Pier Press, LLC: Manuscript Submission Guidelines

If you're an author with a manuscript that would benefit our readers, we're interested in hearing from you. This document outlines the process to follow if you'd like to have us consider publishing your work.

Please understand that if we enter into a publishing contract with you, that contract will specify the details of our agreement. This document provides only a general, generic overview of some of the issues so that you can decide whether or not you want to submit your manuscript to us. This document is not a contract. It is not part of a contract. It contains no promises. It merely introduces you to some of the topics related to our business model.

Step 1: Understand Our Niche

Read our Mission Statement. Take a look at the products in our bookstore. Our bookstore includes Pier Press® publications as well as other resources we recommend. Consider how these publications fit into our mission, and think about whether your project is also a good fit. If it is, proceed to Step 2.

Please note that Pier Press does not publish fiction or poetry.

Step 2: Understand the Publishing Environment

Pier Press operates under a hybrid, partnership model. Authors are responsible for costs associated with creating a publishable manuscript. The publisher (that's us) is responsible for costs associated with creating a saleable product. Marketing is an enormous, collaborative task that will require working together.

Before deciding to proceed to the next step, please give careful consideration to the realities of working with a small, independent publisher. There are benefits: You'll get personal attention. And, if we decide to work together, your project will be important to us. On the other hand, there are other practical facts to consider: There will be no advance and no publisher-funded book tour. You'll be expected to be a full partner in making your manuscript publishable and in marketing it. If you're still interested, proceed to Step 3.

Step 3: Submit a SHORT Query

Submit a short query by e-mail or via the postal service. E-mail is preferred. If you have to use regular mail, enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a reply.

"Short" means no more than what would fit on a single, typewritten page and without attachments or enclosures. In your query, tell us about your project (the brief "elevator pitch" version) and why you think Pier Press might be interested. Also, please be sure to provide information about yourself (including how we can contact you). At this stage, we're mostly interested in getting to know who you are and why your book is important to you.

Queries should be marked for the attention of our Editorial Director, Karen Bellenir. You can reach her through the form on our Contact page.

We'll get in touch with you after we evaluate your query. We will do our best to reply promptly, but please don't get impatient. If you haven't heard from us within a month, check your "promotions" or "spam" folders to make sure your e-mail service provider didn't route our reply to one of those locations. If it looks like we just haven't replied, please send us a follow-up note. Maybe something simply got lost.

If we would like to see more detailed information about your project, we will invite you to proceed to Step 4 and submit a proposal. An invitation to submit a proposal is an indication of our potential interest. It is not a promise; it is not a guarantee; it is not a contract. It just means you have piqued our curiosity, and we're interested in hearing more.

Step 4: Submit a Proposal

Please do not undertake the work involved in this step unless we have asked you to submit a proposal. A proposal will give us an opportunity to review plans for your book in an in-depth manner so that we can decide whether working together will be mutually beneficial.

In a book proposal, we'd like to see the following components:

Cover page: Include the book’s title, subtitle, and author’s name. If there is no subtitle, explain the basic idea of the book in one sentence. List the components of the proposal and provide appropriate page numbers so the individual pieces can be located easily.

Overview (Synopsis): Introduce the book. Explain the subject. The text should read like promotional copy (for example, back cover copy) or a book review. Discuss the timeliness and importance of the topic. Highlight something that makes your book unique. Describe special features. Finally, discuss facts about the manuscript (how long it is, whether or not it is finished, and if it is not finished, how long it will take to finish it).

Market: Describe who will buy the book, where, and why. Specifically list the benefits the reader will get from reading the book. Include statistics on the potential market size and demographic information about potential buyers. Mention magazines, websites, organizations, conferences, etc. related to the book’s topic. Discuss the primary market, but also talk about secondary markets.

Promotion: Explain what you can do to help promote the book. Relate this to projects you have already done or are currently doing successfully.

Competition: Provide a comparative analysis of other books that have recently been published on the same or similar topics (include publisher and date of publication). Explain how your book is distinctive. Discuss what is new or different about your book.

