March Release Update (Covers! Spoon Knife Rates!)

Hi everyone, Michael here. As most of you know, I’m the coordinating editor for NeuroQueer Books, which means I manage the calendar and help shepherd our releases through production, making sure we have the art and other resources we need when it comes time to publish. Today, I’m happy to announce that two out of our three March books have their art in place already, so I’m going to show them off for you.

Cover art for Imaginary Friends by Michael Scott Monje JrFirst off, we have my next novel, Imaginary Friends. For those of you unfamiliar with the premise, the book follows autistic protagonist Clay Dillon as he begins the second grade and navigates the complex family dynamics that come with both religious education and the coming of a new sibling. Along the way, Clay’s powerful imagination brings his lessons to life. Sometimes this brings him a new understanding that allows him uncommon insight into the people around him. At other times, it produces such overwhelming thoughts that he is unable to do more than cope with the output of his brain as it wrestles withe multiple immediate perceptions.

For the cover, the artist (Chris Henry) chose to craft Van’s helmet. Van is one of Clay’s most immediate imaginary creations, and he played a big role in both this book and my first novel, Nothing is Right. In the background, we can see the skyline of Clay’s LEGO fortress in silhouette, so it doesn’t give up its details. To learn more about the story, feel free to start reading the rough draft as it finishes up on my blog. The chapters will stay up for about a month after the serial concludes, and then the fully edited final cut will be ready for you in March.


March also brings us our first NQ Books collection, The Spoon Knife Anthology. I’m editing this one with N.I. Nicholson of Barking Sycamores, the literary journal for the discussion of neurodivergent literature and craft. Our third release for the NQ Books launch will actually be a Barking Sycamores collection that will bring together many of the writings from the first four issues. That book is set to be a fundraiser for the journal, and we hope it allows us to build a long and fruitful relationship with the outlet while helping the editors gain the funding they need to develop the publication further.

The Spoon Knife Anthology is no fundraiser, though. Instead, it is our first literary collection, and the first paying collection under our anthology funding program. As we’ve explained elsewhere, this program works by paying writers a work-for-hire Spoon Knife Anthology Coverrate for their work in collections and then setting aside the 15% that would normally be paid in royalties, putting it into a special fund. That fund then becomes the pool of resources for future books, ensuring that each passing anthology helps to make the next one bigger, better, and better paying for our writers.

Our first volume will pay out at 1 cent per word, with a guarantee of a $5.00 minimum for each accepted piece. This was the highest rate allowed by our funding from Typed Words, Loud Voices, and it is a method of payment that makes it easier for us to control the book’s length and guarantee both quality and diversity in the selections.

To the right, you’ll see the art for The Spoon Knife Anthology. While the cover was put together by Chris Henry, the cover artwork was sourced from Selene Depakh, a neurodivergent artist with a longstanding reputation of community involvement and beautiful concepts in stunning execution. The piece we chose to license for the anthology is one in a series of PTSD-inspired creations, and its contorted, cyborged, and blended approach to the concept of mechanizing the self really resonated with both N.I. and myself. We’re happy to be working with Selene and with the rest of the people who are contributing to the anthology, and we will have a roster of contributors ready within a couple of weeks. Thank you! – Michael

Coming in Late November: The Real Experts (UPDATED)

Real Experts cover“Full of practical advice and transcendent ‘Aha!’ moments, The Real Experts offers young autistic people and their families the kind of wise mentorship from tribal elders that was unavailable in previous generations. It’s a landmark book.” – Steve Silberman, NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity

How do I help my child to thrive? To be healthy and happy, to fulfill his or her positive potentials, and to grow up to lead a good life? Every parent of an autistic child struggles daily with this question. Just trying to understand an autistic child’s actions, feelings, and needs can seem like an overwhelming challenge. It doesn’t help that professional “experts” and the mass media bombard us with all sorts of harmful and terrifying misinformation about autism.

Fortunately, more and more parents are discovering an essential source of insight into autism: the writings of autistic adults. Who better to help us understand autistic children and their needs, than the people who have actually been autistic children?
Listening to the insights and experiences shared by autistic bloggers has helped Michelle Sutton to help her two autistic children to thrive. In The Real Experts , Michelle has collected writings from a dozen autistic authors, containing “insider” wisdom on autism that has been invaluable to her family. The result is an extraordinary resource for families with autistic children, and also for educators, therapists, and other professionals.

