Registration for informal pitch sessions will be available at the Conference starting Sunday, July 13 at registration.
Pitch sessions with Elise McHugh, acquisitions editor for University of New Mexico Press
Elise McHugh is the humanities acquisition editor at the University of New Mexico Press. She is the publishing contact for the following fields: fiction, poetry, memoir, literary and popular culture studies/criticism, and art, photography, and architecture. Her experience in publishing includes seven years at UNM Press and eight years at West End Press, as well as literary and scholarly journals. She currently blogs for OldWestNewWest.com and is an enthusiastic supporter of fine Western writing.
Born and raised in New Mexico, Elise received a bachelor’s degree in English from Hamline University and a master’s degree in English from the University of New Mexico, during which time she acted as managing editor for Blue Mesa Review and taught undergraduate poetry workshops for three semesters. When she writes, poetry is her creative choice. However, she is an avid reader in a variety of fields and genres, both fiction and nonfiction.
UNM Press typically publishes four novels and four books of poetry a year. The number of memoirs and travelogues vary each season. UNM Press focuses on literary writing that engages and gives voice to the realities of living, working, and experiencing the West (defined loosely as west of the Mississippi River) and the U.S./Mexico border as physical spaces and as metaphors.
UNM Press considers poetry in any style and length including bilingual poetry. Experience has confirmed for Elise that in fiction well-drawn, believable characters and fine writing are as important as plot. Generally UNM Press is less interested in autobiographies than memoirs or travelogues that focus around a specific narrative arc.
UNM Press does not consider what is typically called genre fiction, including romance, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, and magical realism. In addition, at this time UNM Press is not accepting submissions of children’s books (picture books, books for young readers, and YA books).
What to bring to the pitch session:
Please write a query letter that addresses the following questions:
1. Begin with a description of the issues/themes/plot your manuscript addresses.
2. How does your manuscript differ from similar works? How does it stand out? What books already in print do you consider comparable to yours in terms of theme/subject matter?
3. Describe your work’s scope and content. Also, what is the page length or word count of your manuscript?
4. If the manuscript is not yet complete, when do you expect to complete it?
Additional materials to bring:
For poetry manuscripts, bring the table of contents and a ten-page sample.
For fiction and memoir, bring a plot synopsis/table of contents and one chapter of the novel/memoir.
For scholarly nonfiction: If you intend to present a proposal for scholarly nonfiction, please refer to the query letter guidelines on UNM Press’s website page: www.unmpress.com. Please bring a full proposal, an abbreviated CV, and a writing sample (a chapter from the proposed book or an article previously published on a similar topic) to the pitch session.
Please note: Full manuscripts and samples longer than stated above will not be accepted.
Response time: Elise will respond to all submissions within six weeks and let authors know whether or not the Press intends to invite the full manuscript in for consideration.
About the University of New Mexico Press
Established in 1929 by the Regents of the University of New Mexico, UNM Press is a well-known and respected publisher in a number of fields, including poetry, fiction, memoir, children’s literature, Native American studies, Latin American studies, Chicano/a studies, and the history, literature, ecology, and cultures of the American West and the U.S./Mexico border. UNM Press publishes seventy-two books a year in two seasons, spring and summer (January–June and July–December). With well over one thousand titles in print and available as e-books, UNM Press also serves as distributor for other local and regional publishers and is an important element in enhancing the scholarly and literary reputation and worldwide visibility of its host university.