A 501(c)(3) non-profit literary press collective founded in 2000, Sundress Publications is entirely volunteer-run, publishes chapbooks and full-length works in both print and digital formats, and hosts a variety of online journals. Our mission is to champion great work—especially by persons under-represented in literary publishing—and we welcome writers and artists regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, religion, class, veteran status, age, and educational background.
Sundress Publications works closely with its authors, artists, and contributors, providing feedback and assistance through every stage of the publication process. Our aesthetic sensibilities run the gamut from traditional to innovative; we do not align ourselves with a single school or style. We seek works in all genres by intelligent, creative, and compassionate humans that speak to other intelligent, creative, and compassionate humans. In many ways, Sundress Publications envisions the manuscripts we publish as concept albums, not merely as collections of hot singles. We are most interested in the overall effect created by the artist, how the parts act in concert to create the whole.
Sundress Publications is also the umbrella site for numerous publications including the Best of the Net Anthology, Stirring, Rogue Agent, Doubleback Review, and beestung. Stirring : A Literary Collection was founded by Erin Elizabeth Smith in September of 1999 and is one of the longest continually publishing journal on the internet. Rogue Agent is a journal dedicated to publishing poetry and art that depicts the myriad experiences of living in the body. They are especially interested in receiving submissions from marginalized / underrepresented voices. beestung is a quarterly online micro-magazine for non-binary and two-spirit writers and readers, with an emphasis on intracommunity sensibilities. Doubleback Review solely publishes work from now-defunct journals. beestung is a quarterly online micro-magazine for non-binary and two-spirit writers and readers, with an emphasis on intracommunity sensibilities, resisting the canon and all forms of bigotry.
In 2013, Sundress founded the Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) at Firefly Farms, in Knoxville, Tennessee. Nestled in an Appalachian “holler” just twenty minutes from downtown, this picturesque 45-acre farm is the perfect writers’ residency where visitors can hone their creative crafts as they escape the routine of modern life. Alongside the residency program, SAFTA runs a free monthly virtual workshops centered on writing in all genres—poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, playwriting, journalism, academic writing and more—where the staff encourages artists of all skill levels and experience to work with peers and professionals to learn a host of new skills in order to enrich their work. We also host Poetry Xfit, a free virtual generative writing event, and the Sundress Reading Series, an award-winning reading series held in Knoxville.
Sundress and its subsidiaries have received grant support from the Poetry Foundation, the Academy of American Poets, the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry, the Tennessee Arts Commission, the Bailey Fund, and the Appalachian Community Fund.
Above all, we are dedicated to publishing creative work and promoting the arts in a way that makes our authors, artists, readers, and staff proud to be a part of Sundress.
Publishing Your Full-Length with Sundress
Why choose Sundress to publish your book? We have been publishing great work since 2000. We are a diverse team and have a long-standing proven track record of working to promote diversity and equal access in publishing. This is not a new mission to us and this commitment shows in our work as well as our staff.
We have an extensive team, larger than many other small presses, including a Marketing Director, an in-house designer and an enthusiastic intern team that works tirelessly to help our authors succeed. Because we have a large team, we are able to offer all of our authors a full press kit and separate press release which we distribute widely; these are also sent to you for use in securing readings and other bookings. You play an instrumental role in approving everything from the cover to the back cover copy and everything in between. While it may seem like standard practice, you’ll find there are many presses who are great at putting out books but not so much at helping you through the next steps. From a dedicated Marketing Director to a host of experienced staff members, Sundress is here to help you make the most of this important milestone in your writing life.
Another major difference between Sundress and many other presses is that we encourage and support you making as much as you can from your work, and we back it up by refusing to make money off of author orders. Upon release, our authors receive 25 books at no charge and we will also send copies to up to ten contests you’d like to apply to so that these copies don’t come out of your precious stash. Moreover, you can order as many copies of your book as you’d like at cost plus shipping. Doing this, you can sell the copies for the cover price at readings or events and pocket the entire difference. Many presses charge a “wholesale cost” for author copies, meaning they are making money on those copies. We send them to you directly from the printer and do not make anything off of direct-to-author sales, so that you can make more on every copy you sell.
We also donate $1 from every pre-sale to a charity of your choice.
Sundress authors also receive 50% of all book sale profits from all distributors after the initial cost of book production (usually valued at $800) is covered.
We do attend and table at AWP every year, promoting your books at one of the largest book-buying events in the country, and will be able to offer you a scheduled book signing and other events at AWP, such as a reading, should you decide to attend.
Of course we all hope you will choose to publish with Sundress. But what we want most of all is for your book to find a place where it is loved and where you feel supported. We know that’s us, and hope you’ll feel that way, too.
Publishing Your Chapbook with Sundress
Why choose Sundress to publish your chapbook? We have been publishing great work since 2000 and, more specifically, have been digitally publishing chapbooks since 2013. We are a diverse team and have a long-standing proven track record of working to promote diversity and equal access in publishing. This is not a new mission to us and this commitment shows in our work as well as our staff.
We have an extensive team, larger than many other small presses, including an in-house designer and an enthusiastic intern team that works tirelessly to help our authors succeed. A dedicated Chapbook Editor will work closely with you throughout the editing process to prepare your manuscript for publication. With high standards for style, we invest heavily in the design process: each manuscript is transformed into a digital chapbook which is crafted carefully to make your text shine. You’ll play an instrumental role in approving everything from the cover to the layout to the book description to everything in between.
Our support doesn’t stop once your chapbook is published. After release, we promote your chapbook on our blog, website, and social media accounts. We also offer our chapbook authors a press release which we distribute widely. While it may seem like standard practice, you’ll find there are many presses who are great at putting out books but not so much at helping you through the next steps. From a dedicated Marketing Director to a host of experienced staff members, Sundress is here to help you make the most of this important milestone in your writing life.
Another major difference between Sundress and many other presses is that we make our chapbooks available on our website for free download, which means your work is more accessible to readers and more easily shared. Most of our chapbooks average over 1,000 downloads over their lifetime. While we will promote your chapbook, you’ll also find an organic readership as our website is highly trafficked with over 1000 visitors per day.
Of course, we all hope you will choose to publish with Sundress. But what we want most of all is for your chapbook to find a place where it is loved and where you feel supported. We know that’s us, and hope you’ll feel that way, too.
Praise from Our Authors
As an author in the Sundress Publications family, I can truly say that the editors and staff handled my book as if it was their own—from nurturing it in the months of editing to ensuring that it gets the publicity it needs. The editors, especially Erin Elizabeth Smith, were masterful in how they guided my collection to print and onward, while also allowing it the freedom to expand and contract until it was a breathing, living thing. I couldn’t have imagined a more loving home for my debut collection Little Houses.”
-Athena Nassar, author of Little Houses
“I’m proud to say I love Sundress! A conscious, conscientious, and daring press. A brave publisher that welcomed my own risk and bravery for an out-of-the-box/hybrid manuscript and made a gorgeous book that I am deeply happy with. My thanks to them, always.”
-Margo Berdeshevsky, author of Kneel Said the Night