Thank you for considering Caffeinated Press as a potential publishing partner.

This site is the only authoritative source of information about Caffeinated Press’s editorial policies, submission requirements and price points. Several other websites have scraped our information without our permission and without notification to us. We are not responsible for other people misinterpreting or misrepresenting our guidelines. We welcome tips about sites that present information that conflicts with the information you’ll find, below.

Please read these guidelines in their entirety. Use the form at the bottom of the page to send material for our consideration. We do not accept electronic queries/proposals through any mechanism other than the form on this page (for normal long-form queries or for the Brewed Awakenings anthology) or on the submissions page for our literary journal, The 3288 Review.

Revision History (last 90 days):

  • Rev. 82, 8/6/17 — Minor language updates. Relaxed de-identification requirements given changes to our query-review process.
  • Rev. 81, 7/16/17 — Added new section about requirements for contracting with authors; revised section about author expectations.

Contents.  These guidelines, at more than 6,400 words in length, are perhaps a bit longer and more complex than what you’ve experienced with other publishers; we keep them thorough and up-to-date to minimize the risk of misaligned expectations. The last revision date appears above this section, as well as a summary of the changes we’ve made in the last rolling three-month window. See the list below for summary info; click the link to proceed straight to that section’s anchor for more detailed information. We urge you to read all of the guidelines, carefully, to reduce your odds that we’ll pass on your proposal. We’ve taken considerable time to curate this guidelines document. Although we sincerely welcome questions about points not covered here — such inquiries help us fine-tune our query framework! — it will not serve to your advantage to call or email us with questions that are very obviously answered on this page.

  • Basic Requirements — the work must be complete, you must own it and you must be authorized to work in the U.S.
  • What We Accept — pretty much anything in any genre, style or length
  • Non-Literary Contributions — we also accept art, photography, etc.
  • Content Considerations — ultimately, a pitched project must tell a compelling story with literary grace, but pride-of-preference attaches to West Michigan authors; we have a tougher time with fusion, flash and stand-alone novellas; we follow AP Stylebook guidelines and do not support avant-garde approaches to grammar/spelling/syntax; certain controversial subjects, although welcome, will be subject to a higher literary bar
  • Quality of Content — please don’t pitch drafts that haven’t been reviewed by skilled beta readers or professional editors
  • How to Query — we request a cover letter plus a synopsis and a writing sample
  • File Formats — PDF for cover letters and non-fiction book proposals; otherwise, attachments not allowed
  • Review Timelines — for long-form independent projects, 15 to 45 days for determination; for the anthology, notification in early June; for journal submissions, notification within two weeks after an issue deadline
  • How We Evaluate Queries — we employ a blinded review process staffed by in-house editors
  • Contracting Approach — a successful query opens the door; authors must sit for an interview with our executive editors before we’ll sign a long-form contract, to ensure that we’re all in sync on expectations
  • Agents — agent inquiries welcome
  • Expectations from Authors — you’ll be expected to participate in marketing activities we coordinate
  • Pay to Publish — we’re not a vanity press, so we neither request or accept compensation from authors to publish their work
  • Reading Fees and Submission Tools — no reading fees for normal inquiries, and therefore no access to tools like Submittable
  • Compensation — long-form independent projects usually pay 60 or 70 percent of net profit plus a token advance while anthology/journal pieces feature one-time license fees on sliding scales
  • Assignment of Rights — we normally exclusively license print/ebook/audio rights in English in the countries in which our distributors operate, for a defined period identified in the contract
  • Work for Hire — available for specific small projects that we solicit according to our spec (work pitched by authors is never considered work-for-hire)
  • Multiple or Simultaneous Submissions — welcome, with caveats
  • Resubmissions — welcome, with caveats
  • Reprints — never accepted, and that includes reprinted online or self-published work
  • Postal Submissions — accepted
  • Email Submissions — not accepted
  • Rejections — we always respond, even in the negative
  • Online Submission — preferred (follow this anchor to jump to the form)

Basic Requirements. Certain basic hurdles must be cleared before we can even consider your book idea:

  • You may only query a completed manuscript, not work in progress, if you’re proposing fiction. If you’re submitting material for a book that requires illustration or internal art, you must supply this material in addition to the text. (For example, if you’re pitching an illustrated children’s book, you must have the images already at hand; we will not find an illustrator for you.) Nonfiction queries should include a standard book proposal.
  • You must own the copyright to the material you’re querying and have a clear license to any otherwise copyrighted material within the work you’re pitching — including photos and illustrations.
  • The work must not have been published before, in any format, for any reason. Significantly, we will not publish work that’s been previously self-published or published online by the author.
  • You must be authorized to work in the United States — contracted authors must complete IRS paperwork that discloses a domestic or international U.S. taxpayer identification number.

