Every March, the Virginia Festival of the Book presents five days of in-person programming featuring hundreds of speakers discussing their new books, in addition to year-round virtual events in our Shelf Life series.
We select speakers through active recruitment as well as open submissions, June 1 through October 1 annually. During this time, we invite submissions of new, published books of fiction (including genre fiction), nonfiction, poetry, cookbooks, and books for young readers.
Books may be submitted by authors, illustrators, publicists, or other publishing professionals with permission. We encourage submissions by individuals from diverse backgrounds, including race and ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, class, and/or abilities.
Submissions for the 2020-2021 season of Shelf Life virtual events as well as the 2021 Festival will remain open June 1 through October 1, 2020, at midnight.
Submission Deadline: October 1. Only online submissions are accepted.
Submission Guidelines – Please Read Carefully
All submissions must include a completed online submission form and two copies of the book or advanced reader’s copy (ARC) in order to be considered.
October 1, for consideration for the 2021 Festival as well as for year-round virtual events
Agents and Representatives
Agents and author representatives are encouraged to submit if they have the authors’ consent. Please let the authors know that their names have been submitted for consideration.
Preference is given to books released either in hardback or paperback in 2020 and up to March 2021. Books must be available for sale by March 16, 2021, in order to be considered for the 2021 Festival. Books published only as e-books will not be considered.
Book or ARC submissions
A submission will not be considered unless we have received two copies of the book or advanced reader’s copy (ARC), or digital ARCs or galleys, by the October 1 deadline. If ARCs will not be available until after the October 1 deadline, you MUST note that in the Comments box and let us know when it will be available. If you prefer to submit digital ARCs, please include access details in the Comments field of your submission. Books only published as e-books will not be considered. We cannot return books. Submissions not accepted for inclusion in the Festival will be donated to the local library.
If you wish to submit more than one title for an author, please provide details about the second title in the comments field. Please do not submit multiple forms for the same author, even if the books are in different genres and published by different publishers. Provide the necessary details in comments.
If both authors wish to participate, please submit a form for each author, including separate bios and photos.
Please submit the title of the newest book in a series as of March 2021.
The Festival arranges ALL book sales, working with local bookstores and booksellers; they arrange ordering books. (Upon occasion, authors will need to provide their own books, and we will notify individual authors when that is necessary.) For virtual events, the Festival encourages attendees to purchase books but does not manage sales.
Authors with self-published books may submit work if 1) the book has a professional editor; and, 2) the book is available to booksellers with standard discount terms and returnable.
Most in-person Festival programs offer panels with two to three speakers and a moderator. Virtual events are typically one speaker and one moderator. Festival organizers select the speakers and moderators, and organize all related logistics. Book sales and signings immediately follow most in-person programs and are held in the same venue.
Please note that we discourage the use of audio or video components in Festival programs, which tend to be multi-person panel discussions. For books that are not inherently visual, our hope is that speakers will engage in more meaningful and in-depth exchanges without the distraction of A/V. However, if you feel that A/V is critical to your work, you must email firstname.lastname@example.org a request with details about 1) your specific technical needs and 2) what A/V will contribute to your program.
Publicity and promotion
Participants and their books are promoted widely through the Festival website and printed materials; in regional and national media; and in blogs, podcasts, social media, and networking sites. The Festival will provide participants with a promotional toolkit, including press release, Festival fact sheet, and logos.
Previous years’ applications
Previous participants must reapply each year. In order to encourage diversity of Festival offerings, preference is given to authors who did not participate in the prior year’s Festival. It is Festival policy to not repeat a book that has already been featured in the Festival.
Travel and fees
Unless otherwise discussed in advance, speakers must commit to assuming the costs of their Festival participation if they are invited to take part, including travel and lodging. If you are unable to commit to covering these costs and would like to be considered for virtual events only, please designate that in your submission. There is no submission fee to apply to the Festival.
Application notifications will be provided by January 15, 2021 for in-person programming. Virtual-only submissions will be notified on a rolling basis, if accepted.
You may wish to gather the following information in advance for online submission:
- Speaker and publicist’s contact informationTitle of speaker’s latest book
- Hi-res photo of speaker
- Forty-word bio of speaker
- Speaker’s website
- Speaker’s social media handles, including Twitter, Instagram, and/or Facebook
- Information about the speaker’s interest in virtual events and/or in-person events
- Information about the speaker’s interest in and fees for school presentations
Please contact Festival staff at email@example.com.