A Letter from Press Director Meg Reid
February 21st 2023
Something I’ve always loved about working at Hub City Press–and have touted proudly when appearing in front of classrooms and book festivals nationwide–is our commitment to reading unagented submissions that we receive directly from writers.
I’ve always maintained that these open reading periods are the most democratic way for us to fight the immense opacity and gatekeeping of the publishing industry, while also allowing us to find quality manuscripts from the widest community of writers. Our authors are librarians, teachers, homemakers, urban planners, journalists, programmers, activists, and organizers. To limit what we read to just authors who have already obtained representation from an agent–an incredible achievement on its own–would fail to reflect the true diversity of writers working and writing in the South.
The truth is we often contract books from our open calls. For the past few years, one or two books we’ve published each year have come to us in these reading periods. But in recent years as our reputation has grown, it has become harder for us to reach inbox zero in our Submittable account. As of 2022, we receive hundreds and hundreds of queries in each of our reading periods in addition to the queries we receive from literary agents.
We are a mission-driven nonprofit that seeks to introduce southern books to a larger national audience and support these titles with highly specialized editing, publicity, and design. We are a small publisher that publishes only six to eight books a year and two or three of these slots are spoken for due to contests and series we also operate. This means these hundreds of queries are competing for at most two or three spots in our catalog. We pass on many incredible books each year because they are not exactly right for our specialized literary publishing program.
And so, with the goal of making sure we can respond thoroughly and efficiently to all the queries we receive, we made some adjustments to our open reading period. Starting in 2022, we divided our query period into two separate month-long openings for Novels (March, September) and Nonfiction (April, October).
We have also added some additional questions to our submission form that allow us to gather more information about the submitter and their project while considering the query. We ask that you do not send us a project unless you have a completed draft.
We now ask that you include:
A one-page query letter about your manuscript, including: the title, genre, length, description of the work, author background and publication history, any credentials that particularly qualify you to write your book (if you have access to special markets or promotional opportunities for your book, we’d like to know about them as well), and;
An additional file with your complete MS in .docx format.
Your biographical information and a list of writers you know who might be willing to support your book.
What We Are Not Looking For
As always, we are not looking for submissions in the following categories: books for young people (YA, middle grade, or children's), romance, science fiction, mystery, how-to books, horror/paranormal or specific-religion inspirational books. Please do not send us a query if your book has already been self-published, even only as an eBook.
Writers with short story collections and poetry collections can send to our biennial prizes: New Southern Voices Poetry Prize (open every other spring) and C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize (open every other fall).
What We Are Looking For
Novels, book-length creative nonfiction, and memoirs that reinterpret, reimagine, or interrogate the modern or historical South.
As always, we remain committed to publishing and supporting lesser-heard Southern voices, including Black and Indigenous people, queer and trans people, immigrants, people with disabilities, writers debuting over 40, writers without MFAs, as well as people from ethnic, cultural, and religious groups who have been oppressed and underrepresented by the publishing industry. We look forward to seeing your book!
Click here to Submit
*Please note, open query period begins March 1.