First Reader Position

Because WTAW Press receives a large volume of submissions, a committed corps of volunteer readers is essential to helping the editor select manuscripts. First readers have the the responsibility of reading material submitted to the publishing house and giving feedback as to the merit and potential of the given submission. Why read for a literary publisher? See below.*

A love of literature is a must, a background or education in English or Creative Writing is helpful. Writers who are serious about their own craft are good candidates, as are those who are interested in learning what goes into publishing a strong catalogue of books. Reliability and a commitment to reading for the entire submission period is essential.

Specific responsibilities of the role include:

  • Providing concise responses to approximately ten-twelve submitted manuscripts per week online, according to a specific, provided framework.

  • Meeting weekly reading deadline, and clearly communicating with editorial staff when scheduling conflicts arise.

  • Familiarity with the evolving WTAW Press catalogue, with an eye toward the shape of contemporary literature.

The ideal applicant is:

  • An avid and attentive reader

  • Self-motivated and able to meet deadlines

  • Able to express  themselves clearly in writing

Educational and/or professional experience in literary criticism and creative writing is a plus, but not required.

This is a volunteer position that requires a commitment of approximately six hours per week. Readers will work remotely and on their own schedules (as long as they meet the weekly deadline).

To apply please email a brief cover letter, detailing your experience and your reasons for wanting the position. Feel free to provide online links to any publications you may have of your own criticism and/or creative writing. Email wtawpress [at] gmail [dot] com with "First Reader Application" in the subject line by March 31, 2020.

*Why Read for a Literary Publisher?

The behind-the-scenes vantage point is a great learning opportunity. It’s eye-opening to see the variety and quantity of submissions. If you're a writer, reading these submissions can improve your understanding of how a publisher might read your own manuscripts. Reading what is not selected for publication will teach you a great deal about what is published. The more readily you learn to discriminate among the range of quality and publishability, the more you’ll understand what to do—and what not to do—in your own writing. You’ll come to to understand where authors miss the mark and what common missteps to avoid.

You’ll discover what makes a manuscript stand out in terms of insight and intelligence, tone and style, voice, intriguing characters, skillful use of language, and forward momentum—the reason for a reader to continue. And whether or not you're a writer, there’s a great deal to be gained from figuring out what personally makes your heart sing when differentiating among the very good to brilliant manuscripts.



  • Facebook - Black Circle
  • Twitter - Black Circle
  • YouTube - Black Circle
  • Instagram Social Icon