We are currently open for:
Book reviews (online)
Books: specifically book length works of nonfiction (see below for more information)
Barrelhouse Amplifier: a $1,500 cash award for an emerging literary organization
Thanks for thinking of us as a home for your work! Unsolicited submissions are the fossil fuel that keeps the Barrelhouse moped puttering along on the side of the literary highway.
Please read these instructions before you submit. We know we aren’t reinventing the wheel here, but it will make it easier on all of us if you have a general sense for what we’re looking for and how we’d like to get it.
We accept submissions through the Submittable online submissions manager. That’s the only way we accept submissions.
No previously published work.
There is no maximum length, although we tend to publish stuff shorter than 8,000 words
Please submit only one piece at a time. Except for poetry. You can submit up to five poems. Everybody else — just one!
Online issues have their own guidelines, so be sure to read them.
We pay $50 to each contributor to our print issues, as well as two contributor copies. All contributors are also promised free beer, if we ever run into you in the flesh. If you don’t believe us about the free beer, ask around a little bit. We are frequently tipsy and imprudently generous.
We accept simultaneous submissions — you would have to be insane to be sending your stuff out to one place at a time, right? Seriously. We hope you’ll tell us as soon as possible if you place the work elsewhere, though.
It will probably take us ~six months to get back to you. We try to do that faster, but there are few of us and many of you.
About electronic files: Please only send us word or rich-text (.rtf) files. Seriously. If you send something in a file format that we can’t read, it greatly reduces your chances of publication. For poetry, please submit your poems as a single document.
Barrelhouse Books is looking specifically for book-length works of nonfiction.
We’ve recently retooled our books operation, bringing on an assistant books editor, Lilly Dancyger, who’s going to team up with our existing books editor, Mike Ingram, to bring our next title into the world. You can read more about Lilly here.
This go-round, we’re open to reading book-length works of personal, innovative nonfiction, as well as essay collections. We’re especially keen to see books that take interesting or unusual vectors through their subject matters.
Some nuts and bolts:
Barrelhouse Books pays authors a $500 advance as well as a generous split of any royalties.
Promotion and Distribution.
Barrelhouse distributes its books through Small Press Distribution, which gets our titles into select bookstores nationally, as well as online, both through SPD’s online store and Amazon. We also sell our books at events and conferences, including AWP, and we’ll do our best to arrange readings and appearances for authors we work with. Still, small press publishing being what it is, and our resources being necessarily limited, authors will need to be active partners in promoting their work (i.e., if you want to go on The Today Show and drink wine with Hoda and Kathie Lee, that would be awesome, but you’ll probably need to pull those strings yourself).
What do we mean by “innovative” nonfiction?
We know that’s a pretty vague term. But it means we’re interested in seeing work that pushes boundaries, and that surprises us. We’re probably not interested in your straight-ahead memoir about the time you ate, prayed, and loved your way across the globe. Not because that book isn’t great! It’s just not going to be for us. Innovative could apply to subject matter, or form, or both. Like, maybe you wrote letters to God every day for a year. Or you did a deep dive researching a movie you watched a hundred times as a kid. Or you’re Maggie Nelson, and you wrote a book called Bluets, but we’re living in an alternate universe where Bluets wasn’t published yet and you want Barrelhouse Books to publish it.
Get those manuscripts ready.
Submissions will open on January 1 and close at the end of the month. We’ll ask you to tell us about the project and send along a 10-15 page sample. If it sounds like something that’s up our alley, we’ll write back and ask to see more. Please note that the book should be completed at the time you’re submitting your description and sample. While we expect to work with the author to shape and edit the finished product, we’ll want to read a full manuscript before making any kind of agreement to publish.
BARRELHOUSE is a registered 501(c)3