May 2, 2019

The second annual Melville House nonfiction open reading period


It’s May 2019. Do you know where your great nonfiction ideas are?

Hopefully in our inboxes! That’s right: Melville House is excited once again to open up the ol’ submission email account for a reading period, beginning today and lasting until midnight, June 3.  Our editors will be actively considering proposals for book-length nonfiction manuscripts. Itching to write a definitive history of, oh, something? Hankering to explore a Striking Cultural Construct, Fascinating Topic, or Important Object?  This is your chance! You don’t need an agent. You don’t need to have written the whole book yet. All who stick to the following guidelines are eligible:

  1. Please, for God’s sake, familiarize yourself with our list before submitting! Is your work appropriate? For example, you notice we don’t do how-to’s, right?
  2. Proposal submissions are open to both authors with nonfiction ideas and translators of nonfiction manuscripts. Studies, biographies, journalistic investigations, history, and fact-based intrigues welcome. While we’ll consider subjective approaches, we’re looking for work that reflects upon objective subjects.
  3. All proposals must be between 3,000 and 4,000 words. Each should include an opening descriptive pitch / introduction that outlines your idea in comprehensive detail, including a synopsis of the idea, your angle, and a proposed length; a chapter by summary, a sample chapter, a detailed author bio (showing us, in particular, why you’re the right author for this book), and any other relevant notes. The inclusion of previously published writing, by attachment or link, is encouraged.
  4. The title and subtitle of the proposal should appear in the subject line of your email. Proposals should be attached as a PDF. A short summary of your proposal should be included in the body of your email.
  5. If your idea is to expand upon a previously published work, link to that piece in the pitch, or attach it.
  6. No submission that is potentially libelous will be considered.
  7. Sorry, we’re not considering co-authored entries. Single-author proposals only.
  8. Only one proposal per writer. Choose wisely.
  9. No third-party submissions, please. Each submission must be made by the author or translator of the work.
  10. With regrets, we can only reply to those proposals that we’re interested in hearing more about.

Once again, we will take submissions until midnight, June 3. So get those proposals in order and send them to [email protected].

We look forward to hearing from you!

Michael Barron is an editor at Melville House.