Written by Emily Harstone December 9th, 2021

Berkley (an Imprint of Penguin Random House): Accepting Manuscript Submissions Through May 17

Updated May 16th 2024: they have reopened to manuscript submissions and the portal is working this time they will stop taking submissions at 5:00 PM ET, May 17th.

Updated March 18th 2024: The submission period did not work out as planned. They had major technical issues and no one was able to make a submission. They have announced plans to re-calibrate and reschedule.

Updated March 15th 2024: They are open to 1,000 submissions starting at 9 am ET March 18th. If you want your work to be considered I highly suggest that you have everything as ready to go as possible and that you submit it right when the period opens. You can read the details here: https://sites.prh.com/berkley-open-submissions-2024

Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House is having an open reading period from December 7th, 2021 through January 9th, 2022. They are seeking full-length adult novels in the following genres: romance, women’s fiction, mystery, suspense and thrillers, horror, science fiction, and fantasy. 

This is the first time they’ve run this program, although they’ve made it clear that they hope to have an open reading period a few times a year now. It is rare for a Big Five publisher to have an open reading period, particularly for a North American imprint. I am confident that one of the big motivating factors for this is their recently completed and released diversity audit which you can read in full here.

They open the call by saying:

At Berkley, we strive to publish commercial fiction that reflects the world we live in and to bring readers stories that encompass a full range of backgrounds, experiences and unique perspectives. With the Berkley Open Submission Program we are opening a direct submission channel in the hopes of reaching more potential authors. We are inviting submissions from all writers, including those sharing underrepresented stories in regards to race, national origin, religion, age, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability. We hope to discover new talent and share their works with the world.

In fact, they explicitly state “Berkley’s Open Submission program is part of its ongoing effort to contribute to Penguin Random House’s overall Diversity, Equity & Inclusion commitments.”

Authors must be unagented to submit to the program, but if they receive an offer from Berkley they can reach out to agents for representation. Projects must only be only submitted to the program once.  Only submit one project at a time. You can only submit completed work.

They also state that “Submissions must include a 1-page synopsis, the first 10 pages of the manuscript, an author bio, and a query letter with links to social media platforms, if applicable, and any other information you wish the editors to consider. A query letter is an introductory one page letter that tells an editor something about the story, something about the writer, and why Berkley should publish the book.”

All submissions must be made through QueryManager.

The open submission program is governed by Penguin Random House’s Privacy policy which you can read here.

To learn more go here.



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