The Normal School Nonfiction Series from Outpost19

Steven Church, Series Editor

The Normal School Nonfiction Series from Outpost19 will publish compelling and thought-provoking books of creative nonfiction, essay, and literary journalism. We are particularly interested in immersive and reportage based writing, socio-cultural and political criticism, pop culture analysis, and essayistic prose that artfully blends the personal and public. We are also interested in lyric essays, hybrid nonfiction, research-driven memoir, and the sort of engaging and eclectic nonfiction writing we regularly publish in our literary magazine partner, The Normal School. We also hope to publish books by diverse, historically under-represented, and/or marginalized voices.

For now, our goal is to publish one book a year and give it sustained marketing and PR attention combined with author promotion through The Normal School’s online and print platforms. This may involve interviews, excerpts, and “reader’s guides,” integrated with AWP exposure. Outpost19 will publish the selected title each year as part of its seasonal list, offering standard royalties, author book tour support, ARC mailings to reviewers, trade show exposure, advertising to the book trade, and social media outreach. 

Book Proposal Submission Guidelines:

General: We're looking for previously unpublished single-author nonfiction book manuscripts in that range from 40,000 to 100,000 words. We are interested primarily in creative nonfiction books that are already completed and not in draft form. If you have a question as to the kind of work we like, we encourage you to check out back issues of The Normal School

Reading Period: Dec. 1, 2017 - May 1, 2018

Approximate Publication Date: Spring 2019

Please also include in your proposal as much of the following information as you can:

  1. Title
  2. At least two sample chapters, around 50 pages total (double spaced, 12 pt. font); though complete manuscripts are preferred.
  3. Project Overview (1–2 pages) which includes the following:
    1. Brief (1 paragraph) “elevator pitch” for your book. How would you answer the question, “What is your book about?” if you only have a sentence or two to explain.
    2. Longer (2-3 paragraph) “bar/coffeeshop pitch” or summary of the book, similar to the copy you’d find on the back of a book that you pick up in a bookstore. How would describe your book if you had longer to talk about it?
    3. An answer to the question, “Why Outpost19 for this project?”
  4. An “outline” of each chapter/essay in the book, which should be an approx. 1 paragraph description for each that pays attention to how the chapters/essays connect to one another and to the whole shape of the book. This should NOT be a "Harvard outline" of the book.  
  5. Notes on significant or unique features (e.g., new subject area, unique form, page treatments, photographs, hybrid text, etc.).
  6. A brief consideration of “comp” titles: Please tell us what other books or resources are available on your topic, or on closely related topics, and how your book differs from or compliments these other titles. Another way to think of this is, if your book was shelved according to subject in a bookstore, what other authors would be on that same shelf? How is your book unique?
  7. A related but brief analysis of the “market” for your book: The book’s target audience and relevant demographics. Who needs this book? Readers interested in a topic? A certain sub-genre of nonfiction? Other writers? Students? If students, in which kinds of classes, at what level? What are the book’s selling points: What might motivate someone to purchase the book? What will readers gain, so to speak?
  8. A brief Author Bio is helpful; but more important would be a short description of your platform as a writer that might address your national presence in publishing and presenting at conferences or as a visiting writer, your promise as an emerging writer with publications, your online and social media presence, or other factors that can help us market both you and the book.

We make every effort to respond as quickly and humanely as possible. Thank you for your interest and patience.

More information on Series Editor, The Normal School, and our Advisory Board Below: 

Series Editor, Steven Church, is the author of six books of nonfiction, most recently the collection, Ultrasonic: Essays, the book-length essay, One with the Tiger: Sublime and Violent Encounters Between Humans and Animals and the Outpost19 collection, I’m Just Getting to the Disturbing Part: On Work, Fear, and Fatherhood. He also edited the forthcoming nonfiction anthology, The Spirit of Disruption: Selections from The Normal School, also from Outpost19, and he is a founding editor and nonfiction editor for The Normal School. He coordinates the MFA Program at Fresno State and teaches for the Low-Res MFA at Sierra Nevada College.  

The Normal School: a Literary Magazine celebrates its 10th year of publishing in 2017-18 and in just a decade, it has become one of the top journals in the field of creative nonfiction, garnering 30 “Notable” inclusions in the Best American Essays since 2010 alone. BAE series editor, Robert Atwan has called the magazine “indispensable for anyone interested in new directions in the contemporary essay.” TNS was also named one of the top 10 markets for nonfiction in the entire country and featured in a Buzzfeed article titled “29 Amazing Literary Magazines You Should Be Reading Now.” Known for our cutting edge nonfiction and striking visual design, The Normal School will serve as a primary partner for the series, providing a resource not only of potential contributors but also support staff for production, marketing, and promotions.

The Normal School Nonfiction Series Advisory Board:

Robert Atwan, Sophie Beck, Hattie Fletcher, Jeffery Gleaves, Kerry Howley, Ander Monson, Dinty W. Moore, Kristen Radtke, Matt Roberts, Jon Roemer, Emily Smith, Jerald Walker, and Steve Woodward

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