by Emily Harstone
25 Memoir Publishers That Accept Direct Submissions
Memoir publishers that don’t require an agent to submit are few and far between. However, there are still options out there. Some are old and respected, others are new and still figuring things out.
Not all the publishers on this list are currently open to submissions, but most are.
Persea Books is an independent book publisher based out of New York that was established in the 1970s. Since then they have gained a reputation for publishing thoughtful books in a variety of literary genres, including memoir.
Chicago Review Press was founded in 1973. They are an established independent publisher of literary fiction and nonfiction. They were founded by Curt Matthews and his wife, Linda Matthews. Curt was the former editor of the literary journal the Chicago Review. Currently, one of their editors, Kara Rota, is open to book-length narrative nonfiction.
Three Rooms Press
Three Rooms Press is an independent press that is inspired by “Dada, Punk, and Passion”. They were founded in 1994. They have good distribution. As one can see by their tagline, they have a very clear sense of what they like and what they are interested in publishing. They publish fiction, nonfiction (including memoirs), and YA.
Arcade Publishing is an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing, a large independent publisher with a number of imprints. Arcade publishes fiction and nonfiction, including memoir.
Coffeetown Press is a literary and nonfiction imprint owned by Epicenter Press. They primarily publish nonfiction, as well as memoir, literary fiction, and historical fiction.
A large independent publisher based out of Illinois, they also have offices in Connecticut and New York. Sourcebooks was started in 1987 by Dominique Raccah. They also have several imprints, all founded within the last decade. They publish a lot of nonfiction, including memoir.
Schaffner is an established press with distribution through IPG. They publish literary fiction, short fiction collections, and crime fiction. They also publish a wide variety of nonfiction including memoir, autobiography, biography, journalistic expose or narrative, true crime, art, culture, pop culture, world history, current events, science, and music.
Clash Books started in 2015, they also publish Clash Magazine and the literary journal Black Telephone Magazine. They publish fiction, nonfiction (including memoir), and poetry.
Vine Leaves Press is an international press with staff in the United States, Germany, Greece, England, and beyond. They were founded in 2011 as a literary journal and started publishing vignette collections in 2014. Vine Leaves Press publishes books in a variety of genres including memoirs, coming of age, literary and multi-genre novels, poetry and short story collections, and reference books. If you sign up for their email newsletter on their landing page you are sent a digital sampler of past publications. They are currently closed to submissions.
Santa Monica Press was established in 1993 and initially focused only on publishing nonfiction with a focus on regional books. They’ve since expanded, and they now publish within the follow categories: biography & memoir, California, film, theater & TV, humor, music, pop culture, reference & social sciences, sports, travel, as well as young adult fiction (historical fiction only), and young adult narrative nonfiction (both contemporary and historical narrative nonfiction).
Pan Macmillan Australia is open to direct submissions. They are the Australian imprint of Macmillan, one of the big five publishers. This is the only way to submit to Macmillan directly. They have excellent distribution in Australia. They publish commercial fiction including women’s fiction, romance, thriller, crime, historical, humor, paranormal, fantasy, as well as literary fiction and nonfiction, children’s and young adult books, and commercial nonfiction ranging from memoir to diet.
Thread is a new nonfiction imprint from Bookouture which is owned by Hachette. Thread was launched in March 2020. Thread focuses on a wide range of topics including self-development, personal finance, parenting, and as they phrase it, “inspirational memoir”. They talk about the first five titles they published here. It’s helpful to review that list to get a feel for what the are interested in publishing.
Roxane Gay Books is a new imprint of Grove Atlantic. Roxane Gay has written about this new imprint here. Roxane Gay is the award-winning and bestselling author of a number of books including Hunger and Bad Feminist. This new imprint will publish non fiction, memoir, novels, and short story collections.
Tin House is an established and respected small press. They now have three weekend long submission windows a year, each focused on a different genre, including nonfiction.
Blair is a nonprofit press combining the lists of Carolina Wren Press and John F. Blair, Publisher. To submit unsolicited fiction, memoir, or poetry, you must do so through their contests. They have historically been free with an option to donate.
Blackwater Press is a new small press based in West Virginia, with an international team of editors. They publish fiction, nonfiction, essay, short story collection, novella and memoir manuscripts. They are not interested in erotica or genre fiction. They are open to agented and unagented queries.
Outpost19 Books is a publisher of novels, memoirs, biographies, short fiction and essay collections, reportage and innovative hybrids. They are based in San Francisco and were established in 2011 as a digital only publisher. They have since expanded to print. They are not very good at responding to manuscripts unless interested. (They’re also accepting submissions of short tree-related nonfiction, including memoir, for an anthology.)
Cleis Press is the largest independent sexuality publishing company in the United States, and they focus on LGBTQ, BDSM, romance, and erotic writing for all sexual preferences. They publish LGBTQ+ nonfiction as well as nonfiction on the topic of sex and sexuality, including self-help, sexual guides, LGBTQ+ and/or women’s studies, feminism, dating and relationships, sexual health, and memoir.
An established British publisher. Their current focus are memoir, biography, popular science, psychology, history and historical fiction. They are only accepting work that falls clearly into one of these categories.
Bancroft Press is a small press that publishes a wide variety of work, both nonfiction and fiction. They publish memoirs and legal dramas and everything in between. They usually publish between 3-5 books a year, so while they are open to a wide range of work they actually publish very little.
ECW Press is an established Canadian publisher. They accept poetry, fiction, and nonfiction submissions from Canadians. They only accept nonfiction submissions from international submitters. I cannot stress this enough – if you are not a Canadian, you can only submit nonfiction to them. Memoir is considered under the nonfiction umbrella.
Feral House is a small independent publisher based in Port Townsend, Washington state. They were founded in 1989 by Adam Parfrey who has since passed away. They publish unique and unusual nonfiction and they are particularly interested in documenting cultural movements. They publish memoirs, biographies, and many other works of nonfiction including history not found in text books, nonfiction for children, and work focused on mysticism and the occult.
New Harbinger is an established publisher of self-help books that focus on psychology, health, and personal growth. The books they publish are grounded in science, research, and clinical practice. They publish self-help books, psychology workbooks, professional books, memoirs, and gift books, all focused on mental health.
Mad Creek Books is the literary trade imprint of The Ohio State University Press. With a mission to foster creativity, innovate, and illuminate, Mad Creek Books champions diverse and creative literary nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. Many of their imprints are open to memoir.
Apollo Publishers was founded in 2016 and published their first books in 2018. Apollo Publishers focuses on publishing “timely and topical nonfiction for adult trade audiences.” Mostly, they focus on narrative nonfiction, including memoir.
Emily Harstone is the author of many popular books, including The Authors Publish Guide to Manuscript Submissions, Submit, Publish, Repeat, and The 2021 Guide to Manuscript Publishers.