Publishing Options (books)

PURPOSE of this Page

As a small press, we cannot publish everything we are offered. No publisher can. The purpose of this page is to explain to potential suitors what we do and how we do it so no one’s time gets wasted. We have several labels and several ways we do business.

We specialize in perfect bound books also known as trade paperback, paperback or even soft cover.  We don’t do coil, or saddle-stitch binding and, as a result, are not well suited for children’s books or cookbooks, so we don’t do those.

We can do books with internal color, but it’s rare and that makes travel books or photo albums less of an option for us.

Aside from that, and with the exception of pornography, we do just about anything that can be printed and bound in 12pt card stock.


Main Street Rag

Strictly for poetry, including poetry anthologies. On average we publish between 40 and 50 poetry collections every year. It is the genre for which we are best known.

Mint Hill Books

This label is for prose including mixed anthologies, creative nonfiction, memoirs, novellas, novels, and short fiction collections. Our yearly target is 5-10 titles that fall into one of the above categories of prose.


PURE HEART PRESS is our self-publishing imprint.

We will publish nearly anything the author or editor is willing to pay for. The difference between Pure Heart Press and our primary imprints is that the author is responsible for the content, the cost of production and all the marketing (although we can offer marketing assistance for an additional fee).

We do not do as many self-published projects as we once did, but there is no time limitation as to when we will or will not consider and/or produce a self-published book. It has more to do with the author’s schedule and that of Main Street Rag projects already in progress.

Please note: For the Pure Heart Press label, we do not issue ISBNs for print runs of under 150 copies and are not interested in projects where the author wants less than 50 copies.

BOOK Submission Guidelines (NEW RULES… effective May 1, 2024)

General Submission Guidelines

  • ALL book queries must be made directly to the editor by email ( to confirm qualifications (listed below).  
  • WORD or RTF format–NO PDFs for book submissions.
  • Word or page count is specific to genre (see below).
  • Reading periods vary by genre and are subject to closing unannounced if we meet our goal for a specific genre. As a general rule, poetry manuscripts are read year-round. Prose manuscripts are limited to May 15 through July 1.
  • We’re sorry, but we are not able to consider manuscripts written by overseas authors (those who live outside the US).
  • We will sometimes offer feedback, but authors should not expect it.
  • (NEW) Since we will no longer be using Submittable to process book manuscripts, we will also NOT be charging a reading fee, but we will only consider manuscripts from those who fall into the following categories:
    • (1) Current subscribers to our literary magazine can submit one manuscript per year. (If you are not and you want to subscribe, here’s a link:
    • (2) Previously published in our literary magazine within the previous 3 years.
    • (3) Authors who have a previous book published by Main Street Rag can submit one manuscript per year.
    • (4) A recommendation from an author whose book was published by Main Street Rag or Mint Hill Books. Main Street Rag authors can recommend ONE manuscript per year and must write a blurb for the book (sent directly to: prior to an author’s query/submission. Main Street Rag authors can recommend no more than one manuscript per year.

What we will consider:

  • Chapbooks & Poetry Books:  28-40 pages 
  • Essay/Creative Non-fiction/Memoirs: Length: 70-100K words. If editor approves query, send first three chapters, but no more than 20K words. If we want to see more, we’ll ask for it.
  • Short Story Collections: Length: 50-100K words. If editor approves query, send first three stories, but no more than 20K words. If we want to see more, we’ll ask for it.
  • Novellas: Length: 25-50K words. Not interested in anything shorter than 25K words for book publication.
  • Novels: Length: 70-120K words (preferred). Send first three chapters, but no more than 20K words. If we want to see more, we’ll ask for it.