Small Press, Much Love
Lakeshore Literary, Inc. supports three different book-publishing approaches, each represented by a different imprint.
The Lakeshore Literary publishing family includes:
- Lakeshore One — a traditional small-press imprint focused on literary and genre fiction as well as creative nonfiction
- Lakeshore Verse — a traditional poetry imprint that releases full collections (40 or more pages) of poems from aspiring and academic poets
- Lakeshore Technical — textbooks and other highly structured nonfiction books
Beyond these three book-focused lines of business, we also publish The Lakeshore Review, a literary journal celebrating short fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and art. The inaugural issue debuts May 2022.
From time to time, we publish a house fiction anthology, under the title Surface Reflections. The first such volume, released in late 2022, was open to invited submitters only, but future volumes will be open to the public.
Overview of Imprints
Our three book imprints serve different business needs, as follows:
|Lakeshore One||Lakeshore Verse||Lakeshore Technical|
|Publishing Modality||Softcover print and epub standard; hardcover and audio optional||Print (softcover only)||Print (hardcover or softcover)|
|Cost to Authors||$0||$0||$0|
|Royalties||25% print, 40% ebook, 10% audio (percentage of revenue less fixed costs of production/distribution), paid quarterly||$1 per book sold, paid each January and July||Negotiable rate per book sold, paid each April and October|
|Editorial Focus||Genre and contemporary fiction, and creative nonfiction||Poetry collections of 40 or more pages||Textbooks, reference books|
|Considerations||Both the book and the author must demonstrate viability through excellent storytelling, adequate author platform, and high levels of professionalism.||We typically print poetry books at a 6-by-9 format, which leaves roughly 4 horizontal inches at 11-point text for your verses.||Author must demonstrate verifiable expertise and support appropriate fact-checking; conspiracy hypotheses, ideological rants, and devotionals less likely to be contracted.|
|Query Procedure||Submit the first chapter plus a traditional synopsis of the full work.||Submit the manuscript. Include a statement indicating any particular theme for the collection.||Submit a full book proposal.|
|Acceptance Criteria||Books must demonstrate both literary quality and obtain a favorable P&L estimate. It’s therefore a tougher lift for authors who have made no effort to improve their manuscript through external editing or peer critique, or who have not established an author identity and started the hard work of building a platform.||We are less likely to accept poetry that’s consistently short, highly structured, or which relies on visual gimmicks including typography changes. We favor verse that’s thought-provoking and elegant; we avoid verse that wallows in obscure images and impenetrable syntax.||The author’s expertise and platform must be adequate to sell at least 500 copies in the first year after release.|
** In Michigan, a contract is only valid upon an offer and acceptance of value. Our advances are intended to firmly establish the validity of a contract. They are not intended to convey an expected value of a literary project.
Lakeshore Literary does not close reading windows for our book business. We do not assess reading fees, but we do offer an optional $25 service to deliver a detailed critique of your submission package. This service does not influence accept-or-reject decisions; it’s a great bolt-on for authors who feel frustrated that they lack insight into why no one will pick up their manuscript. To take advantage of this critique, purchase the product in our shopping cart. It doesn’t matter whether you submit first or purchase first; as long as you used the same email address in the shopping cart and in our query form, our system will seamlessly match the two.
Distribution. At a minimum, all our books distribute through us and through Ingram (and through Ingram, to Amazon and partnering retailers). Depending on the title and imprint, we may elect to place your book in one or more additional distributors’ catalogs if that distributor enjoys a niche retail reach that aligns to the book’s target market—e.g., a children’s book through Edelweiss, audio books through Audible, ebooks through Overdrive, etc.
All books we print are available for retail purchase at Jason’s Books & Coffee in Wyoming, Michigan.
Printing. Our decision about initial print runs aligns to our profit-and-loss estimates. Books with modest sales expectations generally print on-demand to limit our warehousing costs. We always print at least a small run to satisfy our own distribution-and-fulfillment projections, however, with a decision between digital and offset printing following from that estimate. We often rely on POD printing services for short-run titles, but large-run or more complex works we print through speciality book printers located in West Michigan.