What We Accept. Caffeinated Press accepts all queries, including pitches for never-before-published novels, textbooks, poetry, short stories, photo essays, graphic novels, short-form personal essays or long-form nonfiction work. In addition to specific long-form projects, we publish an annual house anthology titled Brewed Awakenings and a semiannual literary journal called The 3288 Review. We do not limit queries based on length, format or genre; as long as the content has literary merit, we will consider it.

We differentiate three different product segments — long-form, journal and anthology — within our editorial framework and the latter two of these may, from time to time, maintain acceptance criteria slightly more or less restrictive than the long-form guidelines contained on this page. You will therefore find it fruitful to follow the links in the preceding paragraph to see how the anthology or the journal differ from these general guidelines. The adjustments to the general guidelines you’ll find on those project-specific pages supersede what you’ll find here.

Non-Literary Contributions. We welcome one-time or recurring contributions of art, photography, illustration or visual-art projects, either as stand-alone pitches or as adjunct parts of a different project.

Content Considerations. Please note the following general points:

  • Geographic focus. Our mission is to connect readers and writers in West Michigan. We do not exclude non-local authors if they present compelling content with literary grace, but local submissions will always receive preference. We define “local” as including residents, former residents, students, or frequent visitors to the area approximately west of US-127 between The Bridge and the Indiana/Ohio state lines. Our geographic consideration governs the author, not the content; we don’t care whether the work is about our region, so please don’t try to shoehorn place references into the work thinking (incorrectly) that you’ll receive an advantage. If you have no connection to West Michigan whatsoever and you’ve never been published before, we ask you to think carefully about whether it’s appropriate for you to submit to us. We encourage aspiring, unpublished authors to look first to independent presses within their home community to get a feel for the publishing process, before reaching out to non-local markets.
    • IMPORTANT: Beginning with Vol. 3 of The 3288 Review, to be published in the autumn of 2017, we will no longer accept non-local submissions to our literary journal. We will, however, still allow non-local queries for the anthology and for regular long-form projects.
  • Genres and discoverability. Content that defies straightforward genre categorization is difficult for a full-spectrum publisher of our size to address effectively because we must submit metadata to our distribution partners that clearly identifies a specific genre associated with an ISBN number. Just because you think your futuristic Steampunk vampire gay romance set in ancient Egypt is great — and maybe it is! — doesn’t mean we can position it effectively on the market. If your story defies straightforward classification, please consider pitching it to a specialty fusion or genre publisher instead of to us, so your story can get the bespoke marketing support it deserves. For example, World Weaver Press focuses on sci-fi, fantasy and speculative work, and MiFiWriters produces a well-done annual speculative fiction anthology.
  • Nonfiction. Please send us your nonfiction material. We still need a cover letter and writing sample, but instead of a synopsis, please send us your book proposal. In our process flow, “nonfiction” is defined as a long-form technical work — e.g., a textbook that would be published by itself. Short-form technical nonfiction (like interviews, reviews, work presented in a journalistic style or investigative pieces) and creative nonfiction of any length (like memoirs or advocacy essays) are evaluated using the same process as fiction queries.
  • Novellas. Although we accept novella pitches, novellas and short novels are tough to produce as stand-alone works. We ordinarily welcome novella/novelette pitches for our Brewed Awakenings anthology but not as stand-alone titles. If we accept a stand-alone book of fewer than 50k words, it will be for a local author only, and we may elect to publish only in e-book format, or merge novellas in the same genre into one larger print collection, or recommend serialization in our journal. We will not publish stand-alone novellas or novelettes by non-local authors.
  • Flash fiction. Please consider channeling your flash stories to our journal instead of to the anthology. The effort associated with editing, contracting and managing flash-length stories is significant enough that the return-on-investment ratio isn’t very high. As such, although you’re certainly welcome to pitch it, we generally don’t often license very short stories.
  • Poetry.  We welcome poetry submissions — individual poems are usually channeled toward the journal — but please remember that highly structured poems that might look lovely on an 8.5×11 canvas in your word processor do not translate effectively to smaller trim sizes. As such, we may decline highly structured poems if we cannot reasonably fit them as-is within a specific publication’s physical dimensions.
