Guidelines for Assure Press Manuscripts and Iris Literary Journal

Assure Press connects authors and artists with the world through inspirational and enlightening poetry, non-fiction, motivational, and educational literature that is mostly, but not only, in the English language.

Book and Chapbook Manuscript Submissions are accepted year-round. We seek original ideas We publish books of the following genres:

  • Poetry 

We consider Full Length and/or Chapbook as well as music and lyrics.

  • Fiction 

Subgenres include Science fiction, Western, Romance, Thriller, Mystery, Detective, Dystopia, Young adult fiction, gothic, horror, etc.

  • Nonfiction (and/or Creative Nonfiction)

Subgenres include Fantasy, Memoir, Biography, Satire, Educational (i.e.Textbook, wellness, faith, self-help, etc.)

  • Drama

We use the traditional model of publishing; however, we authors may submit manuscripts and proposals directly to us/without an agent. Writers Digest provides some good information for clarification here: https://writersdigestshop.com/pages/how-to-publish-a-book-an-overview-of-traditional-self-publishing

The work does not have to be entirely in English

Assure Press does not accept manuscripts that have been previously published, in print or online (we do NOT consider self-published books, self-publishing to blogs, message boards, or social media as a publication—with respect to this rule—we may accept those). Additionally, manuscripts may contain previously published work inside of them, and if we accept the manuscript, proper acknowledgment of the original publisher will appear in the work.

Simultaneous submissions are encouraged. If the work is accepted elsewhere, just add a note through Submittable. Please withdraw your work if it is accepted elsewhere. In the case of poetry, if part of your submission has been accepted by another publication, please notify us at ahobson@assurepress.org.

We do charge a $10 reading fee per general submission (fee waived for subscribers of Iris Literary Journal).

Detailed guidelines for each genre are available at the submit button, below.

Guidelines for Iris Literary Journal

Iris Literary Journal is published quarterly in print and ebook.

Each journal includes poetry, short fiction, creative nonfiction, drama, and visual art--which includes photography. Some of the work may not be entirely in English.

Issue themes:

  • Summer is White: For this issue, we seek work that creatively addresses purity: innocence, idealism, fidelity, goodness, honesty, incorruptibility, integrity, virtuousness. morality, virtue.  (Open Jan 23 - Apr 22)
  • Fall is Blue: For this issue, we seek work that creatively addresses hope: faith, confidence, trust, credence, belief, credit, assurance, acceptance, expectation, hope, dependence, conviction, sureness, fidelity, loyalty, troth, certainty, surety, allegiance, assent, credulity, certitude, reliance. (Open Apr 24 - Jul 23.)
  • The Poetry Issue! For national poetry month, we encourage poets to write and send us work that moves, enlightens, or inspires us--in both free verse and traditional forms. (Open Dec 17 - Feb 15.)
  • Winter is purple: For this issue, we seek work that creatively addresses wisdom: wit, prudence, astuteness, sense, reason, clear thinking, brains, good judgment, sagacity, understanding, sanity, shrewdness, experience, practical knowledge, carefulness, vigilance, tact, balance, poise, stability, caution, solidity, hardheadedness, savoir-faire. (Open Jul 24 - Oct 22.)
  • Spring is yellow: For this issue, we seek work that creatively addresses passion: appetite, fancy, favor, like, liking, partiality, preference, relish, taste. craving, crush, desire, infatuation, longing, lust, yearning. ardor, eagerness, enthusiasm, fervor, zeal. (Open Oct 23 - Jan 21.)

Note: Submission windows are subject to early closure if submissions exceed the maximum number we can consider per issue.

Accepted and Published Contributors to Iris Literary Journal

  • Receive two copies of the issue in which their work appears, and a one (1) year subscription to Iris literary journal (up to five issues valued up to $100). There is an author discount for purchasing extra copies.
  • Iris acquires first-time North American rights, and the right to reprint in anthologies. After publication, all other rights revert to the author and the work may be reprinted as long as an appropriate acknowledgment to Iris is made.
  • We do charge a $3 reading fee per general submission (fee waived for subscribers). Please know that the submission fee helps us produce the journal.

Manuscript guidelines for poetry submissions--including chapbooks

  • Use a separate cover sheet for your name, mailing address, telephone number, and email address. 
  • Center your book title and byline about halfway down the page. 
  • Include your last name and page number in the top right margin (header) of the first and each subsequent manuscript page.
  • Include a table of contents. 
  • Begin each poem on a new page, single-spaced with double spacing between stanzas.
  • Leave at least a 1-inch margin on all sides of the page.

Note: We consider chapbooks to be at least 15 pages (of text) and at most 40 pages long. Longer works we consider to be full-length book manuscripts. 

