Publishing at Covenant
Covenant publishes many kinds of books (adult fiction and nonfiction, children’s books, holiday booklets, gift books, and other products), but all of them reflect the values espoused by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A book we are interested in will be:
Of value to our readers. They should feel that they are better people for having read the book and that they are getting good value for their money. The book should help them in their lives. It should lift and inspire.
Well written and well researched. Poor writing and careless research greatly increase editing and production costs and often indicate that the quality of the book is not what it should be.
Unique. The book should stand out from the crowd by providing a new approach to the subject. It should provide new insights, not merely recapitulate material and insights already available in other works.
In general, we are not interested in poetry, family histories, or personal journals. Nonetheless, if your book is in one of these categories and there is a compelling reason why we should consider it, we would be glad to review it. We are always interested in good books that will be successful for both author and publisher.
Because our market consists almost exclusively of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we usually publish only those works with specific LDS content. However, in the case of some fiction genres—including fantasy, historical fiction set before the mid-1800s or in a place where the Church was unknown, and Christmas stories—we will accept general Christian-themed pieces. You are welcome to send specific questions to our submissions department. We will not accept manuscripts that contain offensive material, including profanity, vulgarity, excessive violence, or sexually explicit or suggestive scenes.
E-mail your completed manuscript along with a one-page cover letter (which can constitute the body of the e-mail), a one-page plot summary, and the Author Questionnaire to firstname.lastname@example.org. All submissions should be submitted via e-mail as Microsoft Word attachments. If you cannot e-mail your submission, please burn the Word document onto a CD and mail it to Submissions, c/o Covenant Communications, 920 E State Rd, American Fork, UT 84003.
Please do not submit original photography, transparencies, or artwork, and please retain copies of any manuscripts you submit. Covenant assumes no liability for loss of artwork, photographs, or manuscripts. CDs will not be returned.
To facilitate our evaluation process, your submission should conform to the following standards. Any exceptions should be explained in the cover letter.
1. Type your manuscript in a Microsoft Word document with one-inch margins. Include your name on the first page.
2. Use a 12-point type size (Times New Roman font preferred) and double-space all text, including extracts, footnotes, bibliography, and quotations.
3. Compile your manuscript into one document; do not submit a separate document for each chapter. Insert page breaks between chapters rather than hitting return or enter multiple times.
4. Insert page numbers in your manuscript. Number pages consecutively—not by chapter. Do NOT insert headers or footers other than the page number.
5. Indent the first line of each paragraph a half inch (0.5”), and do NOT insert extra returns between paragraphs.
6. Carefully spell check and proofread your manuscript.
7. For nonfiction or historical fiction manuscripts, include a complete bibliography.
8. For illustrated manuscripts or picture books, please include a PDF of any illustrated pages and a Word document of the text alone.
We usually do not accept general fiction books more than 105,000 words (about 350 double-spaced pages) or less than 60,000 words (about 200 pages). Young adult fiction should generally be less than 80,000 words, or 250 pages. The text for illustrated children’s books should be less than 1,000 words. The text for booklets can range from 30 to 60 pages.
2. Cover Letter
In the cover letter, which can be the body of the e-mail, please briefly discuss the following:
- Whether your work is fiction or nonfiction and its genre (for scholarly/doctrinal works, see special submission requirements below).
- Your background in relation to the topic of your book.
- The intended audience of your book.
- The specific LDS-oriented elements of your book.
- What makes this book stand out from others in its genre.
3. Plot Summary
For fiction submissions, include a one-page plot summary, formatted like the manuscript. For nonfiction, submit a table of contents.
4. Author Questionnaire (file requires Microsoft Word)
Download the Author Questionnaire here. Please read this form carefully and fill it out.
Once you have prepared the four required documents according to the specifications above, you are ready to e-mail them as attachments to email@example.com. Due to the volume of submissions we receive and the thoroughness of our review process, it generally takes four to six months to make a decision on whether to publish your manuscript.
Submitting a Children's Book
Please read the guidelines listed above before submitting your children's manuscript. Since the text for a children's book is often short, it is acceptable to submit all the text in a single spaced format with double spaces between paragraphs.
If your manuscript is for a children's book, please note that it is not necessary to have completed illustrations prior to submission. Sample sketches or even word descriptions ("a mother and child by the beach," for example) are sufficient for our initial review. If your manuscript is accepted for publication, we have contacts with many professional artists who could be hired to illustrate your book.
