Pelican Publishing Guidelines for Authors

What Pelican Publishes


We publish an average of 30 new titles a year, related to identifiable regions around the United States (especially the South). Specialties include:

Popular History | Biography | Culture (Food & Drink) | Cookbooks | Architecture | Children’s Books

We believe that ideas have consequences. One of the consequences is that they lead to best-selling books.

We ask that you study Pelican’s books and lists. Our latest catalog is posted on, and a look through it will help you understand where our interests lie. We will consider almost any well-written work by an author who understands promotion. We do not accept national topics, adult fiction, poetry, reference, or periodicals.


What Pelican Considers


Adult Nonfiction

Young Adult Fiction & Nonfiction

Juvenile Middle Readers

Juvenile Picture Books

Genres: Specialties above plus humor, music, sports Minimum word count: 40,000 (maximum: 100,000)



Genres: Regional history, biography, adventure Minimum word count: 25,000 Genres: Regional history, biography, cooking, adventure Maximum word count: 25,000 Genres: Holiday, regional history, biography, adventure Maximum word count: 1,100 plus author’s note to children


See below for audience and format-specific submission guidelines.




Adult, Young Adult, and Middle Reader Submissions

With subject line “TITLE—Submission for Publication,” email a message containing the following (no attachments):

  • Query letter (for details, see below)
  • Author publication credits (ISBN/link to Amazon), sales history (life to date and first 12 months), and translation/subsidiary rights sales if any
  • Author platform, including social media links
  • Synopsis (max 250 words)
  • Table of contents, if applicable
  • First chapter
  • Research references if nonfiction


Juvenile Picture Book Submissions

With Subject Line “TITLE—Submission for Publication,” email a message containing the following (no attachments): Query letter (for details, see below) Author publication credits (ISBN/link to Amazon) and sales history (life to date and first 12 months) Author platform, including social media links Full manuscript Research references if nonfiction Accompanying artwork may be attached to email Please note that these books are 32 illustrated pages when published, with a maximum Flesch-Kincaid reading level of second grade (2.0). QUERY LETTER CHECKLIST The query letter should discuss the following.

  1. One-sentence description of your book, followed by a description of subjects covered
  2. Anticipated length (in words) and number of black and white and/or color images if any
  3. Intended audience and what you would personally do to reach (promotional ideas and contacts)
  4. Three competing titles, with links to Amazon, and how your title differs from the competition
  5. Anticipated timeline to complete text


  • We do not require that writers contacting us have a literary agent representing them.
  • We will consider only one work at a time by the same author.
  • We look for a concise synopsis/outline and a topic with a clear sales hook and audience. The author should present a strong case as to why we should take on the book and who would buy it.
  • If an author seeking to publish an illustrated work plans to use artwork copyrighted by an author, illustrator, publication, or syndicate, permission must be obtained in writing from that source. Permission in writing must also be obtained by any author seeking to use quotes or other materials from previously copyrighted publications.
  • Authors seeking to have previously published books reprinted must have, in writing from their previous publisher, a signed letter reverting publishing rights to them.
  • Should Pelican accept the book for publication, the author(s) will be asked to sign a contract.

PAYMENT POLICY Pelican pays its authors a royalty based on sales. All terms are specified in our contract. No book will be published by Pelican without a contract signed beforehand. All guidelines listed above are subject to revision at any time by Pelican Publishing and its editorial board. We look forward to seeing your proposal!