Coffee House Press: Now Accepting Manuscript Submissions

Written by Emily Harstone

Updated Edit: CHP has temporarily closed their submission window. They plan to reopen to submissions in March and again in September. Both these submission windows will be capped at 300 submissions, so submit early on in the period. In the meantime these publishers of literary fiction are open to unagented submissions: Bellevue Literary Press, Harvard Square Editions, and Douglas & McIntyre.

Coffee House Press (CHP) is a respected literary press with a great reputation. They are only open for short submission periods every year in March and September. These periods are capped at 300 submissions, so submit early. During the last open period they had reached 300 submissions on the third day. Coffee House Press publishes emerging and midcareer authors. They do not focus on bestsellers, but their books are often taught in academic settings and available in libraries and independent bookstores.

All CHP authors have had works published in literary magazines or other publications and they explicitly state on their website that a resume, including a list of prior publications, can strengthen your submission. They publish literary novels, full-length short story collections, poetry, creative nonfiction, book-length essays and essay collections, and the occasional memoir, and are not interested in genre or children’s fiction.

They are very interested in community involvement and increasing accessibility to books. To this end they have a number of community outreach programs. For example since 2011, CHP has donated 12,000 books to the Little Free Library program and CHP’s books have been distributed in over 40 countries because of this.

They have a small staff and publish 18 books a year so it is a very competitive press. All submissions must be made through Submittable. Do not send queries, they are only interested in full manuscripts. They really publish a specific kind of book so it is advisable to either buy one of their books or borrow it from a nearby library. In any case, spend some time with their online catalog. If none of the books in it appeal to you, your book will most likely not appeal to them.

To learn more, visit their submission guidelines here.