Frequently Asked Questions

I once lived in Washington DC, Maryland, or Virginia, can I still submit to your annual manuscript contests?

No. Our mission is to publish writers who currently reside in DC, Maryland, or Virginia. One additional note on this– keep an eye out for any news of a future anthology from WWPH. In 2021, we published This Is What America Looks Like: Poetry & Prose from DC, Maryland, and Virginia, and we opened the submissions to writers who had any connections to the DMV, and we might do this again in the near future.

I am submitting a collection of short stories or poems — should I include an acknowledgment page?

Yes. If any of your work has been published, please include an acknowledgments page–without your name on it. We do read blind, however, we have an ‘honor system’ with our judges on the acknowledgments page. Please note: that we understand and appreciate that stories or poems in collections might have been previously published in literary journals or other venues. Please look closely at our recent collections, and you will see that about 50-60% of the work in those collections has been previously published.

My novel/collection of short stories or nonfiction work is under or over the guidelines of 150-250 pages or 60,000- 70,000 words, can I still submit it to you?

We will review all manuscripts submitted to us. However, as a cooperative press, we have recently come to the realization that our strength and focus are better with manuscripts that are between 150-250 pages, or about 60,000-70,000 words. If your manuscript has a compelling voice and a compelling narrative, if it is thought-provoking, if we think it has something to add to a local and national literary conversation, we are interested in your book; however, we are also looking to publish manuscripts within this word count/page number. Read our recent award-winning fiction: Len Kruger’s Bad Questions or Suzanne Feldman’s The Witch Bottle and Other Stories, both of which are within these parameters.

My book was published outside the United States, can I still submit it to you?

No. We are only seeking previously unpublished books or collections i.e. those that were published in their entirety in any other country, or in any manner (ebooks, self-published), are not eligible.

How is publishing with WWPH different than with other presses?

First, we are all volunteers. We have all been published by the Washington Writers’ Publishing House. We are passionate about our WWPH books. However, we are not professionals, though several of us have experience editing or with marketing and public relations. We do pay for professionals to support us, notably, a manuscript typsetter; a cover designer; and for fiction and nonfiction, a proofreader. This is all a cooperative process between the press and the writer.

If selected, please note that from March until late summer is a busy time for our award-winning authors–one or two WWPH writers will work closely with the new author to make any editing suggestions, design the manuscript and the cover, and lay out a promotional plan. The writer should have the time available to focus on their book production and promotion.

In the fall to coincide with the publication of our books, we organize at least two events to support the launch of our new books. Historically. the readings are with Politics & Prose and the Writer’s Center in Bethesda. However, like most small presses (and many major presses) we rely on the author to actively promote their work. Once an author is published with us, we ask the writers to commit to two years of service to the press in any area that works for them. Many writers stay involved with WWPH for many years, and we do all we can to nurture an inclusive, supportive, creative environment. Please read our recent winners and make sure we are the right press for you–we hope you are. We look forward to reading your manuscripts!

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