“This book is a gift to parents who want to get the real scoop from the real experts on autism — autistic people themselves. Michelle Sutton has gathered excellent first-person accounts of what it’s like to grow up, live, and thrive as an autistic person. More than anything, autistic people and their families need to see and hear autistic role models who can help them understand, support, and celebrate their unique autistic loved ones. The Real Experts is a wonderful contribution to the autism community, and to us all.” – Karla McLaren, M.Ed., The Art of Empathy and The Language of Emotions

“Wow. What a breath of fresh air. I read this book with unfolding delight… Finally, people on the spectrum are being heard, and it is a phenomenon that gathers momentum as parents and others realize they can learn from what is being said.” – Dawn Prince-Hughes, Songs of the Gorilla Nation: My Journey Through Autism

The Real Experts: Readings for Parents of Autistic Children features essays by:

And with special author introductions and an editorial essay by Michelle Sutton.

UPDATE: The Real Experts is available for pre-order on the AutPress Direct store and copies will ship when we receive our initial inventory shipment. It will also be available elsewhere on Nov. 24. Review copy requests should be sent to

Coming in March: NeuroQueer Books

Hi everyone, Michael here. You might have seen my job title with the press is listed as being with NeuroQueer Books, and not with Autonomous Press. A few people have asked about it, and it’s time to set a few things straight and clarify how our press works. Autonomous Press is the name of the company, but it’s also the name of one imprint. Sort of like how Marvel Comics has the MCU, and it has its own mission and tone and target audience. Now, we’re also planning on rolling out a few more imprints, and each one will have a different focus and audience. Again, this is like how Marvel Comics has Marvel Max and the Ultimates universe. Each of them is a little different, but their titles all fit together.

This March, the first of our new imprints will be coming. It’s called NeuroQueer Books, and the focus is going to be, as our AutPress website says, “queer issues, queering, sexuality, gender, or critical response to other aspects of identity (such as race, class, disability) as they interact with neurodivergence and psychological development,” but that is a little unclear to anyone in the creative writing community who doesn’t do a lot of theory, and the fact that we are a literary imprint that deals mostly in poetry and fiction can be a little bit new for people who are used to working in theory. So, since we are actively looking at submissions now, I wanted to establish some clearer guidelines for NQ Books, and also to share a few programs with you. Let’s start at the top, with book proposals.

NQ Books Book Submissions

NeuroQueer Books is looking for book-length (50,000+ words) collections of poetry, prose fiction/nonfiction, novels, memoir, graphic novels, photo essay books, and creative-critical scholarly work. Submissions may be multi-genre. Writers need not claim a disabled identity to submit, but they should be writing from the intersection of neurodiversity and queerness, and the work should deal heavily in some kind of exploration of identity. The prompt is broad to be inclusive, so do not be afraid to query with questions. You can contact me through the NQ Books Facebook Page.

NeuroQueer Horizons

Writers are also invited to send shorter collections, novellas, and other work for consideration in the monthly NeuroQueer Horizons series. We are still looking for writers coming from within a neuroqueer identity, and we will consider the same mix of presentation formats that we do for full-length books. NQ Horizons does have a theme, though, and only submissions that fit the theme will be considered.

NQ Horizons Call: NeuroQueer Horizons is a series of ebooks that run between 10,000 and 30,000 words, with some leeway for quality material. We are looking for work in any genre, but prefer poetry and fiction in the science fiction, fantasy, and steampunk genres. The prompt is “What is intelligence? What does it mean to communicate?”

Submissions will not be open for this series until June 2016. NQ Horizons submissions that are made up entirely of work that was previously featured in AutPress anthologies and/or Barking Sycamores will be automatically accepted into the release queue. If a single writer with at least 3 NeuroQueer Horizons releases wants to re-release them as a combined paperback, that proposal will also be automatically accepted.

Spoon Knife Anthology

In addition to being featured with your own release, you can also submit to the annual Spoon Knife Anthology. We are currently working through the first year’s submissions, but we will have a new editor for volume 2 and a new prompt, and that will come out some time in May. For year one, Spoon Knife focused on works invoking compliance, defiance, resistance, and consent.

For those of you waiting on submission acceptance, we are pleased to announce that we have settled on an honorarium, and we will be announcing that payment in a few days, when we unveil the first volume’s cover design.