  • Memoirs. The memoirs of authors who aren’t already public figures very rarely sell enough copies to even recover basic production costs. We are therefore unlikely to accept memoirs, autobiographies, family histories or related works by or about authors who are not widely known in the community and who lack the network to help us sell a meaningful number of copies of the work.
  • Style. The material we publish conforms to our in-house style manual. This manual aligns closely with The Associated Press Stylebook and The Chicago Manual of Style with a small number of additional local conventions. This point is significant for authors who prefer avant-garde approaches to syntax, capitalization, punctuation and pronoun selection. We use quotation marks, capital letters, paragraph breaks and narrative structures that are well-established in the industry. We will not publish in alternative style formats, and this rule is not subject to negotiation. This approach follows with author names, as well — you might call yourself “bob jones” or “Bob from Detroit” or “Bobby J.” but we will call you “Bob Jones.” We allow pseudonyms but they must look like a real name.
  • No content exclusions. We place no formal, categorical restrictions on content — we accept controversial subjects, strong language or graphic scenes. But ….
    • Sensitive material. Despite our lack of hard content barriers, certain stories must clear a higher literary bar than others. In particular, content that consists of political manifestos, conspiracy theories (including “alternative history” material), overtly sectarian or religiously devotional themes (including militantly atheistic content), fan fiction referencing copyrighted material, or poorly executed controversial prose, faces stricter scrutiny. The standard is also higher for material that appears to celebrate child/elder abuse, sexual assault, animal cruelty, torture, various paraphilias, racism, sexism, homophobia or other forms of discrimination. We evaluate submissions that include this sort of content and may even accept some pitches, but the work must demonstrate such a high level of quality from the outset that it’s unlikely that queries from early-career writers will be accepted.
  • Advocacy material. The Caffeinated Press board of directors must explicitly approve any works with a didactic or advocacy bent, to protect our own brand against co-opting by others. Content intended to raise awareness of a product, service or cause will be subject to strict scrutiny by the board and may entail specific contractual adjustments regarding the marketing and promotion of the work to disassociate Caffeinated Press from any perceived endorsement of the product, service or cause in question.
  • Private anthologies or fundraising projects. With the exception of established partners of Caffeinated Press, we generally do not publish anthologies (collections of stories, art, poems, etc., contributed by several different people) developed by editors outside of our team, because of the inherent legal risk associated with copyright licensing among contributors who lack a direct relationship with us. Furthermore, we are unlikely to publish books intended to serve as a fundraiser for an organization, event or cause. As a for-profit corporation, Caffeinated Press cannot provide the sort of in-kind donations people seek when they pitch us projects intended to raise funds for other organizations. Not only do we have our own revenue picture to account for, but the paperwork associated with non-profit donations and tax-exempt purchases usually precludes individual authors from eligibility. However, if you represent a 501(c)(3) based in West Michigan, we are open to conversation about specific fundraising projects.
  • Chapbooks and Private Collections. Because chapbooks and single-author anthologies of any length are wickedly difficult to sell, we accept these requests primarily from contributors who either currently reside in West Michigan or who enjoy an established national or regional reputation as an author or poet.
  • Target Word Counts. The unit cost of a printed book is a function of trim size and page count. Certain price points are more likely than others to sell well. As such, although we do not stipulate maximum or minimum word counts, we are economically more disposed toward works in the 85,00o-to-125,000-word range. Shorter works (e.g., novels less than 80k words) present a cost-to-revenue picture less favorable than standard-length novels and are therefore much less likely to be accepted.
  • Multi-Volume Works. We welcome pitches that are part of a series. Depending on whether subsequent books are completed, we may contract for one volume or several. If we do not explicitly contract for follow-up works in the series or set in the same universe, our contract grants us the right of first refusal on subsequent works. We will not, however, explicitly identify or promote a volume/series label if we contract for a single initial book.
  • Works in a Defined Fictional Universe. We welcome genre fiction that’s part of an author’s defined universe. However, Caffeinated Press solely reserves the right to determine whether that universe is explicitly identified in a work’s title or on its cover. For example, if we elect to publish a detective novel and the work in question is one of a series of manuscripts the author is working on, we are unlikely to brand that one novel as a “Detective Suzy Smith Mystery” or something similar.

