About Blue Crow Publishing

Blue Crow Publishing, LLC, is a small, traditional publisher and provider of author services founded in 2016.

Under our Blue Crow Books imprint we publish fiction and nonfiction of a variety of genres:

  • Adult Fiction of all genres.
  • Young Adult Fiction of all genres.
  • Nonfiction, including memoir, essays, and social commentary.

We publish approximately four titles a year. We are a socially conscious press that prioritizes own voices and traditionally marginalized authors.

Blue Crow Publishing Statement of Beliefs

We at Blue Crow Publishing operate according to five guiding principles. These five principles inform our decisions every day.

  • We believe that authors should be treated with honesty and respect.
  • We believe books should be beautiful and of high quality.
  • We believe that the best books are sometimes overlooked by publishers.
  • We believe that great writing is not limited by genre.
  • We believe that all authors deserve a voice, especially those whose writing the publishing world has so often turned its back on.

Awards and Best-of Lists

Our titles have won awards and been named to best-of lists, and we’re so proud of what our authors have been able to accomplish in just a few years. Here’s a selection of our authors’ achievements.

  • SWORD OF THE SEVEN SINS (2020), by Emily Colin, was a finalist for to Foreword INDIES award for Young Adult fiction and was shortlisted for the The Manly Wade Wellman Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy (which recognizes outstanding achievement in science fiction and fantasy novels written by North Carolina authors).
  • THE FREELANCE ACADEMIC by Katie Rose Guest Pryal was named Recommended Reading by From Ph.D. to Life.
  • LIFE OF THE MIND INTERRUPTED and THE FREELANCE ACADEMIC, both by Katie Rose Guest Pryal, were both named to The Professor Is In Top 12 Books About Academia in May of 2021.
  • THE ZOMBIES ARE COMING: The Realities of the Zombie Apocalypse in American Culture (2020), by Kelly J. Baker, was a Finalist for the 2021 Florida Authors and Publishers Association (FAPA) Award in Nonfiction/Politics.
  • THE FREELANCE ACADEMIC: Transform Your Creative Life and Career (2019), by Katie Rose Guest Pryal, won a Gold 2019 Foreword INDIES Award.
  • EVEN IF YOU’RE BROKEN: Essays on Sexual Assault and #MeToo (2019), by Katie Rose Guest Pryal, won a Gold 2020 Independent Publisher Book Award—an “IPPY.”
  • GRACE PERIOD: A Memoir in Pieces (2019), by Kelly J. Baker, was named one of the 12 best “New Religion Journalism” Books of the Decade by Religion Dispatches Magazine in December 2019. (Yes, of the decade.)
  • LIFE OF THE MIND INTERRUPTED: Essays on Mental Health and Disability in Higher Education (2017)by Katie Rose Guest Pryal, was named one of the 5 Books to Help You Understand Higher Education by Bookriot in 2019.
  • SEXISM ED: Essays on Gender and Labor in Academia (2018), by Kelly J. Baker, was named one of the 5 Books to Help You Understand Higher Education by Bookriot in 2019. (Yes, that’s two of our titles on that list.)
  • SEXISM ED: Essays on Gender and Labor in Academia (2018), by Kelly J. Baker, won the INDIE Gold Award for Women’s Studies nonfiction 2018.
  • THE BOND: A Novel (2018), by Robin Kirk, won the Foreword INDIES Bronze Award for Young Adult fiction 2018.
  • Lauren Faulkenberry was the Winner of the FAMILY CIRCLE Fiction prize.
  • Lauren Faulkenberry was a finalist for the Novello Festival Press First Novel Award.
  • Lauren Faulkenberry was nominated for an Intro Award by the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP).

Blue Crow People

Lauren Faulkenberry: Co-Publisher

Award-winning writer Lauren Faulkenberry earned her MFA in book arts from The University of Alabama and her MFA in fiction writing from Georgia College & State University. She is the author of four novels, one children’s picture book, many short stories and more. She teaches book arts workshops all over the country at residencies and retreats such as the Penland School of Crafts and Wildacres.

Katie Rose Guest Pryal: Co-Publisher

Katie Rose Guest Pryal earned her master’s degree in creative writing from the Writing Seminars of Johns Hopkins University, her law degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law, and her Ph.D. in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is the author of many novels and nonfiction books, essays, and more. She also works as an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Are You Hiring?

No. (Updated Feb. 25, 2021)

Blue Crow Publishing FAQs

Here are common questions that people ask about Blue Crow Publishing and other small presses.

Do you charge authors money, say, a reading fee, or a fee for publication?

Don’t be silly. No. We don’t charge any fees at all. We are what’s called a “traditional publisher.” We are not a “vanity press” or a “hybrid publisher.”

What is your royalty split with authors?

