Thank you for your interest in the Virginia Festival of the Book!

Every March, the Festival presents programming featuring authors, literary and book arts activities, and more.

THE SUBMISSION PORTAL IS BELOW THE FAQS. Please read the guidelines carefully, and scroll down to access the portal.

Our 2025 Festival marks a special year as Virginia Humanities celebrates its 50th anniversary with events throughout the state. The Virginia Festival of the Book will take place Thursday, March 20-Sunday, March 23 in Charlottesville, with most programs focused Friday-Saturday, March 21-22. In addition, the Virginia Center for the Book will host literary programs throughout the year, across the state.

Author submissions will put authors in consideration for the Virginia Festival of the Book (March 20-23 in Charlottesville). Authors may also opt in to being considered for Virginia Center for the Book programs across the state, throughout the year.

Submission opening date: June 28

Submission Deadline: August 29

Books may be submitted by authors, illustrators, publicists, or other publishing professionals with permission from the author or artist. Books cannot be submitted in this portal by members of the general public.

We encourage submissions by individuals from diverse backgrounds, and we welcome book submissions from authors who live in Virginia, or anywhere around the world.

Preference is given to books released in hardback in March 2024 and up to March 2025. Generally books must be available for sale by March 15, 2025, in order to be considered for the 2025 Festival, but we also welcome authors on tour with books that are launching during the festival date range.

Authors or publishers assume the costs of sending book submissions. Also, we cannot return books. Submissions not accepted for inclusion in the Festival will be donated to the local library and other organizations that serve readers.

BOOKS WE ACCEPT
  • Fiction (including genre fiction such as romance, sci-fi, thrillers, etc.)
  • Nonfiction on any subject
  • Books of poetry including chapbooks that are not self-published (see below)
  • Cookbooks and other how-tos
  • Books may be published by trade publishers, indie publishers, university presses, or other entities.
BOOKS WE DO NOT ACCEPT
  • Self Published or Hybrid Books, or other Fee-for-Service Publications: Unless the book is submitted on behalf of a 501(c)3 organization, or affiliated with a university press, we do not accept submissions from subsidy presses or hybrid presses, presses that option marketing/illustration, or editing packages, nor other self-published books. If you are not sure if your book falls within these criteria, please see our FAQs for details.
  • Youth Books: we are not accepting books for young, middle grade, or teen readers this year. Please see our FAQs for details.
  • E-Books: Books published only as e-books, or Kindle-only books, will not be considered.

Submission Deadline: August 29. THE SUBMISSION PORTAL IS BELOW THE FAQs.

Only online submissions are accepted. No paper or mailed submission will be accepted.

We require a DRC and we strongly prefer that two physical copies of the books are mailed to us.

DRCs: All submissions must include a DRC (digital review copy) in order to be considered. We will also accept a manuscript PDF in its last stages of the publisher’s copy edits. If you are unable to submit a DRC or online manuscript, please note this in the comments section so that we may make alternate arrangements.

DRCs or PDFs must be downloaded into the Box folder using the submission form. A link is not acceptable, and we will not accept emailed DRCs.

Two Bound Copies: In addition to a required DRC, we strongly prefer two physical copies of the book or advanced reader’s copies. If physical copies or ARCs (advance reader copies) will not be available before the August 29 deadline, please note in the comments section. Mail submissions to: Virginia Festival of the Book, 946 Grady Ave. Suite 100, Charlottesville VA 22903.

Co-Authors: If both authors wish to participate, please submit a form for one author, and include BOTH authors’ bios.

Series Authors: Please submit the title of the newest book in a series as of March 2025.

In-Person Programming: We accept submissions for in-person events only. Most in-person Festival programs offer panels with two to three speakers and a moderator. Festival organizers select the speakers and moderators and organize all related logistics. Book sales and signings immediately follow most in-person programs and are held in the same venue.

Book Sales: The Festival arranges all book sales with local booksellers. Sales generally take place immediately following each individual event.

Non-Compete Requirements: The Virginia Festival of the Book strives to offer unique programming and to bring in fresh voices and perspectives to Central Virginia and beyond. We require that authors who are selected for the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville not offer public readings local to Charlottesville eight weeks before and after March 20-23, unless other arrangements are made with Festival staff. If you wish to be a part of a public event outside of the Festival during this window of time, you must discuss with Festival staff upon your Festival acceptance offer.