The final arbiter of whether we’ll publish something distils to a single question: Does the material tell an interesting story with literary grace in a manner that can at least break even in the target market? As such, we’re less interested in sharing a laundry list of requirements than in setting a general expectation and treating every query on a case-by-case basis informed by a deep read of the material as a whole.

Quality of Content. We strongly encourage authors to avoid querying first drafts. To us, a “first draft” is any material that hasn’t been revised in light of feedback from others who are competent to critique works in your genre. Whether you’ve done one pass or one hundred, if no one else has seen it, then it’s still a first draft. Find beta readers who will help you hone the manuscript; better yet, hire a professional editor to review your material. It’s not unusual for us to reject submissions because of significant line-edit problems or various structural flaws including over-writing and weak characterization and improper speech attribution. Review our editor’s toolkit for assessing fiction for insight into the kinds of things we look at. Pay special attention, too, to concerns about the coherence of the story’s point of view and best-practice standards for manuscript formatting.

In our experience — and contrary to the gruff mumbling of other publishers — we’ve found that most material we receive falls along a standard Gaussian distribution: We see a small tail of abysmal writing, a small tail of breathtakingly beautiful writing, and a giant chunk in the middle that’s fundamentally competent, to varying degrees of success. However, the quality of your work probably needs to rank in the 90th percentile or better to be considered for publication by Caffeinated Press. On the upside, it’s straightforward to meet this threshold … if you let experienced beta readers and professional editors review your work before you send it to us. Our seasoned editors can identify with almost-perfect accuracy a “first draft” (i.e., the only one who’s seen it is the author) within usually the first 250 words. These first-draft submissions are never accepted.

How to Query. We require three separate documents, all of which must be included:

  • First, we ask for a standard cover letter, including a biographical statement that includes your writing or editing history; the seriousness of your cover letter is a strong indication to us of the seriousness of your maturity as an author. Letters for general-interest or anthology projects should be addressed to Jason Gillikin; letters for the journal should be addressed to John Winkelman. This letter is your first impression to us, so if we can tell you didn’t take it seriously, you’re indirectly telling us something very important about yourself. We may reject works before editorial review if the cover letter is missing or substandard.
  • Second, we need a synopsis of the content. The synopsis should be a fair summary of the plot/content, not a back-of-the-cover teaser intended to draw in readers. A synopsis is necessary even if you’re giving us the whole story. And yes, even if the story is flash fiction. The synopsis serves a specific and important role in our review process. Even if you have a “surprise twist,” we need to know about it at the first-pass evaluation marker instead of discovering it on a cold read later on. Please be fact-based and avoid marketing pitches within the synopsis. However, instead of a synopsis, please send us a formal book proposal if you’re proposing long-form technical non-fiction work (e.g., a textbook). The synopsis cannot be incorporated in your cover letter. Aim for a synopsis word count equaling the greater of 250 words or 1/35th of the total manuscript word count.
  • Third, we want a (roughly) 2,000-word scene or sample chapter, so we can assess the quality of your writing. Send the whole thing, however, if the entire work is less than 5,000 words or if you’re submitting to the Brewed Awakenings anthology or to The 3288 Review journal. If you elect to send a scene from the middle of a larger work, a few sentences of clarification to tee up the scene for our editors is appreciated. We are not sticklers for the word count on the sample, although very short or very long samples are not helpful. If you’re submitting a non-fiction proposal, please include a writing sample of any kind to help us gauge your technical skill with the language, even if the sample is unrelated to the proposal.

