Finishing Line Press: Accepting Manuscripts

Written by Emily Harstone | May 15, 2014

Finishing Line Press is a publisher of poetry chapbooks (a chapbook is a small book, generally of poetry, generally containing between 15-30 pages of writing). Finishing Line Press runs a number of contests every year and are open year long to non-contest submissions. Finishing Line Press has been around since 1998 and many of it’s chapbooks have won awards. They have an extensive backlist and have published a large number of good poet’s work.

However, we do not recommend  submitting to them. This is the first time we are reviewing a publisher we do not think you should submit to. The only reason that we are reviewing them at all is that though they have been on the Preditors & Editors list of not recommended publishers for years, many poets still submit to them.

Several writers that I personally admire and enjoy reading have been published by them. This is because they did not know exactly what they were getting into. If you read this entire review and still want to submit your work to them, that is up to you. We will include a link to their website at the bottom, as we always do.

Finishing Line Press charges 15 dollars to submit to any of the contests they host. All have a thousand dollar prize attached. However, in the past (and we have to reason to believe they changed the rules this year) if you don’t win but are chosen for their extensive shortlist they will offer to publish your chapbooks. The catch? You have to to pre-sell a certain number of them to your friends. In our opinion, this is not right. Any acceptance of your book for publication should not involve any conditions involving the author raising money or selling copies.

When they are open to general submissions they still charge writers 15 dollars to submit, with no potential prize or even a book by another author in exchange. This is should not happen. There are a many of other good publishers of chapbooks that do not charge their writers fees.

Even if your book is chosen through the general submission process you will still in all likelihood be expected to pre-sell a large number of your books. One of my friends was driven a little crazy trying to pre-sell enough of her books to her friends in time for Finishing Line to print the book. The way it works is that you can either a print run of 50 books, or  they agree to do a larger print run if you are able to pre-sell books.

There is an additional fly in the ointment, the covers and binding of the books are poorly done. The books that I have from them have fallen  apart, or the covers have started to smear after a reading or two.

If, after all that information, you are still considering submitting to Finishing Line Press you can do so by following the link here: https://finishinglinepress.com/guidelines.php