New Author FAQ

Welcome to Dos Madres Press! We are honored to add your voice to our canon of poets who have earned the praise of literary critics such as Paul Auster, Harold Bloom and Robert Bly. This FAQ, along with the Submissions FAQ, represents most questions that our new authors ask- it is NOT intended to discourage you from contacting us directly. We look forward to working with you and are happy to respond to questions. (

Dos Madres Press
Dos Madres Press is dedicated to the belief that the small press is essential to the vitality of contemporary literature as a carrier of the new voice and new works by established poets, as well as the older, sometimes forgotten voices of the past. And in an ever more virtual world, to the creation of fine books pleasing to the eye and hand. Dos Madres is named in honor of Vera Murphy and Libbie Hughes, the “Dos Madres” whose contributions have made this press possible.

Where are you located?
We are located in Loveland, Ohio, outside Cincinnati.

Who runs the press?
Robert J. Murphy is executive editor and Elizabeth Murphy is our book designer/illustrator.

How many books a year do you publish?
We currently average about 20 books a year. This varies depending on the nature of the project and how long any particular book may take.

Publishing with Dos Madres Does Dos Madres pay royalties?
No. Dos Madres is a nonprofit organization (501-c-3) and we do not make any profit off the poetry books we publish.

Do I have to sign a contract?
No. Dos Madres does not use contracts. We have a deep-seated belief that one’s word is one’s bond.

Author Copies
Beginning in 2019, authors are provided five copies of their book at no cost. We also provide copies of our books to various libraries and, in consultation with the author, to about ten reviewers.

Do you require anything of your authors?
While this is not a prerequisite for acceptance, we ask our authors to purchase a significant number—100 if possible— of their books prepublication at an author’s discount. Authors purchasing 100 or more books at one time will receive an author discount of 50% off retail. Authors purchasing less than 100 will receive an author discount of 40% percent off retail. These can be resold by the author at full price. Most books lately have been priced at $17 and $18 because of their size and/or illustrations. While advance purchase is not a prerequisite for acceptance, there are occasions when a lack of funds may delay our ability to publish a manuscript. If this is an issue for you, please let us know so that we can work out a mutually agreeable plan.

When do I need to purchase the books?
When you receive and send back to us your hardcopy book proof, we ask for payment then. We want you to be completely satisfied with your book. From the moment we begin to work together the press invests time and money in your book.

Getting Started

What do I need to do right now?
You need to prepare your final manuscript. We recommend you have a professional proofreader read it first, or anyone with a sharp eye whom you trust. While we are happy to publish your manuscript as it is today, you may have regrets if you see something later in print you would have preferred to correct now.

Does Dos Madres have a style guide?
No. However there are some overriding design principles that guide us. The content must be legible and the design should assist the reader in understanding and enjoying the content. Usually our page width is 6 inches, and with adequate margins this means that we do not like lines of text to run more than about 4 inches in length. The size and style of the font changes line length so it is not really possible to tell you how many characters fit easily. But bear in mind that the usual Word document is a page of 8.5 inch width so lines that do not seem long in that format may in fact push the limits of a narrower page width. We know that long lines are sometimes a poetic necessity and in those cases we do everything we can to make it work, but sometimes we will need to drop and indent the extra length of a line. As the author, we welcome your advice on where to break a line if this become necessary.

How does Dos Madres handle epigraphs, dedications, citations, etc.?
There is no hard and fast rule but generally we set them in a smaller type size, tucked underneath the poem title. We may vary this if you desire it to be different, but would like to maintain consistency between look and purpose within a given book.

What if I want to proofread my manuscript myself?
If you’d like to proofread your manuscript, read the manuscript aloud. You can also read it backwards, starting from the last word on the final page and working to the first one in the first line to look for errors in spelling etc.

Consider checking spaces after periods and ellipses; numbers, em dashes vs. en dashes, serial commas; spelling of compound words and words in other languages; any names, titles or places referenced, and how you would like any epigrams or attributions to appear. Any variations in style (font, spacing, justification, etc.) we assume are intentional.

