Lanternfish Press

Independent publishing in Philadelphia. Artisanal books for omnivorous readers.

Lanternfish Press is accepting submissions from August 15 through September 30. You can find our submission form at Submittable here.

WHAT WE'RE LOOKING FOR

We’re looking for a few things this fall:

  • Novel- and novella-length fiction. We look for work that has something of the "rare and strange" about it: the gothic or grotesque, the surreal or magical.
  • Short (20–40K words) hybrid works: fictional or quasi-fictional encyclopedias, collections, catalogs, bestiaries, dictionaries.
  • Book proposals (20–50 pages) for biographies of women in history who kicked ass and took names (literally or figuratively). Some ideas to get you started: Eiko Ishioka, Razia Sultana, Jane Bowles, Ulrika Eleonora Stålhammar, Juana Ines de la Cruz, Maria Nikiforova. We're looking for subjects who don't already have a major biography in print. 

We are eager to read submissions from women, people of color, and queer and neurodiverse folks of all stripes. Please no romance, inspirational, or YA. Also, please don’t send us stories that alternate between different timelines from chapter to chapter: we’ve had the pleasure of publishing some great ones, but we’ve seen enough for now. Manuscripts should be formatted in 12-point Times New Roman, double-spaced, ragged right, with author contact information on the title page. Please don’t use tab stops to indent paragraphs or carriage returns to create page breaks.

LFP titles forthcoming in Winter 2017/Spring 2018 include a fabulist novel about a runaway teen whose father was disappeared during Argentina's Dirty War; a novella-length series of travel essays on Haiti; a novel about a puppeteer who wrestles with making new art after his wife has passed away; and a novel about superheroes and the perils of blerd life in 21st-century America.

ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE AUTHORS

Read. Read voraciously. Read writers who don't look like you. Read foreign writers. Read dead writers! 
Writing is a conversation. It can offer people who lead wildly different lives a window on each other’s worlds. It can bridge gaps between cultures and gulfs in time, overcoming unbearable solitudes. We tend to click with writers who’ve grappled with many stories and whose work is informed by that broader perspective. 

Aim high.
Being “relatable” is overrated. Nine times out of ten it just means saying things that resonate with the favorite stereotypes of a given marketing demographic. Yawn. If you really want to wow us, shoot for a perspective that a European writer of the sixteenth century, a middle-class Nigerian teenager of today, and a woman born in an agrarian community two hundred years in the future might all be able to make sense of. If you have trouble putting your finger on what could possibly interest such different people, William Faulkner’s brief but pithy Nobel lecture is a good place to start.

Have fun.
Who says a “serious” book can’t also be entertaining? We love stories that aren’t afraid to have fun: raucous, gleeful, zany romps through new worlds bursting with life. 

Embrace your voice.
We appreciate skillful prose, whether the style is spare and clipped or elaborate and intricate. We have nothing against either long or short sentences. Don’t be afraid of your own voice. Shout it loud! 

As a matter of house style, we do tend to dislike present-tense narration unless the author has a very solid reason to use it. (“It’s more vivid” is not a solid reason.) Instead of reaching for immediacy through use of the present tense, we encourage writers to explore other ways of escaping abstraction and engaging the reader in a lifelike world of concrete things and sensations.