores throughout the world. They'll also be available for order through any brick-and-mortar bookstore, though because our titles are non-returnable, it’s unlikely your neighborhood Borders will stock them routinely. And of course we sell print books directly on our website, and at multiple conventions and events throughout the year. Our print titles are also available to retailers, libraries, and book clubs via direct wholesale ordering through our website, and many shops and library systems take advantage of the strong direct discounts we offer.

Other Questions

Will you sell my subsidiary rights?

We'll certainly try! Our catalog is represented by the incredibly talented Ethan Ellenberg and Bibi Lewis at the Ethan Ellenberg Agency in New York City, and together they've sold well over 100 projects to foreign publishers for translation in Italy, France, Germany, the Philipines, Japan, South Korea, and more! They've also licensed a number of projects to audiobook producers such as Audlbe and Tantor, sold serial rights to magazines as far afield as Japan, and have even licensed film and television options for our properties. 

Of course, not every project is right for every market, and not every title we publish will sell subsidiary rights. Big domestic sales, strong reviews, and award wins all help to get projects noticed in subsidiary markets, as do authors who hit lists. Regardless of the status of your sales or reviews, we will work to place every project we can in as many markets as possible. This is why we sign for those rights in our contracts; we do not sign for rights we don't have every intention of trying to sell.

How will you help me market my book?

Riptide's marketing department, helmed by Amelia Vaughn, lives to make each and every Riptide title a success. Our staff helps every single Riptide author develop a marketing plan for each individual book they publish and for their careers as a whole. We also offer ongoing marketing training to our authors to help them grow and develop at their own pace. We'll schedule blog tours for you, provide prize support for your marketing efforts, create banners and bookmark designs for your books, market you through our extensive social media accounts, and even help you set up local book signings if you desire. 

In addition, every book you publish with us is submitted to a large number of reviewers (including the national trades if lead time is sufficient; our authors have been reviewed in venues ranging from Publisher's Weekly to Booklist to USA Today), and we advertise the press as a whole on several genre-appropriate and national sites and publications. You'll see our ads at online venues ranging from Dear Author to Labmda Literary, and at print venues ranging from RT Book Reviews to Publisher's Weekly to Library Journal. We also make appearances at conventions and book fairs each year (check out our Events page for a complete list), host blog tours and virtual parties filled with giveaways, and promote your work on sites ranging from Goodreads to Lambda Literary to FetLife.

Each new Riptide title also gets a turn at NetGalley, where your book will be exposed to 100,000+ professional readers (librarians, booksellers, bloggers, and media professionals).

For authors interested in entering literary contests, we supply print books at or near cost for contest entry use. If your title makes it to the finals and new print copies are required, we supply those at no cost. 

Through Riptide's media connections, our authors have placed editorials and received reviews at major venues such as RT Magazine, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, Foreword Reviews, Library Journal, School Library Journal, the Huffington PostThe New York Times, and USA Today. As a small house, our success hinges on the success of each and every book we publish; rest assured we'll do everything we can to make your book a hit.

What's your stance on ebook piracy?

We’d make them all walk the plank if we could. Since that’s not legal anymore (much like ebook piracy, yarr!), we monitor the popular pirate sites and issue DMCA takedown notices to all offenders. If you spot your book being pirated somewhere, just shoot us an email and we’ll handle it. And if it’s something we can’t handle with a notice, we have an IP lawyer on retainer to deal with the sticky situations. Your book is yours, and we will defend your copyright to the full extent of the law.