Our submission form requires you to paste your sample and synopsis into a text box. We ask that you refrain from adding any identifying information (your name or contact details) because in some cases, the sample/synopsis will be vetted by specialty editors and this part of the process is de-identified. The only place we want to see your contact information, apart from required form fields, is in your cover letter. If you insert contact info into the sample/synopsis boxes, we’ll reject the query without further review.

Authors who willfully circumvent our blinded review procedure will be permanently barred from publication with us. Please don’t get clever and send Tweets or Facebook status updates announcing what you’ve sent to us. We guarantee that if you poke this particular bear, the bear will not resist the urge to maul the transgressor.

File Formats. To minimize the risk to us from accepting potentially unsafe files, we restrict uploaded documents to the PDF and ZIP formats only. Because so many authors have struggled to de-identify metadata within Microsoft Word documents, we no longer accept file attachments for the synopsis or sample, and we accept PDF (only) for the cover letter.

Please keep the total size of all attachments to less than 10 MB — if the package is larger, our messaging system may not deliver your query to us. In the unlikely event that you need to transmit larger documents, you may put them on a cloud-storage server, provided that (a) we do not need to log in to access the file, and (b) the URL to the file is not obfuscated by a link shortener. The URL should include the file name within it, so we know what we’re clicking; if we are unsure about the safety of the link, we will not click it and therefore we will not accept your query. We do not ordinarily accept documents by email.

Within our editorial project flow, Caffeinated Press uses plain-text files augmented by Markdown so we can track changes in our version-control system efficiently and avoid unintended loss of formatting that often occurs with Word-to-InDesign file imports. We do not, however, expect authors to send us Markdown files — especially at the query phase. However, if your material relies on formatted text (e.g., italics), you would be well advised to paste the synopsis or sample in Markdown format. Use the free online Word to Markdown Converter if you wish — just upload your Word file and presto! the website spits out the Markdown version you can just paste into our template. This step is optional, but we are not responsible for loss of formatting in those cases where you declined to send Markdown.

Review Timelines. We usually take about two to six weeks to review a query and to respond to the author, with two exceptions.

First, we accept anthology submissions year-round, but we do not notify about acceptance or rejection until late June or early July of each year.

Second, queries intended for the literary journal are accepted continuously, but acceptance/rejection notifications only follow after a given issue’s due date. As such, it can take between 15 to 90 days to get a response on a journal query, depending on when the query was submitted relative to an issue’s editorial calendar.

Caffeinated Press suspends most activity in the month of November so that our team can focus on our own writing, either for fun or as part of National Novel Writing Month. Queries submitted in October or November may experience longer turnaround times.

How We Evaluate Queries. All inbound queries route to the chairman of the Editorial Committee or the editor of The 3288 Review.

Fiction and creative nonfiction. The executive editors of the house review the synopsis, sample and cover letter. In cases where we’d like feedback from one or more members of our editorial team, we’ll pass along the de-identified sample and synopsis for additional comments.

Technical non-fiction. The executive editors of the house will independently evaluate the book proposal and determine potential next steps. Our separate process for nnonfictiononly applies to book-length material like textbooks; shorter works, and creative non-fiction (e.g., memoirs), will be evaluated using the same de-identified process as fiction queries.

Every publisher stipulates slightly different variations on a preferred submission process. Because of the volume of inquiries we receive and the automated way our submission tool pushes queries into our editorial project-management system, we appreciate it when authors respect that we ask for the materials and methods in the way that we do, to support efficient processing of inbound material. Our chief goal is to reduce rework, preserve author anonymity and facilitate the timely processing of new submissions. We recognize that the onus falls on submitting writers to learn the quirks of each publisher, and we acknowledge the complexity of our process by not charging reading fees. We’re grateful for your cooperation.

Contracting Approach. Authors come in all shapes, sizes and levels of experience. In the early years of Caffeinated Press, we tended to extend contracts if we liked the manuscript. That process no longer governs. Now, after we accept a query and then favorably read the full manuscript, a prospective author must meet with several of our executive editors for an interview — wherein we will clearly outline our behavioral expectations, review our editorial policy manual and demonstrate our mandatory suite of online project-management tools. If our leadership team notes concerns about the professionalism, maturity or flexibility of the author, we will decline to extend a contract.

