Press Spotlight: BatCat Press

Olivia Smith // Blog Writer

Finding places to submit your work can be one of the hardest parts of writing. With hundreds of different presses, journals, and literary magazines, the choices are overwhelming. Sure, there are plenty of catalogs – DuoTrope, The Review Review Classifieds, and New Pages, to name a few – that help narrow down the options. But even with those resources, figuring out what is a good fit for your writing can be exhausting. In this miniseries, I’m going to be finding and showcasing all the best presses so you don’t have to.

What is BatCat Press?

BatCat is known for two things: the look of their publications, and the staff. Each spring they publish one to three books, usually in runs of about 100 copies. These are in limited runs because each one is bound by hand by the small staff, which is usually about ten or so people. Though they have published upwards of 20 books since 2009, each one has a completely unique design.

Their designs often take a modern spin on traditional techniques, such as letterpressing, block carving, water marbling, and paste painting. Each book they have produced is a work of art in its own right.

Canyons by Jessica Poli and Ghost Woodpecker by Dustin Nightingale

Then, of course, there’s the staff. BatCat Press is the only high school student book press in the nation. That means that it is offered as a class for students in grades 10-12 on an application basis. Usually, the staff is run by 10 students, managing editor and teacher Deanna Baringer, and a post-graduate intern. Since students inevitably graduate out of BatCat each year, the makeup of the staff is constantly changing, creating new ideas, interests, skills, and perspectives.

How to Submit

BatCat accepts submissions of all kinds, whether it is poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or a form that defies labels. Though their submission guidelines are fairly broad, they generally publish works that are between 25-75 pages. While they have done longer works such as Parakeet, a choose-your-own-adventure poetry collection, and shorter works, such as a collection of broadsides by Christine Desimone, they tend to gravitate toward chapbook-length pieces.

OX, by Ryan Ridge, is a short collection entirely comprised of variations of OX

When considering length, remember that they will have to construct the books by hand. Nobody wants to sew 100 copies of a 200 page book, nor would a solo poem be able to convey a cool design.

Even though BatCat is run by high school students, the authors are not; they have published writers of all ages. They don’t care if you have a long list of publishing credits or if you have a huge online presence. What they do care about, however, is quality, quality, quality.

The most important rule is that you write content that would be appropriate for high school discussion. This just means that there can’t be an excess in swearing or R-rated material, such as graphic sex, depictions of self-harm, et cetera. Know that if your book does contain something of this nature, you may be asked to remove it in order to be published.

The BatCat Submittable page is open year-long, though the reading period is September-December. If you post in winter or spring, you will likely not hear back until the next fall. However, if you wait to submit until December, there is also a chance that your submission won’t be screened in time to make it into that year’s discussion. Submit in the summer months (June-August) to ensure the shortest waiting time.

How to Support BatCat

A Haiku Pin Set

BatCat Press has an online store with all of their available books. Remember: while they may have reprints of publications, they will be converted to a soft cover format, so they will be in a different form than the original.

They also sell a plethora of other handmade goods, such as zines, Haiku Pins, literary quote posters, postcards, and blank handbound journals.

If you can’t buy anything, that’s okay! You can also support them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. On their website, they also have a blog with Meet the Staff profiles and Press updates.


Check out my next Press Spotlight for another awesome submission opportunity!

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