City Lights Publishers Manuscript Guidelines

City Lights Books is an independent publisher of fiction, essays, memoirs, translations, poetry, and books on social and political issues. We do not publish New Age, self-help, children’s literature, how-to guides, or genre works such as romance, westerns, or science fiction.

City Lights does not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

We do consider book proposals. Before you send one, you should keep in mind that we publish only a dozen books a year and have a long line of books already scheduled for publication. Your proposal should include the following:

  • A one to two-page letter that describes your book and includes your resumé, with a list of any prior publications and information about your relevant writing and professional experience.

  • A sample (10–20 pages maximum) of your work.

  • An additional outline and table of contents for a nonfiction work.
To receive a response, you must enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE). You will receive a reply from our staff within six months, letting you know if we want to see a complete manuscript. Telephoning or e-mailing will not speed up the review process.

City Lights takes no responsibility for the loss or damage of submitted materials. Please do not submit irreplaceable materials.

We do not accept proposals by e-mail or at the front desk at City Lights Bookstore.

Please mail proposals to:

Editorial Department
City Lights Publishers
261 Columbus Avenue
San Francisco CA 94133