Please note the following:
- How to Query — email only, to the address listed below
- Basic Requirements — the work must be complete if you’re pitching fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction; you must own the copyright without any license encumbrance with other publishers
- What We Accept — we welcome any content in any genre or style, provided it shines with superior literary quality and demonstrates a clear market value
- What We Cannot Accept — books that have previously been published or contracted for publication; any book with content that’s illegal in the United States or the states of Michigan or New York, or which could likely expose Lakeshore Literary to civil suit (e.g., defamation, invasion of privacy)
- Privileged Submissions — contributors located in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin receive a slight preference for acceptance
- Review Timelines — we turn around responses within a fortnight
- Publishing Timelines — dependent on the author’s turnaround of edits; expect one year from contract to release at a minimum and two years at a maximum for Lakeshore One and Lakeshore Technical; Lakeshore Verse titles typically turn around in six or fewer months
- Agents — agent inquiries welcome; unrepresented authors also welcome
- Expectations from Authors — you’ll be expected to participate in marketing activities we coordinate and to use the project management tools we establish (at no cost to you) to complete the work
- Children’s Books — we require the author to also acquire the art and to demonstrate clear license for us republish that art without independently contracting with the artist
- Art Books — we welcome art books and graphic novels
- Covers — we design covers and have no interest in mock-ups developed by authors
- Reading Fees — no reading fees, although we offer an optional service for $25 to obtain a critique of your submission (using this service does not influence accept/reject decisions)
- Compensation — the compensation model outlined in the table in the previous section governs first-book net sales as accrued by Lakeshore Literary; we do not ordinarily withhold funds for return reserve
- Advances — we pay a token advance to meet Michigan’s laws regarding offer-and-acceptance criteria for contract enforceability
- Rights License — we request the minimum necessary license to produce and distribute the work in print/ebook/audio formats (as applicable), in English, in the countries were we maintain a distribution presence; this exclusive license is contractually time-limited to 60 months after release with an option to renew if both parties agree to an extension
- Copyright — we never request assignment of copyright; we register the printed book with the US Copyright Office in the author’s name within 90 days of release
- Work for Hire — we do not commission work for hire
- Simultaneous Submissions — we welcome them provided you withdraw as soon as the work is no longer available
- Resubmissions — welcome from authors who chose our optional submission critique and revised it in light of our observations
- Reprints — never accepted, and that includes reprinted online or self-published work
- Marketing — Lakeshore Literary generally handles marketing and promotions, and this work includes sole control over the design of a book and its covers
Send an email to query@ with the following information in the body of the message:
- Your legal name and, if relevant, publishing pseudonym
- A summary of the work — title, genre, rough word count
- A brief (3-5 sentence) summary of the work
- Your author biography
This information does not need to be formatted in any specific way.
In addition to the body text, please provide the following attachments in DOCX format:
- NOVELS and CREATIVE NONFICTION: Supply the first chapter plus a traditional synopsis as a separate document.
- TECHNICAL NONFICTION: Supply a formal book proposal.
- POETRY COLLECTIONS: Supply the full manuscript. Include, in the body of the email, a statement about any intended theme for the collection.
A traditional synopsis is a very specific publishing document that provides a high-level overview of a work of fiction. Searching “book synopsis” overwhelms with literally false information about “one-pagers that agents will love.” A synopsis for our purpose is 1/35th the length of the full manuscript; it’s written in present active tense, third-person omniscient, regardless of the the manuscript; each chapter is represented by one paragraph in the synopsis; primary characters are identified on first reference in ALL CAPS with a brief character description in apposition.
Do your best with the synopsis. Very few authors are trained to do them well, but be aware that our primary deciding point is whether the synopsis gives us a clear idea of what’s in the manuscript.