THE AUDACITY, my newsletter, features an emerging writer twice a month. I define emerging writer as someone with fewer than three article/essay/short story publications and no published books or book contracts.

Please submit your best nonfiction and nonfiction only. I am interested in literary essays and memoir. Please submit only one essay at a time. Essays should be between 1500 and 3000 words. We may take up to eight weeks to respond but we will respond to all submissions. 

All essays are paid a flat fee of $1,500.

Submissions will only be accepted at

I am interested in thoughtful essays, beautiful, intelligent writing, deep explorations, timelessness, and challenging conventional thinking without being cheap and lazy. I am interested in provocative work but we are not interested in senseless provocation. You don't have to cannibalize yourself to tell a compelling story. The essays in Unruly Bodies or that I have preciously published in The Audacity might give you a sense of what I like but I am always open to being surprised. I am not looking to publish anew what I've already published.

Again, I am only interested in nonfiction, which is to say no poetry, fiction, or anything else that is not nonfiction. I cannot stress this enough. I am only interested in nonfiction for the Emerging Writer Series. 

ROXANE GAY BOOKS ACCEPTS submissions from both agented and unagented writers. This imprint publishes three (3) books a year, so when submissions are closed to unagented writers, it is because my slate is currently full.

Please, please read these guidelines and follow them. 

I am going to publish books I love from interesting writers. That could, of course, mean anything. I am looking for beautifully written, compelling books that challenge, delight, and entertain readers. I love literary fiction but your story has to have an interesting plot. Things have to happen. I want books I simply cannot put down and that, when I finish, I can’t stop thinking about. I love stories about difficult women. I welcome your so-called unlikable protagonists. I enjoy dark, gritty stories but I am also open to happy, joyful but unsentimental stories that reflect faith in the overall goodness of humanity.

I will consider novels, short fiction, memoirs, essay collections, and nonfiction. Most genres are welcome but my tastes skew to not only literary fiction but contemporary romance, and science fiction and fantasy. I am always open to being surprised but I will not likely be drawn to stories about sad white people marriages or autofiction. I am not interested in police propaganda narratives. Historical fiction, Westerns and the like will be a hard sell and there are other imprints that are a better fit for those stories. I am not currently seeking YA, middle-grade, or children's books. Only non-fiction will be considered on proposal.

Poetry is a vital art form we love, but we are not considering any poetry, without exception. 

Roxane Gay Books prioritizes underrepresented writers and does so, proudly. Reparations, if you will.

I hope to develop deep relationships with writers and help them navigate the process of bringing a book into the world from manuscript acceptance through and beyond publication. I am interested in working with writers who understand that publishing is a business and are willing to approach it as such. The writers who will be best suited to this imprint will want to actively promote their book and will do so without apologizing or diminishing their work as if it doesn’t matter. They will be confident in their writing or, like many of us, (ME) able to project confidence while dealing with overwhelming self-doubt.

There are no fees for submitting a manuscript. I will respond to every submission though I cannot respond to every submission personally. I will respect your work and the time you have put in to get to this point. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a large social media following or a platform. You do not need blurbs from writers for your manuscript or proposal because it is ridiculous that the market would ever expect that for an unsold project. It is an unnecessary hoop and there’s no need to jump through it for me. You don’t need to hire an editor to edit your manuscript before you submit though you do, of course, want to send your best, polished work.

All I really care about is what you put on the page.

Submissions will only be considered via Submittable. I will not consider e-mail submissions. I do not ever do business in DMs. I hope to respond within three months but may take up to six months.


There are few guidelines for the kind of essays I am looking for. i want nuanced, thoughtful work where the essayist looks both inward and outward. I am particularly interested in well-researched, voice-driven writing. Personal essays and cultural criticism are warmly welcomed.

Submissions should be between 1500 and 3000 words. Writers are paid a flat rate of 1,500. 

Submissions are only open to emerging writers. You can only have three publications or fewer and no books or book contracts.


Please submit a cover letter and full-length manuscript as a PDF.

Please submit a cover letter, and as a PDF, a 1-3 page summary of your book, and the first three (3) chapters of your manuscript. If we want to see more, we will request a full manuscript. If you’re submitting a nonfiction proposal, please send a cover letter and the proposal as PDFs.

If you’re unfamiliar with what a cover letter should say, please don’t overthink it. Open your letter with a 1-2 paragraph description of your book; think back cover copy with a bit more substance. Then, introduce yourself. Who are you? Where, if at all, have you been published? Why were you compelled to write this book? Why do you think this imprint would be a good fit for your work? And then, bring the letter to a close. Your cover letter doesn’t need to be long. You don’t need to do anything but talk about yourself and your writing. Good luck!

Nonfiction proposals should be submitted as a PDF. A non-fiction proposal should include:

· your project title

· a one-paragraph summary of your project

·  author biography and statement as to why you are best-qualified for this undertaking

· a table of contents, including a brief summary of what each chapter or section will cover, a market analysis that identifies your intended audience, comparative titles that have already been published

· one or two sample chapters so we can get a sense of your narrative voice

At the end of our June book club selection, Bite by Bite, author Aimee Nezhukumatathil offers a series of food writing prompts to spark your imagination. We would love to see what these wonderful prompts inspire so paid subscribers are invited to participate in an essay writing contest with a guest judge selecting the winner. 

The winner will receive $2,500, publication in The Audacity, and a one-hour Zoom session where I offer feedback on up to 25 pages (double-spaced) of your fiction or non-fiction prose. 

Paid subscription status will be verified for all entries! Your essays (this contest is for nonfiction only) should be between 1,000 and 2,500 words. Entries will be accepted until July 15th. Winners will be announced on September 3rd. The prompts are, merely, starting points. Where you go from there is entirely up to you. 

(And thank you to Kaitlyn Adams, our book club manager, for this wonderful idea!)

From Bite by Bite:

When food or drink is mentioned in writing, the mind races and rushes for associations and/or remembrances. Food or drink often has a subtext--a layering, or forgive me, a flavor--tinged with grief, joy, shame, desire, nostalgia. No matter your experience level, here are some writing possibilities to try:

1. What is the earliest memory you have of trying a new (to you, at the time) fruit? Describe where and when this happened and try to explain the texture and smell as precisely as possible.

2. Taste the rainbow: write a lyric essay in seven segments, with each segment of the piece representing a food and color of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.

5. Describe what your perfect last meal would be on this earth. Make it as many courses as you like, right down to beverages and dessert.

6. What food would your character serve someone they had a crush on? Someone they wanted to impress? Someone they despised who hurt their feelings? Be as precise as possible.

7. Write about your favorite guilty pleasure food.

8. Make an abecedarian essay (twenty-six sentences or paragraphs, each one starting with the letter of the alphabet) about your relationship to cooking (or takeout!).

11. What food or drink sends you immediately back to childhood, no matter where you are? Write why it captures your childhood, and see if there are any connections to see your present day. Let us smell, feel, taste, hear, and see what it is like to eat/drink this too.

12. Write about the most exquisite dessert you have ever tasted.

Roxane Gay Books & The Audacity