If the manuscript is accepted, authors will receive a standard publishing contract, with royalties, and a number of author copies (no charge).

Fiction Book Proposal Guidelines

(Adapted from "How to Write a Fiction Book Proposal." Editor Says. May 15, 2019. https://editorsays.com/2016/10/25/how-to-write-a-fiction-book-proposal/.)

  • Hook and pitch. Much like a query letter, it’s helpful to include the elevator pitch of your book in a proposal. This is the down-and-dirty, grab-your-attention info that leaves a reader wanting more.
  • Author info. 
    • Previously published books
    • Social media stats
    • Website or blog link
    • Connections with other authors or important literary figures
  • Target audience. This might be a general category, like “young adult readers” or “readers interested in WWII fiction.” But it’s important to recognize who your audience is, especially as you start thinking about the next two bullets…
  • Competitive titles. Comp titles are wonderful to include in a book proposal. These are books that are similar to but different than yours and act as great reference points for both the editor and the sales or marketing team. *Hint: It’s great to use bestselling books as your comps, but make sure the connection between your book and the bestseller is honest and accurate. Also, avoid comparing yourself to someone hugely famous, like Lee Child or J.K. Rowling, as that can sound like a stretch.
  • Marketing and PR opportunities. It’s hugely helpful to know if an author has connections within a group of librarians or booksellers, if they can get a spot on a radio program, or if they have a newsletter with a nice subscriber base.
  • One-page synopsis. They’re a pain to write and full of spoilers, but synopses are so, so helpful. They help editors see the arc of your manuscript and get an immediate sense of the story before diving into the text. They also help authors practice being concise and plot-oriented when summing up a novel.
  • Sample chapters. A proposal generally includes one to three sample chapters from your novel. This gives authors a chance to polish those chapters into their best possible shape and to make sure the early pages draw the reader in.

Want to know more about creating a fiction book proposal? Check out the links below:

http://literary-agents.com/get-a-literary-agent/fiction-book-proposal/

http://www.rachellegardner.com/how-to-write-a-book-proposal/ 

https://janefriedman.com/start-here-how-to-write-a-book-proposal/

If the proposal is accepted, authors will receive a standard publishing contract, with royalties, and a number of author copies (no charge).

Non-Fiction Book Proposal Guidelines

(Adapted from "Nonfiction Book Proposal Outline." Ted Weinstein Literary Management. https://www.twliterary.com/bookproposal/.)

I. Overview

Describe your book in two or three paragraphs (500 words or less). What is the title and subtitle? Who is the target audience and what makes your book unique and worthwhile for them? Think of this as the copy that would go on the back cover of your book or in the publisher’s catalog, or as the brief review that you hope to see in Publishers Weekly or the NY Times Book Review.

II. Target Audiences

Who is your core audience, the most likely purchasers of this book? How big is that market, and how can they best be reached? What other groups and types of readers will also be interested?

III. About the Author

Your credentials and experience. What makes you uniquely qualified to write and promote this book? What other media outlets do you regularly appear in?

IV. Comparable Titles

List and summarize the major comparable titles and explain why yours is different from each. You are trying to accomplish two things with this section: prove there is an audience who would find your book interesting, as demonstrated by earlier, successful books while making clear how yours is different enough to compel those readers – and others – to buy it.

V. Marketing and Promotion

What is your comprehensive plan to actively promote the book? Where should publicity be focused? What are the magazines and other media outlets that your target audience pays attention to? Where should you and your publisher work especially hard to get the book reviewed?

Blurbs: What “name” people would be willing to contribute a blurb? Can you get their commitment before the manuscript is completed?

Media and Speaking Appearances: Does this book or your prior experience give you credentials to speak on any current topics in the media? What are the topics and target outlets? Beyond book stores, what other types of groups and organizations would be interested in having you speak to them?

Serialization: What parts of your book lend themselves to excerpting in magazines and journals? List the appropriate excerpts and the 5 or 10 most important publications in which they could appear?

Describe additional promotional opportunities you will pursue: Retaining a speakers bureau to book speaking opportunities. Retaining an independent publicist. Organizational connections? Mailing lists? Workshops? Tours? Does the book have series potential? Opportunities for regular updating? Other “legs”? Think creatively, think big.

VI. Detailed Table of Contents

Include the full Table of Contents, with detailed summaries of each chapter. This section could be anywhere from three to 20 pages – it needs to give a comprehensive, detailed map of what the book will contain.

VII. Sample Chapters

Include the first one or two chapters – not the introduction, but sample chapters that offer an accurate sense of the style, substance, and structure of the book.

If the proposal is accepted, authors will receive a standard publishing contract, with royalties, and a number of author copies (no charge).

Assure Press