We require these interviews for long-form (novels, textbooks) projects only and not for short-form works (items intended for the Brewed Awakenings anthology or The 3288 Review literary journal.

Our long-form contracts, although they follow a standard template that generally adheres to author-friendly best practices, remain open to negotiation (anthology and journal contracts do not). We ask, however, that if you request substantial edits, that you do so in partnership with your attorney. Many changes that have been requested of us over the years by authors unguided by legal counsel have been either superfluous or contrary to Michigan law.

Agents. We welcome queries from agents, provided the agent submits on the writer’s behalf and includes his or her own contact information in the notes section of the form. We are happy to collaborate by email or phone with agents to answer specific questions about our process.

Expectations from Authors. If we accept your query, we’ll let you know our intentions and next steps; some queries may be accepted but not acted upon right away, depending on the state of our publication calendar. After a contract is executed, authors must strictly adhere to the timeframes specified in our agreement regarding the return of edited copy and related material. At the time of distribution for novels and other long-form projects, we expect the author to be present for some basic functions like book signings or media interviews, but we do not expect the author to take primary responsibility for marketing. For non-local authors of a long-form work, we expect that you’ll be present in the greater Grand Rapids area for at least one launch event, and that travel and lodging are on your own dime. If you’ve never been published before, we invite you to read our Eight Tips for First-Time Published Authors for thoughts about the book-development process.

The turnaround time on a manuscript ranges from nine to 36 months, and the specific timing (we do not commit to launch dates until the book is complete) depends on the overall production schedule for the press as a whole.

When we ask to see your full manuscript, we’ll want to see that it’s properly formatted.

As part of our market-development effort, we’ll ask you some tough questions about your background and about the various inspirations for the story, to assess potential P.R. problems. Having skeletons in your closet is, by no means, a barrier to publication. However, we need to be aware of those skeletons to reduce your risk of a lawsuit or negative media after your work appears in print. Several members of our leadership team have — to put it lightly — accumulated some interesting life experiences, so you will not be judged or dismissed simply because your life hasn’t mirrored a 1950s-era sitcom family.

We also require some behavioral norms of our authors, including:

  • Flexibility with Caffeinated Press’s editorial schedule,
  • Mandatory use of our online project-management tools,
  • Demonstration of appropriate adult behaviors including non-disparagement and non-harassment standards,
  • Understanding of, and conformance to, Caffeinated Press’s editorial policy manual and
  • A willingness to strictly follow the contract and in a professional manner.

Pay-to-Publish. Because Caffeinated Press is not a vanity publisher, we will not solicit the author for financial contribution to support publication, nor will we accept any query from any author who wishes to pay for publication for works we otherwise would not accept.

We very strongly encourage early-career authors to steer clear of publishers that guarantee publication in exchange for an up-front payment. This pay-to-publish practice is known as “vanity publishing” and often functions as a significant black mark on your credibility as an author with more established, legitimate publishers. We’re aware of several authors who were rejected by large- and mid-sized publishers solely because of a vanity imprint in the author’s publication history. In other words: If you’re writing checks to the publisher instead of the other way around, run like hell.

Reading Fees and Submission Tools. Caffeinated Press does not assess reading fees for any of our product channels, although specific special projects may or may not assess a reading fee depending on the nature of the project and the scope of its intended compensation or marketing reach. Because we do not charge a reading fee for ordinary work product, and because we use a de-identified evaluation protocol, we cannot offer access to submission-management tools like Submittable; those tools may be free for the author but they generate a substantial expense for the publisher and make editorial workflow more cumbersome for all but the most basic of initiatives.

Compensation. Compensation structures vary based on the nature of the work product. Short-form works published in the Brewed Awakenings anthology or in The 3288 Review are usually priced at a fixed rate (a time-limited license akin to first serial rights), payable on terms specified in our contract. Novels, textbooks or other major long-form projects are generally paid on a percent-of-profit basis, with authors retaining 60 percent of net profit after basic production expenses are met and earning a token advance provided at the time of contract execution ($50).  The author’s share increases to 70 percent in the rare cases where the author presents a print-ready project that does not require the full range of editorial and development services we ordinarily provide. We share, as requested, independent accounting of sales for authors who may wish to inspect the books, so there is no dispute about how a given work actually performed on the market. We generally do not offer contracts with a fixed royalty per unit of sale, for reasons we believe are fairly compelling.

