Written by Emily Harstone
The writing market can be overwhelming, particularly for new authors who do not have a history of past publication. It is important to note that no legitimate established presses specifically look for unpublished authors. The presses on this list were chosen because they have published a number of debut books before.
The publishers on this list do not require literary agents. You can submit to these publishers directly.
Some of these manuscript publishers have good distribution and clear marketing strategies. Others are small presses that expect the authors to do the heavy lifting. None of these presses are vanity presses, self-publishers, or brand new presses. All of them have been around for two years or longer. Some of them do have self publishing imprints. If you are ever redirected to one, please reach out to us at email@example.com and we will update the listing.
All the publishers listed below are open to authors regardless of nationality. Most of the publishers focus on publishing a particular genre or genres of books. The publishers are listed in no particular order.
Our full reviews of the publishers include more detailed submission information and links to the publishing company’s websites and submission guidelines. Not all of them are open submissions at this time, but many are. It is good to bookmark the websites of publishers you are interested in that are not currently open to submissions, and to check back regularly, if they do not overtly state when they will re-open to submissions.
Even if you are a writer who has never published a book before, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a track record of publication. It is always helpful to create a history of previous publications of short fiction or poetry by submitting to literary journals and that can help make the bio portion of your query letter more appealing. To learn more about submitting to literary journals, you can download our free eBook on the subject here.
Chronicle is a large independent San Francisco-based publisher that publishes highly acclaimed children’s books, bestselling cookbooks, gift books, and a variety of nonfiction. Most have a strong visual element. Their books are beautifully made.
The Quarto Publishing Group
The Quarto Publishing Group is an international publishing house known for its illustrated books. They publish most of their work through a number of niche imprints, each with their own focus. All of their US imprints are distributed by Hachette. Their imprints are all nonfiction. They publish a lot of cookbooks and gift books. They also have imprints covering almost any nonfiction topic you can think of, including children’s nonfiction, parenting, vehicles and architecture.
Vine Leaves Press
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 publish books in a variety of genres including memoirs, coming of age, literary and multi-genre novels, poetry and short story collections, and reference books. They are currently closed to submissions but plan to reopen in 2023.
Bold Strokes Books publishes only LGBTQ+ books. They publish general and genre fiction. They offer advances to their authors. Bold Strokes is interested in publishing books that fall under the LGBTQ+ umbrella including literary fiction, romance novels, young adult novels, genre novels (including science fiction and mystery), and works of nonfiction.
Turner publishes books in a wide range of categories and formats—fiction and nonfiction. They publish mainly in print but have electronic options as well. They are a major independent publishing house and have a number of imprints.
This is a respected publisher of literary novels and short story collections, creative nonfiction, memoir, essays, biography, literary criticism, books on contemporary issues (multicultural, feminist, LGBTQI+), young adult novels, and literary and multicultural anthologies that are assigned in secondary and university classrooms, as well as poetry. The work they publish receives good distribution, particularly in academic circles.
A large independent publisher based out of Illinois, they also have offices in Connecticut and New York. They are open to unsolicited submissions for a wide range of genres, from nonfiction to romance.
Shambhala Publications is an independent publishing company based in Boulder, Colorado. They are distributed by Penguin Random House Publisher Services. They were founded in 1969 and “is dedicated to creating books, audio, and immersive courses aimed at improving lives—in ways big and small—in the hope of contributing to the development of a thoughtful, kindhearted, and contemplative society”. They also publish an imprint focused on reaching children.
An independent publisher founded in 1986, they now publish around 100 works of nonfiction and literary fiction every year. They work with distributors and authors worldwide, although they are only open to unsolicited submissions of nonfiction.
Princeton Architectural Press
Princeton Architectural Press is a small press that focuses on publishing books on architecture, design, photography, landscape, and visual culture. They also publish beautiful stationary and children’s books. They are based in New York. In 2009 they were bought by McEvoy Group.
Santa Monica Press
Santa Monica Press was established in 1993 and initially focused only on publishing non-fiction 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).
