Big Sea Books

Type Of Organization
(804) 382-3066
Mission Statement / Editorial Focus
Big Sea Books is dedicated to including writers who aren’t normally given a seat at the table in mainstream publishing. We seek writers from communities and cultures all across America who bring their unique voices to readers and the world of literature. We are seeking fiction, including novels in verse, written for adult and young adult audiences as well as memoir, narrative nonfiction, and narratives in verse, stories that, as Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop said, create mirrors, windows and sliding glass doors so that people can see their experiences reflected and gain views into experiences beyond their own. During our 2022 call for submissions, we are not accepting poetry collections, middle grade fiction and nonfiction, or books for children. Our 2023 children’s list is full. If you'd like to be notified about future calls for submissions, sign up here: *** Big Sea co-founder Kwame Alexander is the founder of VERSIFY, an imprint at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The imprint’s books have received the highest literary awards in their field. Their list is full of innovative creators with fresh and varied voices and reflects Kwame’s vision that accessible and powerful prose and poetry—in picture books, novels, and nonfiction—can celebrate the lives and reflect the possibilities of all children. Versify publishes books that explore the beauty, hurdles, and hopefulness of life … books that will engage, entertain, and empower young people to imagine and create a better world. VERSIFY centers authors and books that don’t normally get front list attention—or any attention—at major publishers, including: —The Last Last-Day-of-Summer by Lamar Giles, a sci-fi fantasy adventure featuring two Black boys who accidentally extend the last day of summer by freezing time and find the secrets hidden between the unmoving seconds, minutes, and hours are not the endless fun they expected —Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market by Raúl the Third, a bilingual Richard Scarry set in a mercato at the border —Undefeated by Kwame Alexander & Kadir Nelson, a story of the ones who survived America and the ones who didn’t — White Rose by Kip Wilson, a story of student activists during the Nazi regime who risked their lives to get information out about what the Nazis were doing Kwame’s tenure at Versify ended in 2020, and he began his next chapter in publishing. Big Sea Books shares the guiding mission behind Versify. Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry are co-founders of The Book Doctors, a company dedicated to helping authors get successfully published. They also co-created an event called Pitchapalooza where writers get one minute to pitch their book ideas to a panel of experts. The winner receives an introduction to an agent or editor who is right for the book. Dozens of winners are now successfully published–even award-winning–authors. This is a mission-driven event aimed to bring different voices to publishing. The event has been held everywhere from rural Alaska to South Dakota to Mississippi. Between them, founders Kwame Alexander, Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry have almost ten decades in mainstream publishing. After that 100 combined years, they have decided the best way for their mission to become a reality is to not have an imprint in a major publishing house or usher writers to editors at big publishers. During a time of mass conglomeration in the media business, Big Sea Books is about staying independent, championing independent writers and artists, and building on the success of small presses throughout history that did the unique, out-of-the-box thinking that is less likely--and often impossible--in larger companies. Kwame, Arielle and David have an inside look at the hiring practices that have made the publishing industry 76% White, 74% cisgender women, 81% straight, and 89% non-disabled (source: 2019 DIVERSITY BASELINE SURVEY RESULTS from Lee and Low Books, Dr. Laura M. Jiménez and Betsy Beckert). Creating Big Sea Books means they are not limited by the publishing industry standard practices that have historically had a problem including a multitude of voices and backgrounds. Big Sea Books welcomes authors and publishing professionals who have traditionally been denied a seat at the table.

Is Your Group Affiliated With A University, Portal Or Other Agency?
Primary Editor/Contact Person
Arielle Eckstut (publisher) / Kristi Tuck Austin (contact)
Contact Title
Submissions coordinator
Contact Email
Accepts Unsolicited Submissions
Simultaneous Submissions Accepted
Reading Period
Year round
Reporting Time
Year Founded
2022 will launch open submissions; work began during 2020
Number Of Books Published Per Year
Number Of Issues Per Year
Back Issues Available
Unsolicited Manuscripts Accepted
Publish Print Anthology?