How to Submit Your Manuscript to NRP and Tips for Being Chosen

April 1st marked the opening of New Rivers Press’ General Submissions period. This means that New Rivers Press is now accepting manuscripts for general publication, as well as in several other categories. We want to publish your work, so here is a comprehensive list of everything you need to know to submit your manuscript to each of our submission categories.

New Rivers Press (as well as every other press) receives a lot of manuscripts each season. In order to give you the best chances of being chosen, we have also included some general tips for presenting the best manuscript possible. These tips are applicable for submitting to any publisher. They are found near the end of this blogpost.


 First things first:

You do not need to be a US citizen to submit manuscripts to New Rivers Press.

Only manuscripts written in the English language will be considered for publication.

Electronic submission is strongly urged but electronic submissions will not be shown any greater preference for publication than mail-in submissions.

In an effort to be more green, New Rivers Press will phasing out its acceptance of paper submissions. Paper submissions for this submission period will be honored but NRP will not be accepting paper submissions at all as soon as next year.


The Categories for Submission:

General Submissions:

NOW OPEN through May 2016 (April + May, yearly)

New Rivers Press publishes several books each year via general submissions.

Accepting Literary Fiction, Literary Nonfiction (typically memoirs,) Full-length books of Poetry (single author) or a hybrid of any of these.

We will consider work of any character.

The is no length limitation.

You may submit more than one manuscript, but only if there is no overlap in content.

There is no entry fee.


The American Fiction Prize:

NOW OPEN through June 15, 2016 (February 1 – June 15 Yearly)

New Rivers Press publishes approximately twenty short stories in its yearly volume of American Fiction: The Best Unpublished Stories by Emerging Writers.

We seek well-crafted, character-driven short stories of any genre.

Each shorty story may be up to 10,000 words in length.

You may submit more than one short story, but only if there is no overlap in content.

$16 USD reading fee for each entry.

$1,750 in prizes ($1000 1st Place, $500 2nd, $250 3rd;)

Additionally, each of the selected story authors will receive national publication and distribution, author discount, and two complimentary copies.)

Finalist judge for 2016 to be announced.

Publication date for 2016 contest set at October 2017



Visiting Bob: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Bob Dylan:

NOW OPEN through September 15, 2016

We are looking for poems, either published or previously unpublished, that are inspired by the life and work of Bob Dylan.

We’re interested in work of every character. Send us your best, polished work.

We plan to gather together 100 poems by 100 poets that bear witness to Dylan’s enormous influence on American and global literature.

There is no limit to the number of lines per poem.

Please keep to five submissions per poet.

There is no entry fee.


Many Voices Project: 

Sept. 15 – Nov. 15 (Yearly)

Each year, one book of poetry and one book of prose are published as a part of the Many Voices Project.

To enter, you must qualify as a new or emerging author: you have not published more than two books of creative writing with a commercial, university, or nationally distributed small press.

A writer who has won the MVP competition once is eligible again three years after the year in which the winning manuscript was submitted; a writer who has won the competition twice cannot enter again.

You may submit more than one manuscript, but only if there is no overlap in content.

$25 USD reading fee for each entry.

General guidelines:

Novels and Memoirs: up to 400 pages

Short Stories, Novellas or personal essays, 100-200 pages

Poetry Collections: 50-90 pages


Electronic Book Series: 

July 1 – Oct. 1 (Yearly)

New Rivers Press is accepting full length manuscripts of any genre (including speculative genres such as mystery, fantasy, science fiction, horror, inspirational and all others) for publication in the Electronic Book Series

To enter, you must qualify as a new or emerging author: you have not published more than two books of creative writing with a commercial, university, or nationally distributed small press.

You may submit more than one manuscript, but only if there is no overlap in content.

$20 USD reading fee for each entry.

Winners will receive ebook publication, a standard ebook contract and a $250 honorarium.

All winners will be distributed internationally in ebook format (no physical copies of the books will be produced.)



How to Submit Your Manuscript

Please do not submit a manuscript outside of the submission period of the category you wish to enter. Your manuscript will not be considered if it is submitted at the wrong time.

To submit electronically, follow this link to New Rivers Press’ page.

Make an account and submit your manuscript to the appropriate category.

Only active categories will be displayed on Submittable.

Again, in an effort to be more green, New Rivers Press will no longer be accepting paper submissions after this year. Electronic submission is highly preferred but mail-in submissions for The Many Voices Project and General Submissions only will be honored for this submission period.

To submit via the mail, please send your manuscript in a plain manilla folder addressed to:

New Rivers Press

[Name of category you are entering ex: MVP Competition/General Submissions]

1104 7th Avenue South

Moorhead, MN 56563

Printed submission manuscripts must be word processed on 8.5″ x 11″ paper, one-sided, and include a cover sheet with name, address, and manuscript title

DO NOT include your name, address, or acknowledgments in the manuscript itself; the judging is blind.

Manuscript pages must be numbered.

Manuscripts will not be returned and will be recycled after use.

In the case of the Many Voices Project:

please include the $25 entry fee, made out to New Rivers Press

please print and complete this form and include it with your manuscript.

We are NOT accepting mail-in submissions for:

The American Fiction Prize,

The Electronic Book Series,

or Visiting Bob.

If you wish to submit to those categories, please do so at Mail-in submissions to these categories will not be considered.


Again, electronic submission is strongly urged for all categories but will not affect the judging process.



Tips for Getting Your Manuscript Chosen:

Avoid looking like you’re “trying to hard” to have your manuscript stand out visually–that’s not something you need to worry about at this stage. Some writers try to set their manuscripts apart by using outlandish fonts or including picture or–most egregiously–an amateur cover they made themselves. All these things usually backfire miserably. Ideally, your manuscript will be:

Presented in a simple, no-nonsense font. Times New Roman or Arial are the safest and most acceptable.

Preferably double-spaced. This way, it is easy on the eyes.

As free from errors as possible. Your manuscript should be decently polished by the time you submit it. This means the content should be solid and complete and that you should strive to eliminate as many spelling, grammar, and continuity errors as you can before you submit. We do not expect perfection, but we do expect to you make an effort.

Include a simple and honest cover letter. You are not “hawking your wares” to us. We appreciate a simple, truthful summary of the plot, free from spin. Let the work speak for itself. In a similar vein…

Do not include your own blurbs/testimonials. We don’t need to know what anyone else thinks of your work at this point, we just want to know what it’s about.

Do not liken yourself or your work to another author/author’s work as a method of self-praise. This is similar to the blurbs. You telling us that your knack for capturing the quirky everyday life of American youth is going to endow you with the success and popularity of John Green, or that your penchant for elegant yet clever prosaic wit puts you in the same boat as F. Scott Fitzgerald will hardly cause us to bat an eyelash. The work will speak for itself, regardless of the trimmings and trappings you put over it.

Do not include “sample covers” or “inspiration pictures.” Second verse, same as the first; all that matters at this point is the work. Should your work be chosen, we can discuss any illustrations or photographs you would like included in your work. At New Rivers Press, our authors enjoy more involvement in the development of book covers than they would at other presses, but it is the press’ responsibility to create and develop these covers and the press has final say in the matter.



If you have any questions about NRP’s submission guidelines, you may send them to us via our website’s “Contact Us” form located under the “Contact” tab. This form is linked directly to managing editor Nayt Rundquist, who will answer any questions as quickly as he is able.


Good luck to all the writers out there seeking to be published, either with New Rivers Press or other publishers. Perseverance is key. We look forward to seeing your manuscript submissions and wish you good fortune in all your writing endeavors.


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