Assignment of Rights. Because we recognize that some authors are particular about the specific terms of rights assignments, we individually negotiate specific intellectual-property terms as part of our standard contracting package for long-form works. In general, we retain only an exclusive license to publish the work in paper, e-book and audio book form while the work remains an active part of our catalog. The length of the catalog term is explicitly identified in our contract. We only request English-language rights for those territories where our wholesale distribution partners maintain a presence.

Our contracts for anthologies and the journal function similarly, but are not subject to negotiation, given our need to operate under a single rights regime for a given product. These contracts may include a non-exclusive license to republish after the exclusive window concludes.

You must be able to transfer exclusive rights to us as specified in the contract. Any other licensure, including non-exclusive licenses to other publishers or corporate entities, is not permissible.

Work for Hire. From time to time, we may specifically invite certain work product to meet a specific need. For example, we may solicit or commission a short-form work for The 3288 Review or a cover for a novel or cutlines for a photo essay. Although we are willing to negotiate on licensing and rights, our default position for work we invite or solicit according to our specification is that it’s work for hire, with permanent assignment of all rights to the publisher for text, or a permanent non-revocable (but non-exclusive) license to art and photography used for book covers. Work that’s submitted by authors through our normal query process, and which wasn’t written at our invitation and according to our specification, is not considered work-for-hire and is treated as normally licensed work.

Multiple or Simultaneous Submissions. We welcome more than one submission from a writer — although we do not allow multiple submissions for a single issue of The 3288 Review. We also do not object if you submit your material to other publishers or agents simultaneously. We only develop an exclusive relationship with you when we sign a contract; before then, the material you write is yours to shop around as you see fit. We ask, however, that if you’ve submitted a query to us, and you later elect to move forward with a different publisher or with an agent, that you let us know so we can remove your query from our queue.

One caveat about multiple submissions: We occasionally correspond with inexperienced authors who pepper us with query salvos. You are free to do so — but it makes much more sense for you to send one item, let us respond, and then determine whether to send more. It’s just as disappointing for us as it is for you, when we must transmit a half-dozen rejections to the same author in the same month for a misalignment that could have been corrected through a one-at-a-time approach.

We urge you to think thrice about publishers that ban multiple or simultaneous queries. Almost no publisher accepts more than a tiny fraction of inbound proposals, so more-restrictive guidelines serve no useful purpose.

Resubmissions. If we rejected a query but you’ve revised it in light of our feedback, we generally welcome re-submission. Please follow the normal query process, using the form provided at the bottom of this page. We encourage resubmitting authors to look beyond our initial rejection comments for ways to improve the manuscript; we are not looking for a check-the-box reply to comments raised at first rejection by our editorial team.

Reprints. We do not accept reprints (e.g., second serial rights). If the work has been published in any market in any form, in whole or in part, at any time before we review it, we will not move forward with the project. This expectation includes self-published work or serialized online publication. We may make an exception for small pieces within a larger collection — e.g., we’d consider a poetry collection if one of the poems had won an award and was published elsewhere. However, the author must provide us with written verification that we can reprint that specific work without any additional licensing fees or contracts. We will not license works from other publishers.

We occasionally encounter newly minted MFAs who pitch a thesis novel. If your institution publishes extended passages of the novel online, even as part of publishing your thesis, Caffeinated Press will not consider the novel for publication.

We will consider subsequent editions of a non-fiction work (e.g., a textbook) if the edition presented to us differs from the original by 10 percent or more.

We will verify, to the best of our ability, whether the work has been previously published, prior to contracting. It will not serve to your advantage to mislead us about a work’s publication history; our standard contract includes language that warrants and guarantees the uniqueness of the work under contract, with substantial contractual penalties accruing to the author if such guarantee is later shown to be fraudulent.

In short: Please don’t pitch us stuff you’ve self-published or released on a website.

Postal Submissions. We prefer the use of the form, below, but authors are free to submit their query package by USPS to 3167 Kalamazoo Ave. SE, Suite 203, Grand Rapids MI  49508. Please include answers to the questions in our online form when you send us mail. Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope if you want any of your material returned; otherwise, we’ll respond by letter or email.