Previous Years’ Applicants: Although previous participants may apply, a strong preference is given to authors who did not participate in the prior year’s Festival. It is also Festival policy to not repeat a book that has already been featured in the Festival.

Travel and Fees: There is no submission fee to apply to the Festival. Unless otherwise discussed in advance, speakers must commit to assuming the costs of their Festival participation if they are invited to take part, including travel and lodging. See FAQs about a small amount of funding available to some authors. Remember that we are accepting submissions for in-person events only.

Decisions: Application notifications will be provided by mid-January 2025.

Application Specifics: You may wish to gather the following information in advance for online submission:

  • Author and publicist’s contact information
  • Title of author latest book
  • Blurb of the author’s latest book
  • Paragraph bio of author, and online reviews, publicity articles, etc.
  • Author’s website
  • Where the author lives (in what city/state/country)
  • Confirmation that the author is submitting for in-person events in Charlottesville, VA (March 20-23; across the state throughout the year; and will assume all costs of travel and lodging unless otherwise arranged).

Please scroll down for the submission portal.

When and where is the 2025 Virginia Festival of the Book?

The 2025 Virginia Festival of the Book takes place Friday, March 20-Sunday, March 23 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Throughout 2024-2025, we will also host author events across the state of Virginia. These programs may be hosted by the Virginia Center for the Book, or as part of Virginia Humanities 50th Anniversary celebration.

Your submission will be considered for the Charlottesville Festival March 20-23, but we will ask if you’re flexible to take part in general author events throughout the state, year round.

Will book sales be provided during the festival?

Absolutely! Booksellers will be on hand after each author event to sell copies of authors’ books.

Do Authors receive an honorarium or travel stipend?

All presenting authors except University of Virginia faculty and full-time staff, will be offered an $85 honorarium to help cover the cost of travel and lodging.

We realize that many authors are paying their own way without the funding of their publishers. The Festival may have a limited amount of funding available to cover the costs of a few authors. The application will ask if you request or require a higher honorarium, travel, or lodging costs.

If you would like to be considered for additional funding, please enter the TOTAL AMOUNT*, and indicate if you request this amount (i.e. you will be able to attend the Festival without it) or if you require this amount (i.e. you will not attend the Festival without funding).

*Estimate Lodging at $250/night

We may be able to grant some requests for funding. Note that we cannot grant every funding request.

I’d like to take part in the 2025 Festival, but I don’t wish to travel to Virginia. Will you be offering virtual programming?

We’ll be live-streaming as many in-person events as possible. However, we will not offer virtual-only events during the Festival.

Why is the Festival not accepting submissions from authors of young people’s’ books?

This year, the Virginia Festival of the Book will not be accepting submissions for children’s, middle grade, and YA Books. This has been a very difficult decision to make, and it is out of respect for publishers,’ publicists,’ and authors’ time and resources. In the past few years, we have had many, many young readers’ book submissions, yet we have only been able to place a handful of authors in programs that are not always as well-attended as we would like. While the Virginia Center for the Book will still offer youth-centered events in 2025, we will be focusing on changing the structure of our youth programming and bringing back meaningful youth content, drawing primarily from 2024 and 2023 Festival year submissions.

Why don’t you accept self-published books and some other books outside of the traditional industry model?

The Virginia Festival of the Book staff appreciates the time and skill necessary to complete a self-published book, and we recognize that there are wonderful, professionally-edited books out there that are produced by subsidy and hybrid publishers, or that authors produce themselves. And we understand that other publishers could be seen as gate-keepers, whether they are large corporations or tiny indie-presses.

At the same time, we rely on incorporated editorial and distribution commitments by traditional publishing models as part of the publishing process, ensuring a high and consistent standard of books to offer to Festival readers.

Additionally, we value consistency and ease-of-purchase for our audiences, which is why we work with bookstores and booksellers to sell all books at the Festival. Self-published books are often difficult or impossible for our bookseller partners to acquire, sell, and return.

What is a hybrid or subsidy press?

Sometimes called a “vanity press,” subsidy presses and hybrid presses require authors to pay a cost to have their book published, or require that the author buys something as a condition of publication (such as finished books).

Unless your book meets the exceptions below, we do not accept the following:

    • Books from publishers that require payment from authors (if you must pay to have your book published, the Festival will not accept it).

