City Lights Publishers Submission Guidelines

City Lights Books is an independent press that publishes twelve to sixteen titles annually in these categories: literary fiction; social, political, and cultural studies; poetry; and literature in translation.

If you believe your writing would complement the publishing program at City Lights, we welcome unsolicited submissions solely in the form of book proposals.

A proposal should include the following:

  • A one- to two-page cover letter that describes your book, and provides relevant personal and professional information
  • A resume, including a list of prior publications, residencies, awards, etc.
  • A sample (20 pages maximum) of your work
  • With submissions of nonfiction, an outline and table of contents
  • A self-addressed stamped envelope, if you wish to receive a mailed response. PLEASE NOTE: Proposal materials will NOT be returned. Please do not send irreplaceable materials of any kind.
  • If submitting internationally, please include an international reply coupon

PLEASE NOTE: the limited size of our list prohibits our ability to publish the vast majority of the work we receive. Due to the large volume of submissions, our small staff is unable to provide feedback on rejected proposals. Our bookstore staff is unable to accept materials hand delivered to our store. We accept proposals exclusively by mail, with exceptions only for those without access to the U.S. Mail.

Submissions should be addressed to:

Editorial Department

City Lights Publishers

261 Columbus Avenue

San Francisco, CA 94133

Please allow up to seven months when awaiting response.