Manuscript Guidelines

John F. Blair publishes five to 10 new books each year. We specialize in regional nonfiction with an emphasis on history, travel, cookbooks, folklore, and biography. We publish only one or two works of fiction each year. Fiction submitted to us should have some connection to the Southeast. We do not publish children’s books, poetry, collections of essays or newspaper columns, or category fiction such as romances, science fiction, or spy thrillers. To gain an understanding of our line, please review our title list, noting which books are Blair’s and which are published by our distributed lines.

When submitting a proposal, please note that it may take up to two months for the staff to respond. Works of moderate length—50,000 to 100,000 words—always stand a better chance than short works or works of great length.

Nonfiction proposals should include a cover letter, an outline or introduction, up to 30 pages of text (preferably the opening portion), a brief market analysis, and a biography of the writer, including publishing credits and credentials in the field.

Fiction proposals should include a cover letter, a synopsis, the first two chapters (or first 30 pages), and a biography of the writer, including credits and credentials.

We accept both e-mail and snail-mail submissions.

  • E-mail submissions should be sent to Please type either “Nonfiction submission” or “Fiction submission (plus title)” in the subject line. Please place a thorough book synopsis into the body of the email and add any supplemental material—including manuscripts, sample chapters, and photos (where applicable)—as attachments.
  • Snail-mail submissions should be addressed to Acquisitions Committee, John F. Blair, Publisher, 1406 Plaza Drive, Winston-Salem, NC 27103. Manuscript samples should be typed and double-spaced. Please do not send original artwork; photocopies will suffice. Be sure to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope if you want a response or if you want your material returned. Packages over 13 ounces will not be returned even if they have postage, since they require a special trip to the post office.

We are always eager to find writers who meet our editorial requirements. Thank you for your interest in us.


Publishers Weekly described John F. Blair’s line as “Southern books with an occasional oddity.” Indeed, we have widely varied interests pertaining to a specific geographical area—the American South, and the Carolinas in particular. This page may help you decide if your manuscript is appropriate for our publishing program.

A brief sampling of our wares:

  • A novel following three women on separate paths to the same place—what was once a Cherokee-owned slave plantation—where forgotten history and some mystery wait
  • A guide to coastal restaurants that keep locals and tourists hungry for more 
  • The second cookbook from a chef made famous by the very cuisine she was originally reluctant to claim as her own
  • Debut fiction following a community of barflies in a small town at the dawn of the 1990s, seen through the eyes of a young bartender with a taste for cold beer, bad boys, and philosophy. 
  • A memoir by a debutante, Civil Rights activist, and wife to the first black mayor of New Orleans, that shines a light on the experiences of middle-class black Americans in the Jim Crow South.

The majority of our titles are nonfiction books for general audiences. We do not publish poetry, drama, collections of columns or news articles, children’s books, or most category fiction. Each year, we publish one or two works of fiction.

Our areas of interest include the following, all with a Southeastern focus:

  • African-American history and culture
  • American history
  • Appalachian history and culture
  • Biographies
  • Civil War history
  • Coastal Carolina history and culture 
  • Cookbooks
  • Folklore
  • Mysteries
  • Native American history and culture
  • North Caroliniana
  • Outdoors
  • Sports
  • Travel
  • Women’s issues

For more information about our recent publications and areas of interest, please consult our catalog and listings of books by subject.