Special Requirements for Nonfiction Manuscripts
Nonfiction manuscripts require special handling. When you use a quote, fact, or idea that originated with someone else, you must introduce the quote appropriately and then document the source of the information in a footnote, endnote, or the text itself (if you use footnotes or endnotes, you must use the Word footnote/endnote function). In addition to documenting the quotations and paraphrases you use, you must also prepare a bibliography containing all of the sources you have cited in your manuscript. Use a consistent format for your footnotes and bibliography.
Permissions for Copyrighted Materials
You are responsible for obtaining permissions for any copyrighted materials you use.
Please note that due to fair-use laws and Church copyright policies, any quotes from General Authorities of the Church must be limited in number and used only as support for your own ideas; they cannot serve as the main point of a paragraph or section. It is extremely difficult to obtain quotation permission for compendium-style manuscripts. If your manuscript is accepted, your editor will walk you through the process of preparing your materials for the Church Intellectual Reserve, Inc., office to review.
You as the author are responsible for carefully checking all quotations and paraphrases prior to submitting your manuscript, and you will also need to provide us with the materials necessary to verify the accuracy of your citations, so please keep a copy of the original reference for every source you use. For each source you use—whether as a direct quote or as a paraphrase—you will need to submit photocopies of the copyright pages, title page, table of contents, and the page containing quoted material itself (with the quote highlighted). This is crucial for any additional source checking we may do in-house. Please make sure you have a copy for your records and a copy to give us (we do not guarantee a return of the materials).
If your manuscript contains illustrations, figures, or charts, include these in separate files (e-mail as a PDF, jpg, tiff, or eps, or mail in hard copies) and indicate where in your manuscript you want them to appear. As with your manuscript, do not send original or irreplaceable artwork.
As the evaluation process may take several months, we ask that we have exclusive review rights for this limited time as we invest resources into evaluating your manuscript. If you prefer not to submit exclusively, please indicate as much in your cover letter, though we do not guarantee we will look at simultaneously submitted manuscripts.
In addition, we prefer to respond by e-mail if an e-mail address is available. Please check your e-mail for our reply on a monthly basis, and set your spam protection to accept our e-mail address so you do not miss our reply to your query or an update on your manuscript’s status.
After a manuscript has passed an initial review, it is sent to professional evaluators with expertise in the category or subject matter of the manuscript. If the evaluators return positive reviews, the manuscript is presented to the New Product Committee. This committee (representing Covenant’s editing, marketing, graphics, finance, and sales departments) makes a final decision as to whether or not the manuscript will be provisionally accepted for publication pending budget approval.
After the Review
After the editorial and marketing staffs have reviewed your manuscript they may accept it for publication, invite you to revise and resubmit it, or reject it.
If you are asked to revise your manuscript, please do not be offended. This is actually a positive response, indicating that your manuscript has excellent potential for publication. If your manuscript is rejected, you will be notified by e-mail. We do not provide a detailed critique or evaluation of your manuscript. Many factors must be taken into account in deciding which manuscripts are accepted for publication, and rejection does not necessarily mean that the manuscript is not publishable-only that it is not right for Covenant at this time. Our resources—financing, time, and staff—are limited, and we can accept only a limited number of manuscripts from the many submitted to us.
Production of Your Book
After your manuscript has been accepted, we will assign it a publication date and prepare a production schedule. Books usually take anywhere from six to twelve months to be published.
Your manuscript will be assigned to an editor who will be your contact during production. The editor will edit your manuscript carefully for spelling, punctuation, grammar, logic, clarity (while retaining your individual style), and doctrinal accuracy (if applicable), and may suggest revisions if needed. The editor's job is to help you convey your message in the most meaningful and concise way possible.
Once the revised manuscript is returned to Covenant, it is edited thoroughly and returned to the author for review. When both author and editor are satisfied (under the demands of a deadline), the manuscript goes through several professional copyedits. After incorporation of the copyedit changes, the manuscript is typeset. The typeset manuscript is then reviewed by the author and by proofreaders. Corrections at this stage are limited to typesetting errors only. The final typeset manuscript is then given to the production team, which sends it to the press.
We are committed to providing appropriate and innovative marketing for each new title we publish. Our sales representatives maintain close contact with hundreds of LDS booksellers in the United States, Canada, England, and Australia. We advertise our books in catalogs and other media sources. Authors are also expected to help market their books through signings, radio interviews, and other promotional activities.
If your book is accepted for publication, you will receive further information on how you will need to be involved in that process.