Free Expression for Free: On (not) charging reading fees for submissions

On April 1st, the New Rivers Press General Submissions window opened on our website and Submittable pages. This submission period is open to all writers, from creative nonfiction to short story to poetry. For the full list of accepted pieces, visit our General Submissions about page on our website. Best of all, submissions of any kind during this period are free. Why? Because we believe in opening opportunities for all writers.

This has been a continuing struggle for many independent presses in the United States. How does a nonprofit independent press balance the steep costs of printing with the needs of our authors and readers? Many presses have been forced to charge reading fees in recent years as revenues steadily decline and readership drops.

However, charging reading fees means writers at the greatest disadvantage, such as those who are in lower socioeconomic classes, would be unable to submit to more than a few contests, denting their chances of getting published. That is why this topic has become such a dilemma–presses must choose whether to charge reading fees or to take a loss on a book/not pay an author any honorariums or advances.

New Rivers Press is committed to publishing new and emerging writers of all classes and backgrounds, so we offer our general submission period with free submissions every summer. We do charge entry fees for our annual contests, American Fiction and the Many Voices Project, but we have to pay our finalist judges, and the winners of those contests receive monetary prizes. We are able to do this in part because of generous support from foundations and individuals like you. If you want to donate to support our mission of keeping writing open for all, just click the link under the Donate tab on the right side or visit the MSUM Alumni Foundation page. And writers, please take advantage of this free opportunity to submit to New Rivers Press today.