Written by Emily Harstone April 27th, 2017

City Lights Books: Accepting Proposals

Updated March 31st 2022: They have indefinitely closed to unsolicited submissions.

“City Lights Books is an independent publisher of fiction, essays, memoirs, translations, poetry, and books on social and political issues. We do not publish New Age, self-help, children’s literature, how-to guides, or genre works such as romance, westerns, or science fiction.”

City Lights Books is based out of San Fransisco and is indeed part of the famous bookstore there. City Lights Books was started by the famous poet and writer Lawrence Ferlinghetti. They are most often linked to the beat poetry movement. They have published New York Times best selling books. They have been a publisher for over 60 years. They publish about a dozen books each year.

As they state right at the top of their manuscript submission guidelines page “City Lights does not accept unsolicited manuscripts”. They do however accept unsolicited book proposals.

All proposals must be mailed (not e-mailed) to City Lights. Your proposal should include the following

  • A one to two-page letter that describes your book and includes your resumé, with a list of any prior publications and information about your relevant writing and professional experience.

  • A sample (10–20 pages maximum) of your work.

  • An additional outline and table of contents for a nonfiction work.

Staff respond to all submissions within 6 months, but you must include a self addressed and stamped envelope. That is how you will receive your response.

To learn more visit their website here.




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