Hera is a female-led, independent digital publisher, founded in 2018. They focus exclusively on publishing commercial books, including works psychological suspense, police procedural, and thrillers, to romance, and glamorous contemporary fiction.
TCK Publishing describes themselves by saying: “We publish fiction and non-fiction eBooks, print books, and audio books in all major genres and niches.”
This large independent publisher is based out of New York. They publish a wide variety of mainstream fiction and nonfiction books, with a particular focus on romance. They publish an average of 600 books a year, so they accept a lot more submissions than most independent publishers.
Tule Publishing started out as Romance Publisher with multiple imprints. Many of their books have sold well on Amazon. Most books they have published have at least 25 positive reviews. They have published bestselling and award winning authors. They publish a wide variety of romance including western, paranormal, and holiday.
Holiday House is an established and reputable children’s book publisher. Holiday House has been around for over 75 years. They publish picture books as well as books aimed at children grades 1-3, grades 4-6, and grades 7 and up. They are based out of New York City. They have published many well known books and authors, including Kenneth Grahame. The books that they have published have won numerous respected awards and honors.
One More Chapter
One More Chapter, HarperCollins UK’s award-winning digital-first publisher, focuses on publishing commercial fiction. Because they are a digital-first publisher, even though they are based in the UK, their eBooks are accessible globally.
A digital publisher that was purchased in 2017 by Hachette. They primarily publish women’s fiction, chick lit, romance, and thrillers. They also have a nonfiction imprint.
Chicago Review Press
Chicago Review Press was founded over 40 years ago. They are an established independent publisher of literary fiction, nonfiction and memoir, although they generally do not accept unsolicited fiction. They also publish books for children (but not picture books). They were founded by Curt Matthews and his wife, Linda Matthews. Curt was the former editor of the literary journal the Chicago Review.
Coffeetown Press is a literary and non-fiction imprint owned by Epicenter Press. They primarily publish nonfiction, as well as memoir, literary fiction, and historical fiction.
Gibbs Smith is an established publisher with good distribution and a focus on cookbooks, interior design and architecture books, and board books for children. They have published a number of bestsellers, including a board book version of Pride & Prejudice. Gibbs Smith is primarily a nonfiction publisher.
Harlequin is easily the most famous romance only publisher out there. In fact, their name was synonymous with romance novels when I was growing up. They have wide distribution, from grocery stores to bookstores. They are everywhere.
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Founded in 1911 and located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company is an independent publisher of religious books. They have a large range, including academic books and reference works in theology, biblical studies, and religious history to popular titles in spirituality, social and cultural criticism, as well as literature. Not all of their books, particularly their children’s books, are overtly religious.
Polis Books is an independent publisher of fiction and nonfiction, founded in 2013. Their focus is on publishing new voices. They are a technologically driven company. They publish print and digital books. Polis Books was founded by Jason Pinter. Mr. Pinter had over a decade of experience in editorial, marketing and publicity for a variety of publishers including Random House, St. Martin’s Press, and The Mysterious Press.
Page Street Publishing
Page Street Publishing is a publisher of full color, mostly hardcover, gift books, cookbooks, and craft books, children’s books, and young adult fiction. Most of them have an important visual component. To get a good feel for what they have published in the past, you can go here. They are distributed through Macmillan in every country but Canada (where they have a different distributor). They publish around 60 titles a year.
CamCat Books is an independent publisher that was founded in 2019. They were founded by Sue Arroyo, an entrepreneur who sold her previous business, Trident Technologies, to start CamCat. CamCat Books publishes novel-length genre fiction aimed at adults as well as young adults.
Crooked Lane was established in 2014 as a press specializing in crime books. They have an experienced staff and have managed to publish some well known authors already. They publish a range of mysteries that lean towards the cozy, and they are not opposed to publishing a series of books.
Beacon Press is an established publisher of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. However they are only open to direct submissions of nonfiction proposals. Works of fiction, poetry, and self help will not be considered.