We’re also planning a few other projects that might have submission opportunities, but these three programs give us a way to provide writers with a paid, feedback-oriented path from a single poem or short story to an eventual paperback collection with little pressure, a flexible pace, and a consistent audience that allows them to develop rapport. We also strongly suggest sending work to Barking Sycamores between anthologies, and submitting revisions there if you receive a rejection with feedback. If it is accepted, then it has a second chance with us in one of your NQ Horizons collections.

NQ Books – Year One

We do have a few empty spots in our calendar, but here’s what the first year of NeuroQueer Books looks like for now. We are considering another book or two that is in the process of acceptance and finalization, and we can consider new books for August until January, and we can consider new books for December until the end of March. Please send us a query or a full manuscript if you have work ready.

March :

  • Imaginary Friends, a novel by Michael Scott Monje Jr.
  • The Spoon Knife Anthology, poetry & narrative, N.I. Nicholson & Michael Scott Monje, Jr. (eds.)
  • Barking Sycamores: Year One, featuring poetry, essays, fiction, and art from the first four issues, N.I. Nicholson (ed.).


  • Teaching Languagings | To: Nonverbal Thinkers — The US Book, a poetic aesthetic by Michael Scott Monje, Jr., with a foreword by Andrew Dell’Antonio and an afterword by Dani Alexis Ryskamp.


  • Mirror Project, a science fiction novel by Michael Scott Monje, Jr. (2nd edition re-release)


  • NeuroQueer Horizons 1: A Waking Narrative by Michael Scott Monje, Jr.

Oops. Sorry Daniel McConnell

We worked hard to get our first three books to you. We double and triple checked everything and still we made a mistake.
In Typed Words, Loud Voices we correctly listed Daniel McConnell as the author of the article “Autism and Neurodiversity Panel.” But when we created the first page of the article, we said that someone else wrote his article.

We are very sorry for this error. And we thank Charlene Brandi for letting us know of our mistake.

Here is what we are doing to remedy this.

1. We changed the e-books right away. If you have the Typed Words e-book and would like us to send you the correct e-book, please email us at and we will send it to you.

2. We have changed our master copy with the printers. So all books printed going forward will have Daniel’s name with his article.

3. In each of the Typed Words, Loud Voices that we sell that are not corrected, we are inserting a note on that page listing the correct information.

We are very sorry for our mistake. We thank Daniel for his graciousness.

If anyone else finds any mistakes, please let us know and we will work hard to fix them. Just email us at

ORDER UP! (Get your books early.)

Photo of all 3 of our titles displayed against cartons full of inventory

Get ’em while they’re fresh. Autonomous Press books are here early.

Since Amazon went ahead and started selling our books before their release date, we decided to get onboard with the same idea. At the Autonomous Press store, you can get all our titles with great deals on shipping and fully accessible DRM-free ebooks. Our direct store is the only place where you will receive an archival ebook with every paperback purchase, and all of our electronic texts are distributed simultaneously in three formats–.mobi, .epub, and .pdf. Please allow time for order processing, and check back for a follow-up email with your electronic items’ delivery.

Check it out now!

Press Update: Funding Anthologies and Paying for Submissions

Since we first started pulling Autonomous Press together, the idea has always been that we would start paying for submissions as soon as possible. This is important to us because so many markets for writing are not really markets at all, they are opportunities for writers to attempt to get their work seen that are at best comparable to unpaid internships–they help boost your resume, but they don’t pay the bills or really advance your career unless they lead to a paying gig pretty quickly.

At the same time, though, as an academic publisher, or a publisher of academic books among our other offerings, we do have to acknowledge that to some degree scholars publish without an expectation of direct compensation. Partly, this is because their professional model requires them to publish, and so their compensation is indirect, coming as it does from their academic affiliation. Partly, it is because many academic anthologies are at best small investments with small returns.

With this tension between writers whose labor is otherwise uncompensated and those for whom it is compensated through their other affiliations, we have split our anthologies into two groups. This allows us to fund the anthologies that need to pay their writers, to ensure that our contributors are paid for their labor and that they can continue to afford to work with us. It also allows us to identify anthologies that might be risky, or that have a niche audience, and to produce them according to a scholarly model, to ensure they reach their readership even when that readership might not be large enough to fund a major outlay for royalties.

