John Joseph Adams Books @ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Submission Guidelines

John Joseph Adams Books @ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is currently Closed to Submissions.

Read the Guidelines Before Submitting

John Joseph Adams Books is a science fiction and fantasy imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt dedicated to publishing best-selling and award-winning science fiction and fantasy from a diverse range of voices, both new and established—fiction that is literary and accessible, sometimes experimental, and always full of a sense of wonder. 

John Joseph Adams Books has acquired books by Veronica Roth, Hugh Howey, Carrie Vaughn, Greg Bear, and many others. Please visit to learn more about the imprint.

Instructions for submitting to John Joseph Adams Books follow. Please read everything on this page before submitting. All novels must be submitted through our Moksha submission system. Please do not email your submissions. 

John Joseph Adams Books is seeking original science fiction, fantasy, and horror novels. All types of science fiction, fantasy, and horror are welcome. No subject should be considered off-limits, and we encourage writers to take chances with their fiction and push the envelope. We do not accept simultaneous submissions or multiple submissions. (Note: This only applies to submissions to publishers; if you have novels currently out with agents, but you haven't signed with anyone yet, that's fine.) You may submit one novel during the open submission period. 

  • Who Can Submit: This submission period is for authors without agents who I (John Joseph Adams) have never published before (in short or long form). If I've already published you previously, you can just query me about a novel submission at any time, and you don't need to submit during this period. Though if you really WANT to submit it now through the portal, that's OK!

  • Agents: If you have an agent (or you ARE an agent), you shouldn't submit to this open call, as agents can submit at any time otherwise, and obviously you should let your agent do any submitting of your novel. (Agents can submit during this timeframe, it's just there's no need to use this portal or anything.) If you don't have an agent, and we decide to offer on your book, if you wish, you may query agents with your contract offer in hand so that you can secure representation before you agree to the terms and sign the contract. 

  • Submission Type: NOVELS ONLY. No collections, anthologies, graphic novels, or other kinds of books.

  • Quantity: You may submit ONE novel during the submission period.

  • File Formats: .mobi, .docx, or .rtf format (listed in order of preference).

    • SPECIAL: Note that the .doc format is disallowed (for technological convenience reasons re: my workflow).

  • Ms. Format: Standard manuscript format

    • SPECIAL: We prefer single-spaced manuscripts rather than double-spaced. 

    • SPECIAL: For technological convenience reasons, if you're submitting a .docx or .rtf file, I would ask that you please do not submit a manuscript that uses Tab characters for the indents. If you click the pilcrow button (¶) in Word (or other word processors), it displays the hidden characters. If you have Tabs for your indents, each paragraph will have an arrow indicating the presence of a Tab character. I've prepared a document that explains how to easily scrub tabs from your manuscript, and offers another (perhaps easier) solution. If you submit a .mobi file, it's safe to ignore this as .mobi files will not be effected.

  • Word Count: Any length, so long as the work is a complete single novel. It's OK if it's intended to be the first of a series or the like, but what we're looking to consider are complete single novels of any length.

  • Pay Rate: John Joseph Adams Books pays competetive advances on par with industry leaders, and all advances are negotiated on a case by case basis. 

  • Cover Letters: Your cover letter should contain the genre and length of your novel, a 100-300 word synopsis (don't stress about it; it doesn't need to be pretty), 100-150 words of "author bio," and any other information relevant to the authenticity of the narrative (e.g, if you send us a hard sf novel about black hole clusters and your doctoral dissertation was on black hole clusters, mention that, or it's set in a certain part of the world and you're from there, etc.).

    • SPECIAL: For this submission period, we would like you to include your cover letter in the Moksha submission form (as per usual) but also include it at the beginning of your manuscript. 

  • Questions/Problems: For any inquiries related to this submission period, or if you have any trouble using our online submission system, email Please do not email your submissions to this address. All submissions must be submitted via our Moksha online submissions system.

  • Rejections/Response Times: We cannot offer personalized feedback on each novel we consider, though we will reply to each submission. All responses will likely be sent out within 90 days, though we would appreciate everyone holding off on querying until at least 180 days have passed. (I'm not sure how many submissions to expect to come in, so it's hard to gauge this.) Please do not respond to rejection letters, even just to say “Thanks for the opportunity” etc. We appreciate the thought, but it is unnecessary and will just clutter up our editorial inbox.

  • Diversity Statement: We believe that the science fiction/fantasy genre’s diversity is its greatest strength, and we wish that viewpoint to be reflected in the novels we publish and in our submission queues; we welcome submissions from writers of every race, religion, nationality, gender, and sexual orientation.

  • Translations: We welcome the submission of translations of novels from other languages (assuming you have a contractual arrangement with the original author). Novels that have never before been published in the English language would be considered “unpublished.”

  • Erotica: Sexual themes and stories with strong sexual content are acceptable, but we do not publish erotica. If in doubt, feel free to send your story in and let me decide.

  • Media Fiction or FanFic: We cannot consider media-based fiction (i.e., stories set in the Star Wars or Star Trek universes, etc.), or any kind of fan fiction. (Note: We don’t have a problem with people reading or writing fan fiction or media-based fiction, we’re just not legally allowed to consider publishing it.)

  • Unsure: If you’re not sure if your novel is suitable, don’t query; please just go ahead and submit it and let me decide.