Square One Publishers
Square One Publishers focuses on publishing adult nonfiction books. They are looking for books by authors that are experts in their field. Their books are focused on meeting the needs of niche audiences. They are not a publisher of bestsellers, they have a specific market/markets and they cater to them.
The mission of Storey Publishing is to provide practical information that encourages independence in a way that is harmonious with the environment. The books they publish encourage and instruct readers of all ages of ways to enrich their lives through hands-on activities and experiences. All of what they publish is nonfiction and they covered such varied topics as home reference, crafts, beer & wine, raising animals, homesteading, and mind/body/spirit.
The Story Plant
The Story Plant was founded in 2008 by two editors with industry experience, Lou Aronica and Peter Miller. In 2013 they were acquired by Studio Digital CT, LLC, a limited liability company headed by Lou Aronica. It is now run by Aronica and Mitchell Maxwell.
Prometheus Books is a large established publisher of what they like to call “intelligent nonfiction.” They specialize in publishing nonfiction books that fall into the following categories: popular science, philosophy, atheism, humanism, and critical thinking.
A print and digital publisher that is expanding into the audiobook market, they accept submissions of crime fiction, mystery, thrillers, romantic fiction, women’s fiction, historical fiction, history, and historical biographies, as well as action and adventure books. You can submit unpublished manuscripts or out-of-print titles.
Microcosm is a Portland-based publisher that specializes in nonfiction DIY (Do-It-Yourself) goods that focus on the reader and teach self-empowerment. They are on Powell’s 24 of Our Favorite Small Presses list. The authors they publish have to have expertise and lived experience in the subject area they write about.
City Owl Press
City Owl Press is a publisher of adult and new adult romance and speculative fiction. They publish the following sub genres: contemporary romance, fantasy romance, historical romance, paranormal romance, romantic comedy, sci fi romance, romantic suspense, small town romance, time travel romance, as well as fairy tale retellings, dark fantasy, and urban fantasy.
Sleeping Bear Press
Sleeping Bear Press is a well regarded publisher of board books, picture books, and select middle grade readers. They offer advances to some authors. They have good regional distribution in the Midwest and ok distribution in North America. Their books have won a wide variety of awards, all of them are listed here.
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
An established UK Press (with a US office) that was purchased by John Murray Press/Hachette UK in 2017. You can read more about this acquisition here. JKP focuses on publishing high quality books for professional and general readers on a variety of subjects. They are best known for their books on the autism spectrum, social work, arts therapies, mental health, counseling, palliative care, practical theology and gender diversity.
Alcove Press is a new imprint of the established publisher Crooked Lane (which is owned by Bookspan). Alcove Press is focused on publishing upmarket Book Club fiction that “explores family, friendship, and community”. They are actively trying to publish debut authors as well as established ones. You can learn more about their launch in this Publishers Weekly article.
AM Ink is a Western Massachusetts based press that publishes biographies, children’s books, novels, and short story collections. They’ve published more almost a hundred titles, including bestsellers. They have two imprints. Dark Ink, their horror imprint, has released everything from celebrity biographies like Kane Hodder, to novels and short story collections. Most of what they publish falls under the Dark Ink Imprint.
Tell-Tale Publishing is a small press founded in 2009. They seem to focus primarily on eBooks but also they have print options (largely print on demand). They publish six imprints which include Dahlia (romance, and various romance subgenres), Stargazer (fantasy, steampunk), Nightshade (horror), Casablanca (mystery), Thistle (middle school, YA, new adult), and Deja Vu (reprints for all genres).
Future House Publishing
Future House focuses on publishing “adult science fiction and fantasy, as well as middle grade adventure books that embrace community, liberty, and family”. All of the work is clean, free of excessive violence.
Emily Harstoneis the author of many books, including The Authors Publish Guide to Manuscript Submissions, Submit, Publish, Repeat, and The 2021 Guide to Manuscript Publishers.
She regularly teaches three acclaimed courses on writing and publishing at The Writer’s Workshop at Authors Publish.