Submissions to CavanKerry Press are Closed Until July 2024!

Throughout one Summer month in even-numbered years (Currently slated for July 2024), CavanKerry Press accepts submissions for poetry collections, nonfiction essay collections, and memoir. Selected titles will be published by CavanKerry Press and receive national distribution. Please read the complete guidelines before submitting your manuscript.

Who May Submit

You! CavanKerry Press publishes works that explore the emotional and psychological landscapes of everyday life. We are particularly interested in receiving more work from queer, trans, and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) voices and are committed to publishing a diverse roster of authors each year. With our LaurelBooks imprint, CavanKerry is also especially engaged with work from people living with physical and/or mental illness and disability.

The Open Submissions Period is open during even-numbered years to anyone writing primarily in the English language and living in the United States, regardless of prior publication history. The first round of submissions will be read by a diverse pool of outside readers, with subsequent rounds being read by CavanKerry authors and our editorial staff. Final decisions will be made by CavanKerry staff based on the quality of work and its alignment with our commitment to expanding the reach of poetry to a general readership. 

We are always impressed by the quality of work we read, and we receive many more manuscripts worthy of publication than we are able to publish. Careful and thoughtful consideration is given to each work before decisions are made.

Pay What You Can: $10, $18, or $25

CavanKerry Press is a committed member of the writing community. To better meet the financial needs of our fellow writers, we revised our submission fees in 2020 to offer a "Pay what you can" structure, with $10, $18, and $25 options. This change is an effort to further our ongoing mission as an inclusive publisher to authors of all socioeconomic backgrounds and in no way impacts consideration of individual manuscripts. If you need additional financial assistance, please email Gabriel Cleveland, Director/Managing Editor, as we are able to accommodate a limited number of free submissions for writers-in-need on a first-come, first-served basis.

All submissions should be made through Submittable. All submitters may also choose to receive one of CavanKerry’s books from the list provided below. Book mailings will begin in August.

Manuscript Requirements

All poetry manuscripts must be a minimum of 50 pages and should not be much longer than 100 pages. Nonfiction manuscripts should not be much longer than 200 pages.

  • Submit your previously unpublished manuscript with a table of contents.
  • Manuscript should be formatted on a Word document or .PDF using a standard font (such as Times New Roman or Calibri) and standard margins. Prose entries should be formatted with 1 and 1/2 or double spacing,
  • All manuscripts will be read anonymously. Please do not include your name on any pages of the manuscript. Manuscripts with personally identifying information may be rejected without consideration. Search (Ctrl-F) or use the Find and Replace (Ctrl-H) tool for your first name and last name individually and either delete your name or replace it with XXXXXX. 
  • Include a cover letter with the following information  
  1. title of the manuscript
  2. author name
  3. address
  4. telephone number
  5. email address
  6. social media handles and website address if applicable
  • *Submissions without this information in the cover letter will not be read.*

Individual poems or essays in a manuscript may have been previously published in magazines, journals, or anthologies, but the work as a whole should be a new, unpublished collection. You may include an acknowledgment page at the end, though this will not affect consideration of your manuscript.

Simultaneous submissions to other publishers are permitted. Please notify Gabriel Cleveland, Director/Managing Editor, promptly if a manuscript is accepted elsewhere.

Before submitting your work to CavanKerry, please explore our website and the work of the authors we have published. (Psst, our YouTube channel has a fantastic series of readings for each of our recent releases!)

Use of AI

As a press that prides itself in publishing work that focuses on the lived, human experiences of our writers, CavanKerry Press considers the use of AI to generate your manuscript, in whole or in part, as instantly disqualifying. Such manuscripts will be rejected outright and no refund will be offered.

Our Readers!

CavanKerry is proud to say that we have enlisted a wide array of 37 established and published authors of all backgrounds to serve as 1st readers for the 2024 Open Submission Period! These talented, exemplary individuals will help the selection process by offering expertise, knowledge, and cultural competencies that expand our ability to consider manuscripts from all submitters in an equitable fashion. For more information about our readers, and to see who worked on our 2022 Submission Period, click here.

Our current pool of outside readers is comprised of 22 women, 10 men, and 5 authors identifying as non-binary and/or transgender. 11 of readers are queer. 9 of our readers are Black, 15 are White, 6 are Asian, 5 are Latinx, and 2 are Indigenous. 6 readers identify as people with disabilities and/or chronic illness.

CavanKerry is committed to the anonymous review of all manuscripts submitted during our open reading period. If your work is recognized by one of our readers, your manuscript will be reassigned to ensure that any possible conflicts of interest are avoided.


Decisions regarding acceptance of manuscripts for publications will be made by the end of February the following year. You will receive a phone call from our Director and a follow-up email if your work is accepted. Please do not contact us with inquiries on the status of your submission until this period of time has ended.

All submitters will have the option to receive one of our previous titles for free (after shipping and handling)!

The Booklist:

  1. The Body at a Loss, by Cati Porter
  2. Dialect of Distant Harbors, by Dipika Mukherjee
  3. Limited Editions, by Carole Stone
  4. Mausoleum of Flowers, by Daniel Summerhill
  5. Motherhood Exaggerated, by Judith Hannan (Memoir)
  6. My Oceanography, by Harriet Levin Millan
  7. Orphans, by Joan Cusack Handler
  8. Places I Was Dreaming, by Loren Graham
  9. Places We Return To: A Celebration of Twenty Years Publishing Fine Literature (Our Anthology!)
  10. To the Marrow, by Robert Seder (Memoir)

For questions or assistance with submitting your manuscript, please email our Director/Managing Editor, Gabriel Cleveland.

CavanKerry Press does not discriminate against any applicant on the basis of race, color, religion, orientation, identity, national origin, political affiliation, belief, age, or disability. Upon request, accommodation will be provided to allow individuals with disabilities to utilize CavanKerry’s services.

CavanKerry Press will make a reasonable effort to remove barriers at events locations and, where possible, choose barrier-free venues. CavanKerry Press has a designated coordinator to facilitate compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as required by Section 35.107 of the US Department of Justice regulations, and to coordinate compliance with sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Authors who have previously published with CavanKerry may submit a new manuscript to the editors at any time.

A manuscript may be submitted, or resubmitted, only twice within a twelve (12) month period.

Please allow three to six months for a response.
CavanKerry Press