About the Author: This should include your biographical information and facts that would appear in a resume or curriculum vitae (CV), but in narrative form. This section explains why you are qualified to write the book. Be sure to include facts about previous publications, reviews, and awards. Mention things like giving workshops, teaching, and media appearances.

List of Chapters: This provides a quick look at the book’s table of contents and general organization.

Chapter Summaries: These short summaries should demonstrate your approach to your book’s topics. Be sure to mention the intriguing points of each chapter and any supplemental material, such as tables or figures.

Two Sample Chapters: These samples should showcase your writing ability. One potential sample to include is the first chapter or introduction. This helps provide the groundwork for understanding the entire book. A second sample should show a different aspect or subtopic of the book. If your chapters are excessively long, consider sending excerpts. If your chapters are very short, consider sending more than two. In general, we'd like to see samples that represent approximately ten percent of the text.

After we've had a chance to evaluate your proposal, there are several types of replies we might make. Here are some commonly anticipated responses:

  • A close examination of the project's details might reveal that it isn't right for us after all. You'll receive our best wishes for your success with another publisher.
  • We might feel there are developmental issues that need to be addressed before moving forward. You'll receive our feedback, and you can decide how to respond.
  • Questions about details might arise. We'll ask for clarification.
  • We might invite you to proceed to Step 5, submitting a complete manuscript. An invitation to submit a manuscript is an indication that we're seriously interested and that we're willing to invest the time required to read and evaluate your work. It is not a promise that we'll publish it.

Step 5: Submit a Manuscript

Please do not send us a complete manuscript unless we have requested it. If you send us an unrequested manuscript, we will immediately know that the procedural framework that works for us doesn't work for you. That bodes poorly for a successful partnership.

When you submit a manuscript, we will read it carefully and evaluate its suitability for our publishing program. There are a range of potential outcomes from this process. Here are just a few:

We could decide that the manuscript doesn't fit our current needs. This decision isn't a judgement of you or your work, it is merely a conclusion that the manuscript doesn't match what we're looking for at the present time.

Our assessment could indicate that the manuscript requires further editorial work. Depending on the nature of what is required, it is possible that we could recommend that you make adjustments or that you engage the services of an editor. Important disclosure information: Wordwright, LLC is Pier Press's parent company. Wordwright offers editorial services to authors and publishers, but Pier Press's ultimate decision regarding publishing your manuscript is not based on whether you work with Wordwright, another author services organization, or a freelance editor. In other words, working with Wordwright does not confer a benefit and working with someone else does not place your manuscript at a disadvantage. When we consider the final results of the editorial process, we'll be focusing on whether we believe we can successfully publish the resulting manuscript, not the path the manuscript took to get to this stage.

If we think the manuscript is a good fit for our publishing program, and if we believe it is editorially sound, we might invite you to proceed to Step 6 and enter into a publishing contract.

Step 6: Enter into a Publishing Contract

Because each book is unique, each contract will be unique. The information that follows is merely a generic statement regarding some of the issues a contract will address.

Pier Press follows a hybrid, partnership model for publishing. Under this model, tasks fall into three general areas. Responsibility for tasks and related costs is allocated as follows:

  • You (the author) are responsible for producing a publishable manuscript. Depending on the needs of a specific manuscript this may include additional editing, fact checking, obtaining any necessary permissions, and proofreading.
  • Pier Press (the publisher) is responsible for producing a saleable product. Specific tasks include things such as obtaining appropriate ISBNs, securing the services of other needed helpers (for example, an illustrator), cover design, interior page lay-out, typesetting, and product production (whether electronic, print, or both).
  • Working in concert as a team, we'll all be involved in promotion and marketing. Collaborative efforts and cooperative endeavors will help produce the best opportunity for success.

Profits cannot be distributed until they are earned from sales. Royalties will be paid as a percentage of the profits.


If you need additional information to help you decide whether to submit your work to us for possible publication, please contact our Editorial Director, Karen Bellenir. You can use the form available on our Contact page.