Submissions Guidelines

River City Publishing produces books of national appeal, usually with an emphasis on Southern writers and Southern stories. At this time, we are publishing approximately six titles per year. Before sending any material, please review our current and recently published books to determine if your book seems appropriate for our list. Guidelines for individual genres are listed below.

We accept unsolicited submissions from new and unagented authors, as well as those from established and agented writers.

All submissions must include a SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope) for our response. If you would like your material returned to you in the event it is not accepted for publication, include an SASE of sufficient size with sufficient postage; otherwise, the material will be recycled. Any submissions lacking a SASE will receive no response.

We do accept queries via email. Please include your query letter as inline text and not an as attachment. Do not include sample chapters as inline text; we do not accept unsolicited electronic submissions of manuscripts or portions of manuscripts as email attachments. We do not field or accept queries by telephone.

Send only one manuscript at a time. We will not consider multiple submissions from a single author. Do not send original artwork, photographs, or any materials that cannot be replaced.

Review of your manuscript may take between three to nine months. Due to our publishing schedule and reading backlog, we do occasionally, if briefly, close to submissions. Please be patient.

Individual Genre Guidelines


Please submit your first five (consecutive) chapters or up to the first 50 pages of your work; submit the entire manuscript only if you feel it is necessary. All first-time novelists (including those who have self-published) who do not have a literary agent should submit to our Fred Bonnie best first novel contest.

* We do not publish fantasy, science fiction, horror, religion, or romance novels.

Fred Bonnie Memorial Award for Best First Novel

The award was established in honor of author and writing teacher Fred Bonnie, who died unexpectedly shortly after we published his only novel, Thanh Ho Delivers. The contest to select the winner is held biannually; please see the contest page for more details.

Short Stories

River City averages one short-story collection every eighteen months. Only authors who have published their work extensively in literary journals or commercial magazines should submit manuscripts. Submittals should include at least five stories and reflect the people and culture of the South.


River City primarily publishes narrative nonfiction that reflects the South. We are looking for mainly for narrative histories, sociological accounts, and travel. Only biographies and memoirs from noted persons will be considered; we are closed to all personal memoir submissions. Include a cover page detailing the project and your experience that makes you an expert in the subject, along with three to five sample chapters.

* We do not publish self-help, how-to, business, medicine, religion, education, or psychology.


We are currently closed to all poetry submissions.

Children’s Books

We are currently closed to all children’s and YA submissions.

Mail submissions to:

Acquisitions Editor
River City Publishing
1719 Mulberry Street
Montgomery, AL 36106


Aside from a market guide, the bookshelf of every writer should sport the following tomes. There are approximately ten million "advice for writers" titles printed every day, but these three are truly no-kidding essential. They are, in no particular order:

NAMING THE WORLD and Other Exercises for the Creative Writer - edited by Bret Anthony Johnston
A whole conference-worth of inspiring lessons, narrative strategies, and exercises under one cover, assembled by Harvard's Director of Creative Writing.

ON WRITING: A Memoir of the Craft - by Stephen King
You've probably heard of Mr. King. Love him or hate him, his take on the craft and the writer's life cannot be ignored.

78 REASONS WHY YOUR BOOK MAY NEVER BY PUBLISHED (And 14 Reasons Why It Just Might) - by Pat Walsh
Witty, pithy, no-nonsense guide to mistakes well-meaning writers make, and how to avoid them, from the founding editor of MacAdam/Cage.