What happens next?
When you send us an electronic version of your manuscript, typically a Word document, we will lay it out. We will return to it to you again for you to proof until you are satisfied. However, it’s faster and easier if you send us a manuscript that is fully proofread and ready for printing. It also keeps the publisher elves from feeling grumpy.

Book Cover, Blurbs and Photo

What about the cover?
The book design and illustration at Dos Madres Press is the responsibility of artist
Elizabeth Murphy ( Each book is unique – the typography, layout and illustrations are created especially to harmonize with and enhance the particular poems in the book. Elizabeth Murphy often creates illustrations for each book, but occasionally she uses existing art work both of her own and also from other artists or the authors themselves. The goal is to make an appealing book, one where the art of the written word is in balance with the visual arts that both, present it, and accompany it, into the hands of a reader.

If you have any specific cover ideas or suggestions, let us know at the time you submit a final manuscript. Or, if you have cover art ready that you would like to use, let us know or share that with us.

Dos Madres Press reserves the right to make the final decision on the appearance of the book.

Do you use blurbs?
Yes, we recommend that you send your manuscript to blurb providers when you are accepted for publication, so waiting for blurbs to appear does not delay your book’s publication date.

Do you have a limit on blurbs?
No. What we can’t fit on the back cover, we place with the front material. Sometimes we include praise for earlier works by the author.

Do you need a book description?
Yes, we would like you to send us a book description of approximately 100 words. We use this for promotional purposes, it should be succinct and interesting.

Do you need an author’s photo?
Yes. We publish a small black and white author’s photo beside your bio. The photo may be sent in color which we use on our website, and we can convert it if we need to for print.

Do you need to receive everything at once?
It is not mandatory, but we may not begin work on your book until all the pieces we need are in hand.  Long periods of waiting during book production makes for an inefficient thought process and often causes errors. 

Printing Your Book

How does Dos Madres approach book production?
Dos Madres Press uses a small batch production process on our books, which allows us to use color more generously than is usually the case in books of poems. This is a tremendous plus for the book designer, illustrator, and author. The perfect binding allows for more pages to be bound (as opposed to a stapled chapbook) and so extra illustrative space is available. Occasionally we will produce a hard copy version of a book.

How long will it take for my book to be printed?
Once we have completed the design, editing, and layout process and you give your final approval to the Dos Madres digital proof, we then send it to the printer for an unbound hard copy proof. Turn around time at the printer for this is 2 – 3 weeks. We will then send this proof copy to you for final approval before the final press run.

Sometimes there are additional edits needed. If this is the case we send a printer’s PDF for your approval. The entire printing process takes anywhere from four to six weeks.

How long will it take for my book to be published?
Start to finish, from our first contact with you, to the finished books being sent to distributors and you, depends greatly on how clean the manuscript is when you send it to us. Once we begin work on a manuscript we will continue with it until the book is “born”. However if there are many changes after production begins or if the author is too busy or out of town and unable to respond in a timely way to proofs we send, then the process can be very long.

Will my book have an ISBN and Library of Congress number?
Yes. You will need to provide your middle name for us to obtain a Library of Congress number.

Book Sales and Promotion

How will you sell and distribute my book?
First, we place your book for sale on our website, then Small Press Distribution. Small Press Distribution places the book on Amazon and in their widely circulated catalog.

Please be aware that third party distributors take a large percentage of the sales price so often the press loses money on these transactions. For individual purchases please recommend that people go to the Dos Madres website to purchase, it really helps the press.

For bulk orders from bookstores or for readings at locations which want to be the reseller of your book, please contact: Small Press Distribution. If for some reason your timeframe is too tight to go thru Small Press Distribution, as an author, you may always purchase books directly from Dos Madres at your (40% off retail) author’s discount plus shipping (expedited if necessary) and then resell them as you wish.