Modern Dreams — calling for submissions


Widely-recognised as one of the UK’s most innovative presses — Salt is starting a new digital-only initiative in this, our fifteenth year of publishing.

Do you want to be part of a new experiment in British fiction? Salt is calling for submissions for a new series of digital-only novellas as an extension of its SALT MODERN FICTION list.

What we’re looking for

Your novella must deal with 18 to 24 year olds living in contemporary inner-city Britain. [Please note: there is no age limit for authors.] We want issue-led works that tell the truth about what life is like for the young in these islands. Crime, drugs, fun, hope, immigration, integration, joblessness, laughs, love, loss, loyalty, music, sex, surviving and tragedy in modern Britain. We want to hear the stories that will make us sit up and stare in wonder. Lie awake at night. The stories that will break our hearts. Make us laugh out loud. Make us cry. The stories that tell the truth.

Your novella must be:

  • an original work and unpublished
  • between 20,000 and 30,000 words. No more, no less
  • about young lives in contemporary inner-city Britain. That’s the UK only
  • issue-led and utterly fearless
  • about people we care about. We may love them or loathe them, but we must want to know what happens to them
  • It may be about a set of characters and their lives that you want to develop in further novellas
  • It must be unputdownable
  • It must have a completely knock-out ending

What we’re offering

  • a contract purely for eBook publication. You keep all other rights
  • high-quality eBook production and design
  • no advance, but a competitive royalty on net receipts
  • global digital distribution
  • the Salt brand, the Salt team right behind your book, all the way
  • exposure with over 130,000 Salt followers on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter and other social media platforms
  • we’re very happy to receive submissions from your agent

We welcome writers from all backgrounds and are especially interested in Black and Asian writers. We are especially interested in the voices of women.

Make your move

  • Prepare your manuscript carefully. Make it the very best it can be. Do make sure it is spelled correctly and well-punctuated. The language is as important as the story
  • prepare a short synopsis
  • write a short biographical note
  • if you have a social media presence, tell us about it
  • pull it all together and email it to us

Submissions must be sent to [email protected]. Please put MODERN DREAMS in the subject of your email.

Be part of it

While you’re preparing your manuscript or waiting for us to read it, get on our radar and stay there, be part of the Modern Dreams community. If we can’t see you, neither can your future readers.


  • Do you have to be 18–24 years old to submit?
    No, the age range is for the characters in the novella and is also the age range of the target readership.
  • Is there a deadline for submissions?
    No, this is an open invitation for new novellas and we have no plans to close submissions.
  • Can I submit my poetry?
    No, this new initiative is only for novella-length works of fiction.
  • Can I submit my short stories?
    No, this new initiative is only for individual novella-length works of fiction.
  • Do you accept genre fiction?
    We’re happy to read anything that meets the criteria above and have no anxieties about genre, cross-genre or genre-busting works that deal with young lives in contemporary British cities.
  • Can my agent get involved?
    Absolutely. We love agents.
  • Do I need to be living in Britain or be British?
    No, you do not. Salt publishes people from around the world. But the novellas must be about contemporary 18-24 year olds living in British cities.
  • Do you publish previously published works?
    No, we don’t. The works must be original and unpublished.
  • Can the novella be set in the near future?
    No, we want to deal with the here and now in this series.
  • Is this for 16-24 year olds?
    No, that’s not quite the age range. Please note, this isn’t a YA series. This is adult fiction but aimed at 18-24 year olds.

Salt eBooks
Last updated: 16th January 2014 19:45 p.m.

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Can you write scintillating urban prose that’s capable of reaching a mass-market? Tell stories that matter about issues that are compelling, relevant and politically hot? Write about characters we care about in enthralling, thrilling and perhaps terrifying situations? Do you want to be part of one of the UK’s leading independent presses?

Be Part Of It

34 thoughts on “Modern Dreams — calling for submissions

  1. Stamatia Tzoumerka


    This is an extremely interesting issue. I would like to know if there is a deadline for submissions?
    Thank you.

  2. Michelle McCabe

    Is there an age limit for the author, or is the target age-range only for the readership?

  3. Elanor Clarke

    This is a great concept! I was just wondering if the novellas have to be realistic, or if some elements of fantasy can be included? Thanks!

  4. Elanor Clarke

    I’ve just realised I cross-posted and my question has already been answered. Thank you!

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  6. Christopher Hamilton-Emery

    Dear Rachael, not at all, we don’t mind where authors are based and publish people all over the globe. The only requirements are that it must be about contemporary British cities and the lives of 18-24 year olds in those cities.

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  9. Claire Monaghan

    I’m currently working on a novella about young people living in Scotland – it is centred around a 19 year old girl. It is set in St.Andrews and a close village, I was wondering if that meets the criteria enough to be able to enter?

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  13. Kate

    I’m working on a dark novella about 19/20 year olds with super powers in London. Would this work with within the Modern Dreams series?

  14. Steven Timberman

    Hey guys,

    I’ve an abandoned project for my MFA thesis that may fit the requirements – is it kosher if the main character is an american navigating greater London?

    In the current outline there’s also a small section that takes place in Ireland. Would it still be within your criteria if this section were included? If not I’m sure I can tweak the narrative, but I am rather attached to the idea of briefly contrasting Dublin with the sprawling mass known as London.

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  18. Lyndsey

    I was wondering if It would be acceptable for it to be Third Person Omniscient. I am quite attached to the idea of having this narrative from the view point of perhaps five or six characters. Also, I understand that it has be written about a person/group of people aged 18-24. Is it possible to write from the perspective of perhaps, someone a little older? I’d quite like to explore a number of issues through a group of young characters but I am quite keen to write from the point of view of a more pragmatic/mature character i.e. the parent of a younger, naive character.


  19. Ian Stephen

    I know St Andrews but I want to write about the true urban environment that is Stornoway, Isle of Lewis – all the hallmarks – see it on a Saturday night and tour the industrial estates – catch the dudes who cruise with elbows out of windows – can you stretch urban this far NW?

  20. Christopher Hamilton-Emery

    Dear Lyndsey,

    Many thanks for this note. No issue at all with a narrative from multiple perspectives. However, the main characters must be 18-24 years old and the story should be firmly about their view of the world. They may well, of course, be parents themselves.

  21. Michelle Flatley

    This sounds really interesting. I have a WIP about young immigrants in Blackburn, a northern town subject to urban regeneration, or are you looking for novellas specifically set in the city? Thank you.

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