Fine Books & Collections covers a broad range of topics and subjects of interest to book collectors, dealers, librarians, curators, and bibliophiles, from early manuscripts to modern first editions and everything in between. The core of each article is an engaging narrative. We’ve published Nicholas Basbanes, Paul Collins, Anne Trubek, and many other leading literary journalists. Fine Books & Collections has two main forums—its quarterly print edition and its free monthly e-letter for collectors. Both publish original content, and both are open to freelancers.
- FB&C’s content is distinguished by excellent reporting, solid research, a captivating point of view, or all three. We are 90% freelance written and welcome proposals from writers and also assign topics to writers. Our stories use the book as a starting place for telling a bigger story. Lists of facts, the minutiae of first edition identification, and author bibliographies are typically addressed in sidebars when necessary. The best way to see the range of topics we cover is to look at the tables of contents for past issues.
- We are usually planning editorial about 4-6 months ahead of publication date.
- Features generally run 900 to 2000 words, and we buy approximately 24 of them per year—some for the print edition, some for the online edition, some to appear in both places.
- The digest (front of book) section contains shorter, newsier pieces of 500-700 words exclusive to the print quarterly, so timeliness is important. Digest is divided into four categories—book, art, object, and exhibit—therefore, queries must fall into one of these specific categories. Book focuses on a particular book, newly published or suddenly collectible, etc.; Art focuses on non-book works on paper, illustration, and/or drawings; Object focuses on ‘other’ collectibles & antiques, such as furniture, pens, coins, etc.; Exhibit focuses on a new or recently opened library or museum exhibit of major interest.
- We encourage contributors to consult with experts who can shed light on the subject, or perhaps express an opposing view. Most articles in FB&C include interviews with subject matter experts or quotes from letters or books. We do not often publish stories that are just the author’s opinion/experience. We generally avoid first-person narratives, but they are not unheard of, as in this example from July 2010 and Rosecrans Baldwin’s essay on a Pulitzer Prize–winning ancestor.
- We prefer email queries summarizing your article idea. Be sure to include samples/links to samples of your writing, whether published or unpublished. Send queries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Written submissions are also accepted if mailed to Fine Books & Collections, ATTN: Writing Submission, 101 Europa Drive, Suite 150, Chapel Hill, NC 27517. DO NOT MAIL ORIGINALS. We cannot be responsible for lost submissions and only return materials accompanied by a SASE.
What We Like
- Good journalism on most any topic related to collectible books. Past examples have included the destruction of the Helen Keller archive on 9/11; inside a Chinese rare book auction; a look at the Hinman collator and how it made modern Shakespeare scholarship possible. Some articles with a broad literary appeal—such as this one on Jack Kerouac’s forged will—can also work well under the right circumstances.
- Profiles of exceptional people in the rare book business, such as this one on David Karpeles.
- Travel for book lovers. We don’t want stories about specific bookstores. We want to know the places book collectors might not know to go—for example, books in museums, printing presses that give tours, library special collections departments that let visitors examine treasures, sites of significant literary events. See where we’ve already covered before querying.
What We Don’t Publish
- Bibliographies, How-to-collect articles, Genre overviews, Poems
- In general, FB&C retains all rights, and this will be spelled out in your contract. If your article was not written exclusively for FB&C or you have submitted it for consideration in other publications or it has already been published elsewhere, please provide this information along with your inquiry.
- Rates are negotiable, based on experience with subject matter and quality of research.
- FB&C generally pays writers within 30 days of completion. No expenses will be paid without prior approval.
A Final Word About the Editing Process
- We like best writers who require minimal editing but also those professional enough to accept constructive criticism.