What We Want

Actual Left is a publisher of novels, novellas, memoirs, and biographies that deal with social justice issues. Until recently, Actual Left (under our former name, Xi Draconis Books) was one of the very few presses that dealt specifically with social justice issues, and we think that small publishing still needs a stance like ours, especially as times become more and more troubling.

Novels and Novellas

We tend to prefer works that tell good stories and have solid voices. We’re less interested in experimental works. Beautiful prose and stylistic innovation are fine, but if you’re story doesn’t go anywhere, we’ll probably find it boring and / or incomprehensible. Check out the Masthead page for a list of writers beloved by our editor-in-chief.

Please send us novellas between 20,000 and 40,000 words. Send us novels of at least 40,000 words.

We do not publish short story collections.

Memoirs and Biographies

While we no longer publish essay collections (due to distributor requirements), we really love the old school nonfiction of Orwell, James Baldwin, Montaigne, and Charles Lamb, which addresses weighty themes while maintaining stylistic transparency. We also like Rebecca Solnit, Natalie Kusz, Atul Gawande, Harriet Ann Jacobs, and John McPhee, among others. These authors typically write clear-headed, thought-provoking nonfiction, which we like a great deal. If you’ve got a memoir that strives to these heights, send it our way.

We’re also interested in biographies of important but little-known figures on the left. There’s probably no reason to write an all-inclusive biography of, say, Noam Chomsky or Che Guevara, since they’ve got plenty of words and pages devoted to them already, but we’d love to read about a leftist hero we’ve never heard of before and whose story needs to be told.  

Please send us memoirs and biographies of no less than 40,000 words.

We do not publish essay collections.

Before You Submit

Review our catalog of books. Read a chapter or two of one of them, or maybe the whole thing. This is probably the best way to know whether your work is a good fit for us. If you read a chapter and think to yourself, “This book isn’t for me,” then we may not be the best press to represent you.

How We Want It


A query letter as a Word or PDF attachment with an enticing blurb that explains how your submission deals with social justice issues, an explanation of how you heard about us, and a brief bio containing previous publishing credits, if you have any. (If you don’t, no worries.) Please don’t forget to tell us very directly in your query letter how your book explores social justice. Without this information, we’ll have to reject your submission.

The full manuscript of your submission as a Word or PDF attachment.

Please submit your previously unpublished work through Duosuma.

Submit through Duosuma

When We Want It

As of now, we are open for submissions year-round. We’re currently looking for books to publish for 2023.

Give us eight weeks to respond. If we haven’t contacted you by then, send us a message through our Contact page.

What To Expect If We Accept Your Submission

If we want to publish your submission, we will send you an email within eight weeks. We will then send a contract for you to sign. It will look something like this.

Authors we publish receive ten free copies of their work and a 50/50 split on royalties. Our books are distributed through Kindle Direct Publishing and advertised through our social media channels.