Written by Emily Harstone March 19th, 2020

Open Books: Now Accepting Manuscript Queries

UPDATED August 14th, 2023, We’ve since had reader feedback that Open Books has been having long, often confusing or misleading exchanges with authors in terms of potentially acquiring books, without going into details about what their contract involves.

UPDATED MARCH 19TH, 12:30 pm: We just received feedback from an anonymous source that this publisher requires authors to purchase 100 copies of their own book. This is counter to our philosophy that writers should not pay anything to publish their work. We are reaching out to the publisher to learn more. Please proceed with caution. We are sorry about the inconvenience.

Open Books is a publisher of fiction and nonfiction. There is one other company and one other press that have the same/similar names, which is why I linked to the appropriate website in the opening line.

Because of the generic name, it was hard to find out much about the publisher from secondary sites, so most of this information is taken from their own website.

Open Books publishes literary and mainstream fiction, including historical fiction. They also publish political, social, ecological and controversial nonfiction. It was established in 2007.

Their website does not disclose much information about their staff, and all submissions are supposed to be directed at one editor, which sends a very clear message about the size of the company. They don’t appear to have traditional distribution but are available at most online retailers in the US and the UK.

A number of their authors are pretty established, with track records and literary awards. Their covers are a little hit and miss, but there are some good ones. Their website is a little crowded and hard to navigate, but it focuses on selling books not recruiting authors.

It’s clear from their website that they focus on getting their books featured and mentioned in the media and nominated for awards.

For fiction submissions please include a cover letter, as well as a separate author bio, a one page synopsis, and the first three chapters of your manuscript. They also want a basic author marketing strategy. This should be submitted via email as a word .doc or .docx attachment. The name of the document should be your name.

For nonfiction submissions they ask that you submit a cover letter, a detailed outline of your project, an author bio, a sample of your writing (they don’t go into specifics in terms of what this should be) and a basic author marketing strategy.

It is also fine to just start out with a one page query letter, if you are uncertain about fit.

All queries and submissions should be addressed to David Ross.

To learn more or to submit, go to their website here.

Emily Harstone is the author of many popular books, including The Authors Publish Guide to Manuscript SubmissionsThe 2019 Guide to Manuscript PublishersSubmit, Publish, Repeat, and The Authors Publish Guide to Children’s and Young Adult Publishing.

She occasionally teaches a course on manuscript publishing, as well as a course on publishing in literary journals.


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