In general, we split royalties with authors somewhere around 60/40. (Your own contract might be different, depending on what we negotiate.)

Wow, that’s so high! Why do you give authors such a big royalty cut?

We are a small outfit. We will do everything we can to put out a gorgeous book and to market it well with the resources we have. But our resources are limited. So we consider you, the author, a partner in this publishing endeavor, and we need your help to make your book a success. Authors help their books succeed by proofing, marketing, maintaining a web presence, working on social media, and in other ways.

Help! I don’t know how to do those things.

Don’t worry, we’ll help you. We have created a series of author tutorials and a community of other authors who support one another. We know that many new authors don’t know much about publishing. We’re ready to support you through this partnership.

Do you pay an advance?

We do not.

Hey, why you didn’t respond to my query?

There are lots of reasons why we might not respond. The most common reason is that you sent us a query when our submissions are closed or closed to the type of book you are querying. Please don’t do that. Save your query for when we’re accepting submissions—we’ll look forward to reading (and replying) then. (Our submission guidelines are below.)


Important Note: Due to the large number of submissions we receive, queries that do not follow our guidelines will not receive a response.

Fiction: We are closed to submissions of all fiction.

Nonfiction: We are accepting submissions of narrative nonfiction and essay collections from own voices authors onlyIf you are unsure what own voices means, read this article in Al Jazeera that features Blue Crow Books.

Updated July of 2020.

What are we looking for?

  • You have read our statement of beliefs, so you know that we believe that great writing is not limited by genre. We are interested in books ranging from literary fiction to romance to thriller and everything in between—all brought together by compelling storytelling.
  • Own voices, only, please. “Own voices” means that if you are writing a main character who is part of marginalized group, you are part of that marginalized group. If you are writing a trans* main character, you are a trans* person. If you are writing about an American Indian main character, you are American Indian. If you are writing about a disabled main character, you are disabled. And so on. Please mention if you are an own voices author in your submission, and give an explanation. Read our blog post here to learn even more.
  • We are interested in narratives that center those who are normally excluded from or marginalized in stories.
  • We are, by the way, unabashedly feminist, anti-racist, anti-ablest, pro-LGBTQ, and pro-social justice.

What are we NOT looking for?

  • Stories with main characters from marginalized groups written by authors who are not of that marginalized group. Learn what own voices means, and why we only take own voices manuscripts. Therefore, we do not want:
      • Stories with a female main character written by a man.
      • Stories with a POC main character written by a white person.
      • Stories with a disabled main character written by a normate.
      • Queries that use “own voices” improperly.
  • Stories that use disability, including mental illness, as a metaphor for something else, whether monstrous or magical. We don’t want Jigsaw (disability as monstrous) or Daredevil (disability as magical).
  • Submissions that don’t follow our guidelines or the standard guidelines for query letters. Here’s great advice on query letters.

Who are you?

  • You have a manuscript that is polished and ready to go, between 50k and 80k (max) words.
  • You know how to use Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and you are willing to get even better. You provide your social media information in your query letter.
  • You have a website. You provide a link to your author (or other) website in your query letter.
  • You have a newsletter, or are willing and able to create one.
  • You can articulate your author platform and marketing strategies, and you do so in your query letter. You understand that you, like most traditionally published authors, are predominantly responsible for marketing your book.
  • You live in the United States and are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Query submission guidelines

Queries that do not follow our guidelines will be receive no response.

  • Submit a query letter by email to contact@bluecrowpublishing.com
  • Use this email subject line: Query for [Editor Name]: [Title of your book] by [Author Name]. **This is really important: You must put the word “Query” in the subject of ALL emails with us so that we can find your emails, even if we’ve been corresponding.
  • Include the first 10 pages of your manuscript with your submission
  • PASTE everything into the body of your email—NO attachments, please
  • Include in your query letter the following items, in addition to the standard query letter stuff:
    • a short bio that includes your social media information, author platform, and anything relevant to your writing of this book
    • how you found out about Blue Crow Books
    • whether you are an own voices author if your main character is from a marginalized group

To hear early announcements about our reading periods, subscribe to our newsletter: bit.ly/bcpletter.

Manuscript submission guidelines

If we request your manuscript, please follow these guidelines.

  • Submit your manuscript in MS Word or Apple Pages (preferred, actually) format
  • Indents should be made by using the first-line auto-indent feature, not by using the tab button (this is more important then you would think)
  • When you submit, please reply to your query email to keep the email thread alive
  • Please allow 6-8 weeks for us to consider your submission

Important: If your work is accepted elsewhere, please let us know as soon as you can. We spend a lot of time and energy reviewing manuscripts. We do not expect you to submit to us exclusively, but we do expect you to let us know when you aren’t going to accept our offer of publication.