Publishers of Memoir?

It’s submission season again, and as you all know, there are a bazillion first book contests for poets and fiction writers. And you also know I’ve got some ambivalence about all of that. 

Still, I was talking with a friend recently about publishing and we wondered aloud together, What about memoir? Where are all the first book contests for nonfiction? Off the top of our heads we could name four: AWP Award Series, Bakeless, River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize and Many Voices Project (MVP) sponsored by New Rivers Press. But that can’t really be it, can it?

I combed through Poets & Writers and New Pages that night and clicked on just about every link (I really did. It was numbing.) that mentioned “memoir” or “nonfiction” in its description, hoping it would take me to either a nonfiction book contest or a press that accepts queries or full manuscripts without agent representation. For the amount of clicking I did, I didn’t come up with a very long list. I am sure I must be missing some. Missing a lot. But here is that list, which is a start, anyway, and something I would have loved to have found in my own search.

If you know of a press or a contest that ought to be here, please leave me a comment and I’ll include it.

Nonfiction Book Prizes

Bakeless Prize (published by Graywolf)–submit Sept 15-Nov. 1 ($10 fee)

MVP Competition (New Rivers Press)–submit Sept 15- Nov. 1 ($20 fee)

River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Series (U. Nebraska Press)–submit by Nov.1 ($25 fee)

Orphan Press Book-length Creative Nonfiction Contest–check site for deadline ($45 fee)

AWP Award Series–2011 deadline was Feb. 28. Check site for next deadline. ($30 fee)

Literary Presses

Kore Press--open submissions period for book-length creative nonfiction and memoir in January and February. FOR WOMEN ONLY. Send 1-2 pg. synopsis and first 50 pages. ($35 reading fee)

Red Hen Press–accepts unagented manuscripts during the month of June only

Tupelo Press–accepts full-length manuscripts year round. ($45 fee)

Sarabande Books–accepts queries year round ($10 handling fee)

Algonquin Books–accepts queries year round

C & R Press–accepts queries and full-length submissions year round (no official reading fee, but they “invite” authors to make a donation.)

Persea Press–accepts queries year round

EM Press–accepts queries year round

Ashland Creek Press–accepts full-length submissions year round. Focus on travel, the environment, ecology, wildlife only. 

City Lights Books–accepts proposals with sample year round

Greenpoint Press–will accept queries starting winter, 2012

Scarletta Press–accepts queries with sample from Nov. 1-March 1

Bancroft Press–reads partial or full manuscripts year round

Hub City Press–accepts queries in April/May and Sept/Oct. Emphasis on the Southern experience and in books with a strong sense of place.

George Braziller Inc--accepts queries year round

Soft Skull Press–accepts proposals year round

Dzanc Books–send first one or two chapters (35 pages) via their submission manager

Graywolf–next open reading period of full-length ms January, 2013

Melville House–accepts queries year round

Coffee House Press–open reading for ms during Sept. and Oct.

Black Lawrence Press–open reading during the month of Nov.

Sightline Books (University of Iowa Press)–accepts proposals year round

Bison Books (University of Nebraska Press)--accepts proposals year round

University Press of Mississippi–accepts proposals year round

University Press of New England–accepts proposals

University of Alabama Press–accepts proposals

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