Email Submissions. We do not accept emailed manuscripts, because of the specific requirements of our project-management tool. If you wish to submit electronically, please use the form below. In particular, we cannot accept queries submitted through our Contact Us form.

Rejections. Very few queries get accepted. Caffeinated Press does not reject authors with silence, however; if you believe you’ve pitched us and haven’t heard a response within the timeframes listed above, you are welcome to follow up requesting a status update using our Contact Us form. Given the volume of queries we receive to The 3288 Review, our responses to journal queries may be terse and scripted. However, long-form and anthology queries will receive a detailed response indicating the reason for rejection and our editors’ internal notes justifying their votes; in addition, the rejection note for long-form and anthology queries will include comments from the query manager (the only person who sees the cover letter and identifiable author data) about the quality of the overall package, including the cover letter.

Please visit The 3288 Review to submit a query to our literary journal. Use this form only for your de-identified long-form and anthology pitches. 

Items marked with an asterisk are mandatory. All other fields are optional.

*Your Legal Name:

Your Author Name/Pseudonym:

*Your Email:

Your Phone:

Your Website:

*Are you authorized to work in the United States?

*Has this work, in whole or in part, been previously published? If yes, explain in the Comments section. We will verify before contracting. Previously published material, including works shared on a blog or through the self-publishing market, are not eligible for publication through Caffeinated Press.

*What's your tie to the West Michigan market? We will verify before contracting. Priority consideration is granted to writers who are part of our target market.

No West Michigan connectionCurrent resident of the regionFormer resident (including as a student)Frequent visitor (explain in the Comments box)

*Author Bio:

*Submission Reason:

Comments about your submission:

*What's the working title of your project?

*Your Pitch:

Long-form independent project (novel, textbook)Submission to Brewed Awakenings anthology

*Your Genre:

*Organization Type:

*Estimated Project Word Count:

Micro Story/Individual Poem(s) (less than 2,000 words)Short Story/Poetry Chapbook (2,000 to 7,500 words)Novelette/Poetry Book (7,500 to 15,000 words)Novella (15,000 to 30,000 words)Short Novel (30,000 to 50,000 words)Standard Novel (50,000 to 90,000 words)Long Novel (90,000 to 150,000 words)Epic Novel (more than 150,000 words)Photo/Art Submission

*Actual Word Count (round to nearest 100 words):

*Elevator Pitch:

Please use the following two boxes to submit your synopsis and sample. Readability is key; if we can't read the content because everything's mashed together and formatting is stripped, we reserve the right to decline to evaluate your submission. In particular, you must ensure that paragraphs are separated by blank lines. We appreciate (but don't require) that you convert your sample and synopsis into Markdown using the Word-to-Markdown Converter or the MarkItDown converter. Regardless, YOUR PARAGRAPHS MUST BE SEPARATED BY BLANK LINES OR WE WILL REFUSE TO READ THE SUBMISSION.



Files (all files combined must not exceed 10 MB in total size):

Cover letter (PDF only; required for all submissions):

Book proposal (non-fiction only; PDF, TXT, MD or MMD only):

Image files (ZIP only; optional):

By submitting this form, you stipulate that you've read these editorial guidelines. We will not evaluate submissions with material non-conformance with our requirements.

Having trouble submitting?

When your submission has been transmitted, a “success” message will briefly flash. If the twisting arrow icons next to the “send” button appear to be spinning for several minutes without resolution, try these steps:

  1. Verify that you’ve addressed every mandatory field. Mandatory fields are marked by an asterisk. Some Web browsers, when a form error occurs, will not alert you to the error but rather simply sit and spin.
  2. Be patient. If you’ve uploaded a large file (e.g., a large cover-letter PDF) your browser may take some time to transmit the file. Please make sure that the total size of your submission does not exceed 10 MB.
  3. Try using a different browser. Older browsers, or modern browsers with certain privacy or anti-scripting plug-ins, interfere with our submission form.

You are welcome to use the Contact Us form to verify whether we’ve received your submission if you’re in doubt. Please do not make repeated attempts to submit; most times, we receive your package just fine even if the spinning arrows continue to spin.