Are there any corporate publishers that still accept neat handwritten manuscripts?

What about manuscripts written in beautiful calligraphy and the author wants to capture the form of the writing (as part of the character) as much as the content of the writing?

  • 2
    Yes, self-publishers. Commented Jan 24, 2014 at 15:17
  • I meant corporate publishers.
    – Double U
    Commented Jan 24, 2014 at 15:18
  • 2
    I sincerely doubt that publishers will accept handwritten materials...I can see adding a calligraphic (is that a word?) font in a final production for emphasis maybe...let me put it this way, I was an assistant professor for a couple years and I didn't even accept hand written assignments...
    – James
    Commented Jan 24, 2014 at 15:23
  • Not since the dead sea scrolls climbed to the of the Babylon Times Best Sellers list.
    – EDL
    Commented Feb 15, 2022 at 6:33
  • 1
    I'm sure if JK Rowling provided a handwritten manuscript they'd consider it. For an unknown author, it's going to be an additional barrier.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Feb 15, 2022 at 11:50

3 Answers 3


If the handwriting is part of the art, every publisher will consider publishing a facsimile of a handwritten text.

An example is the work of Swiss artist Adolf Wölfli. Wölfli was a farm laborer suffering from a mental disorder, who started to create art while living in a psychiatric ward. His "writing" is interwoven with drawings and ornaments, and is published as facsimile, instead of typeset, because the special quality of his art would be lost. An example is his narrative Von der Wiege bis zum Graab.

The criterion by which publishers decide to publish a facsimile of a handwritten text is that the physical object of the paper with the writing on it is a piece of art and not simply a container of narrative. Narrative text can be rendered in any script and is not dependent on the handwriting. So a novel would certainly never be published in facsimile handwriting (except for scholars studying a famous writer and his writing process). But an artist's book will always be reproduced as facsimile.

As with any other type of publication, you have to find a suitable publisher and convince them.

Your questions (about multilingual and handwritten texts) seem to show that you have a view of writing, literature and reading that may be somewhat distinct from the bestseller market. Basically, as an answer to all your questions, there is a market for everything. There is a wide variety of non-standard books published by specialized publishers for a small and specialized readership. Some books have a print run of only a handful copies, and cost a fortune. But if you want to publish through a major publishing house and reach a large audience, you will have the best chance if your books look like any other book – though there are exceptions. But if you perceive of your work as art and find that it must be handwritten and in multiple languages, then that is how it must be, and all you need to do is resign yourself to being read by a small readership or not at all. The numbers of writers who created outstanding works but were never appreciated by the general public is legion. Bestsellers are not usually the greatest books. You must decide: Do you want to sell books? Or do you want to satisfy your own whims? Both is legitimate, but both paths lead to different outcomes.

  • Your advice to find a suitable publisher is more accurate than your claim that every publisher will consider them. There aren't many publishers who publish everything: most publishers succeed by specialisation and narrow expertise.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Feb 19, 2022 at 23:23

I don't believe we have any publishers on here, and I can't say for definite. Still:

They won't be able to scan the manuscript because they'll have very specific formatting and size requirements, as well as the need to be able produce the text in different formats (paper back, hard back, ebook, etc...)

They would have to type up your manuscript and then format it (or more likely tell you to do it.) That's if they accept it. Every submission process I've seen requires very strict formatting. I have seen requests for paper submissions, but they would still end up writing up the document into an electronic format before publishing.

As mentioned in the comments, your best bet is to go for a standard submission and make it clear that you would like to use calligraphy. Steven Hall managed wonderful things with the Raw Shark Texts this way.

As a final note, it would be incredibly hard to read an entire book in calligraphy (impossible for many people) so the chances of that option being taken is likely slim, and as such forcing it on the publisher may well stop them from taking a manuscript they may have taken otherwise.


Somewhere in my father's library he has a book that was not typeset. The scholar who penned it had an incredibly regular and readable hand, and since this book was an index and typos would be a major problem, the decision was made to photograph the manuscript. My father has thousands of books. One was not typeset. Unless your handwriting is almost as good as a linotype, just type it.

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