    • Books from publishers that offer a marketing fee, illustrating fee, or editing fee to authors, even if an author chooses not to pay this fee.

    • Books that require an author to solicit their own editor or illustrator.

    • Books that require the author to purchase finished copies as a condition of publication.

Exceptions: Books affiliated with university presses; books in traditional publishing models that were submitted to literary magazine contests, or other contests, for which there is a submission fee; or books, such as anthologies, in which editors have paid for permissions, etc. WILL be considered for submission. Some self-published books of art or photography will be accepted on a case-by-case basis.

We will also make special considerations for books, such as anthologies, produced by subsidy presses for 501(c)3 organizations. If your book has been published on behalf of an organization, please reach out to Festival Staff at books@virginiahumanities.org before you submit in the portal.

Will you offer an exhibitor’s fair?

No. We will not host an exhibitor’s fair or book fair in 2025. We have not hosted an exhibitor’s fair since 2017 and do not anticipate hosting a fair in the future.

Do I have a better chance of being accepted if I submit early in the process?

No. We weigh all submissions equally if they meet our guidelines and are submitted through the deadline of August 29.

I submitted for last year’s Festival, but my book was not accepted. Can I submit the same book for 2025?

If your book was not selected for inclusion in the 2024 Festival, you may not submit the same book for 2025. We will not review re-submissions for the same work.

How are submitted books considered for consideration?

Submissions that meet our guidelines will be advanced to a committee consisting of Festival staff as well as literary and industry professionals who will evaluate books according to some of the below considerations:

    • Does the book bring forward compelling, thought-provoking, and/or entertaining themes and ideas? Does it relate to timely or vital topics that speak to readers’ lives and interests?

    • Does the book show solid literary merit (i.e., is it well-written)?

    • Does the book show potential in garnering solid community or regional interest from Virginians? Does it add to the diversity of Festival offerings?

    • Is the book thematically pairable or able to be grouped with other selections, so that the author may be part of a panel of other authors who have submitted their work?

    • We may also consider if the book has won awards or accolades, appeared on local or national booklists, and received favorable reviews; as well as if the author has a platform of expertise, been selected for noted residencies or fellowships, and/or had their work been published in literary magazines.

Note: Books come to us from “Big Five” publishers to small, indie presses or university presses alike; they come from debut and seasoned authors; and from bestselling authors, to authors who are less known. Depending on these and other factors, not all books can meet each of the above criteria and we evaluate each book equally.

Because we have a limited budget, Festival staff must consider any additional cost requirements associated with authors beyond the $85 standard honorarium for non-UVA faculty or staff.

We are committed to presenting an array of genres, writing styles, and themes, and reaching a variety of audiences. In all of our programs, Virginia Humanities and the Virginia Festival of the Book seek to reflect our values of creativity, curiosity, dignity, humility, and inclusivity. We look for books that feature a diversity of voices, thoughts, and ideas.

I’ve presented at the Virginia Festival of the Book for years.
I am a member of UVA staff/faculty.
My book has won prestigious awards.
My book is a bestseller.
My book addresses a very timely topic.

…I should expect to be offered a spot, right?

While we at Virginia Humanities and the Virginia Festival of the Book especially value fellow members of our University of Virginia community; as well as authors who’ve presented their books as part of the Festival for years and years; and while we wish we could accept all of the worthy and wonderful books that come our way, it is vital that we adhere to the criteria noted above, particularly how books fit within a panel of one or two other submitted books, present an array of genres, writing styles, and themes, reach a variety of audiences, and present books that feature a diversity of voices, thoughts, and ideas

We can only include the amount of books and authors that our 2025 Virginia Festival of the Book can support. In 2025, we will feature fewer authors than we have in some years before.

Do ALL of the Virginia Festival of the Book’s authors come through your submissions process?

No. Although we prioritize submitted authors, we also host Festival programs with:

    • Headlining or featured authors. These authors are invited to attend.

    • Virginia Festival of the Book Partners: We work with different partners each year, including a rotating list of community organizations and/or University of Virginia academic departments; as well as a few long-standing partners. These partners often choose their own authors to present.

Are ALL Virginia Festival of the Book presenters published book authors?

No. We might feature participants in literary organizations, youth readers, book and publishing industry professionals, performance poets, and other voices. We also work with bookmakers and artisans.

OTHER QUESTIONS?

Please contact Festival staff at books@virginiahumanities.org.


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