Narrative welcomes submissions of previously unpublished, completed, book-length works of literary fiction and nonfiction to be considered for serialization. Categories of books we're seeking include but are not limited to the following:
Adult, mainstream novels and novellas
Short story collections
Collections of essays
Travel writing and adventure
Social or intellectual history/commentary, with a literary bent
Psychology with a literary bent
Nature writing and environmentalism
Books on writing or the writing life
Books submitted for serialization by new or emerging writers are eligible for the annual $4,000 Narrative Prize.
We are committed to paying our writers and to presenting writers’ works in an elegant, accessible medium to a dedicated, knowledgeable, and extensive readership. Narrative's audience is worldwide and larger than that of all but a few of the largest literary periodicals. A book serialized in Narrative will reach more readers than do most literary books published by major publishing houses. Also, at a time when there are fewer and fewer publications willing to publish long works, serializations have practically ceased to exist. As part of our commitment to encouraging narrative forms, we like the idea of a continued story that readers can follow across several issues, and then later return to from beginning to end after the serialization is completed. Each novel that we serialize will remain available to readers, in its entirety, in our Archive. (Currently in our Archive you will find the serialization of Rick Bass's The Diezmo, which was later published by Houghton Mifflin, and Tom Grimes's novel Redemption Song.)
When we choose a book for serialization, we provide any and all editorial support and encouragement to bring the book from manuscript to final published form. We serve the writer's vision and authority and give great attention and detail to ensure that the book's substance and style are excellent. An author whose book is accepted can expect a thorough, rigorous editorial reading and sustained input across whatever revisions are required to make the book its best version of itself. And, in today's publishing world, where many writers find that the traditional relationship between writer and editor has become primarily a business relationship rather than one dedicated first of all to art, Narrative is entirely committed to the belief that editing is a mediumistic occupation in service to writers.
Once the primary editorial process is complete and we begin production of the book for publication, the manuscript will be copyedited and proofread numerous times. Then, the book will be put into galleys in PDF and HTML (digital formats for online publication), and these galleys will be carefully copyedited and proofread. At each step, we consult with the author about any changes or corrections, and no alterations are made without an author's approval.
When a book is ready to publish, we offer it in several installments, one after the other, across successive issues of the magazine until all the installments have appeared, first to last. The number of installments depends on the length of the book and on natural or logical points in the book to end one section and begin another. A short book or a novella might appear complete in one issue. An average length book would typically appear in three or four installments. And a longer book would appear in as many installments as are necessary and sensible to create an effective pacing and rhythm in the progress of issues. Each book is unique, and our program of serialization will present each new work on its own terms.
As with the shorter works published in Narrative, serialized books will be announced on publication in each issue. We send an email notice out to all our readers to alert them to the new work available in the magazine, and in addition your book will be discussed in the Editors' Note that appears with each issue. And, since the installments of serializations appear across several issues, your book will be announced numerous times.
We will also use our best efforts to bring attention to your work, as we are able, via Narrative announcements that appear online and in print media in connection with Narrative events in cities around the country and via other projects, publicity, and advertising related to the magazine. Our efforts include word of mouth — we are in fairly constant conversation with an extended and active circle of influential readers, writers, agents, editors, publishers, and booksellers — as well as with contests, anthologies, awards, and granting institutions who contact us for recommendations of books and authors.
Each year, the Narrative web site receives many millions of hits and is heavily trafficked not only by readers but by the search engines and spiders that index material on the Internet, and Narrative is designed in such a way that without making its content available to anyone who is not a registered subscriber with a password, the authors and works in the magazine are listed in search engines, and a great deal of the success and popularity of the magazine has been by Internet buzz. We are widely linked and noted in literary blogs across the Internet, and today this sort of attention is more and more the means by which writers are finding readers and publishers.
Our first, and primary, goal is to present quality literary work to as large and welcoming an audience as possible. You might think of Narrative as an Internet-based version of public broadcasting dedicated solely to good writing. If you send us your book (or other work) for consideration, we will approach it with optimism and desire, and if we accept your work, we will fully support it within the means of our publishing program.