You can read the full details here, but this is the highlight reel:

  • Funded anthologies pay. This money comes from previous anthologies we have put out, and the amount we can afford to pay is determined as late as possible in the process, so that we can offer as much as possible to our writers.
  • Funding will be determined before any acceptances or rejections are determined, to keep it fair.
  • The funds come from previous funded anthologies, as well as a few choice unfunded ones that have been selected to help expand our pool.
  • Basically, we set aside 15% of the cover price for each sale of a qualifying anthology and use it to pay for future submissions. How we pay (flat rate vs. per word) will be determined by how much money we have available on the last day we accept submissions.
  • Rates for each anthology will be announced on the blog as soon as they are determined.
  • The Spoon Knife Anthology will be funded. The sales from Typed Words, Loud Voices are making that happen.
  • Our goal is to offer competitive rates that reward professional writers, but we need to build up the capital to do that. This system gives us a sliding scale that remains sustainable as we grow.
  • Unfunded anthologies do not pay–or at least we do not pay for submissions. If the anthologies have external funding because they are being overseen by non-partners, this may change things a little.
  • Some unfunded anthologies will help to pay for our funded ones. Other unfunded anthologies might have other purposes, such as allowing us to raise funds for a cause or serving as an investment in a new area of development for the press.
  • Anthologies will be announced as either funded or unfunded from here on out.

Call for Submissions: The Spoon Knife Anthology

From Michael Scott Monje, Jr. (Autonomous Press) and N.I. Nicholson (Barking Sycamores):

We are happy to announce that we are seeking submissions of poetry, fiction, and memoir for an upcoming collection called The Spoon Knife Anthology. This book will be released as one of the kickoff projects for AutPress’s NeuroQueer Books line, which focuses on neurodivergence and disability as they intersect and interact with queer issues. This includes queering disability and neurodivergence, as well as discussing how it functions or fits with other aspects of a queer identity.

For this inaugural anthology, NeuroQueer Books seeks to feature works that focus on consent and compliance. We are particularly interested in depictions of the ways that expectations for compliance can be frustrated or subverted, including but not limited to work that explores the various ways that neurodivergent and disabled individuals are forced to use misdirection, manipulation, or deception to avoid having their personal autonomy and dignity compromised by social forces that seek to dictate the expression of their identity and/or limit their choices.

In plainer language, we want stories, poems, and memoir pieces that focus on compliance, defiance, resistance, consent, and/or the negotiations that surround these aspects of any relationship. We are especially interested in works that complicate this issue by including other aspects of identity, such as sexual orientation, race, religion, ethnic identity, class, and/or gender.

While we will consider any submissions that are on-topic and we do wish to solicit voices from a broad range of neurodivergent and disabled perspectives, preference will be given to authors who clearly identify as neuroqueer and whose work demonstrates a neuroqueer point-of-view.

Length and Format:

Fiction and Memoir: 10,000 words or less of fully polished prose, submitted in standard manuscript format (title page with contact info, double-spaced Times New Roman 12 point font, pages numbered with either title or author’s name in the header).

Poetry: Up to 5 pieces of any length and style, provided they use the prompt above as a touchstone.

All submissions need to be in a Word-compatible format (.doc, .docx, .odt).

Deadline and Terms:

Submissions are due by Tuesday, September 8, 2015. Authors will be notified of their acceptance or rejection no later than November 15, 2015. Please include a cover letter that makes it clear exactly how you are to be credited—we will reproduce this exactly, including punctuation. We will also need a 3-4 sentence bio for the contributors.

Submission email:

Please put “Spoon Knife Anthology” and the genre (poetry, fiction, or memoir) in the subject to help us distinguish between anthology submissions and book proposals. Thank you!

UPDATE: The Spoon Knife Anthology is a funded anthology. This means that we will be paying for accepted submissions, but due to our funding model, we will not be able to announce the exact rate until the final day for submissions, Sept. 8. This is due to the fact that the funding for paying writers is contingent on sales from our current anthology, Typed Words, Loud Voices. You can read more about our anthology funding model here.

Paperback Preorders are Live on Amazon

Autonomous Press’s debut wave of books is now available for preorder on (and possibly other retailers). We are still working on our on-site cart, but customers can follow the links below to preorder their books for our June 9 release. If you prefer to get the books firsthand, meet an author, or get some great SWAG like AutPress bookmarks, you can also join us at the Society for Disability Studies conference in Atlanta. Click on any of the covers below to go to Amazon’s product listing for the book.

Fading Scars Front Cover

Defiant Front Cover

The front cover of Typed Words, Loud Voices


Welcome to the Autonomous Press Blog

This is where we will be announcing upcoming titles & release dates, as well as readings, conference appearances, new partnerships, and more. Right now, we’re working on finishing the site construction, but stay tuned for more announcements.