These 25 featured publishers are always open to submissions from writers without agents or previous publishing experience. All of them are respected publishers with good reputations. They are listed in no particular order.
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1. Quirk Books
This Philadelphia-based press publishes 25 books a year in a whole range of genres, including children’s books, nonfiction, and science fiction. Unlike most publishers that tackle a large range of topics, Quirk Books has a clear marketing plan for all of their books. To a certain degree, their books have a cohesive feel because they all are quirky. Read the full review here.
Baen is one of the best-known publishers of science fiction and fantasy books. They are one of the few established publishers that will accept full-length manuscripts from authors who do not have an agent. They do not need to see any history of publication either. As long as your book is science fiction or fantasy, they will consider publishing it. Read the full review here.
3. Chicago Review Press
Chicago Review Press was founded over 40 years ago. They are an established independent publisher of literary fiction, nonfiction, and memoir. 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 Chicago Review. To learn more, read our review.
4. Dial Books For Young Readers
Dial Books For Young Readers publishes hardcover books aimed at children of all ages, including young adults. They are an imprint of Penguin, and accept unsolicited submissions. The catch? They do not respond to unsolicited submissions unless they are interested in the book. That means don’t expect a rejection from Dial, personal or otherwise. Read our full review.
5. Seven Stories Press
They focus on producing books that have a social conscience. They have published some big-name authors and bestselling books. They publish literary fiction and nonfiction. To learn more, read our full review here.
6. Chronicle Books
Chronicle is an established and respected publisher of children’s books, cookbooks, gift books, anthologies, and various other books, most containing a strong visual element. They are based out of San Francisco. Their books receive a lot of positive attention and acclaim. Read the full review here.
7. Workman Publishing
They publish nonfiction books for children and adults. Some of the famous books they have published in the past (they have been around a long time) include The “What to Expect” series, best known for the Book What to Expect When you are Expecting. To learn more, read our full review here.
8. Persea Books
This is a respected publisher of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and literary young adults novels. The work they publish receives a good distribution, particularly in academic circles. To learn more, read our full review here.
9. Source Books
A large independent publisher based out of Illinois, they also have offices in Connecticut and New York. They are open to unsolicited submissions of a wide range, including nonfiction and romance manuscripts. Read our full review here.
10. Turner Books
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. Read the full review here.
11. ABDO Books
ABDO Books is a publisher that focuses exclusively on educational books for children between the ages of 4 and 12. They sell a lot of books to schools and appear to be rather good at niche marketing. They are currently open only to fiction submissions. To learn more, read the full review.
12. Black & White Publishing
Black & White Publishing was founded in 1995 and is a Scottish publisher with good distribution. They currently have over 200 books in print. They have a good distributor and are starting to break into the eBook publishing world. They publish general nonfiction, biography, sport, and humor, as well as selected fiction, young adult, and children’s books. Read our full review here.
Tor/Forge publishes science fiction and fantasy books. Run by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, Tor/Forge is an imprint of Macmillan, one of the big five publishers. Tor is one of the most established science fiction publishers and they have won the Locus Award for best SF publisher 27 years in a row. They offer advances. Read the full review here.
14. Lyrical Press
Lyrical Press is an electronic-only imprint of Kensington, a large independent publisher. Kensington and Lyrical both publish mainstream novels and seem to put a fair amount of pressure on the author to promote their books. They publish a large number of books per year. Read the full review.
15. The Totally Entwined Group
The Totally Entwined Group is a romance eBook and print publisher that was successful in its own right, before being purchased by the Bonnier Publishing group. There have been some shifts in focus since Bonnier purchased it in 2015, but the group still has a good reputation and its focus is still on its two flagship established imprints – Pride and Totally Bound. Read the full review.
16. 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. They are primarily a print publisher with excellent distribution. To learn more, read our full review.
17. Lee & Low Books
Lee & Low Books’ motto is “About Everyone. For Everyone”. They focus on publishing multicultural children’s books. They are the largest multicultural book publisher in the U.S. The books they publish largely have an educational element and they offer books for readers starting at the age of 4 and going all the way up to age 18. They are an independent publisher, have published hundreds of books, and have been around for 25 years. Read our full review here.
18. Barron’s Educational Services
Most people who have studied for a test like the SAT or the GRE own a book published by Barron’s, if only because they bought one of their many test prep books. That is what Barron’s Educational Services is best known for and the reason it was founded in 1939. However, in recent years they have expanded and they also publish a wide variety of other genres, including fiction. Read our full review here.
19. Artisan Books
Artisan focuses on publishing visual-heavy nonfiction books. The visuals themselves vary between photography, illustration, or graphic design, but the idea is that these books communicate ideas and lessons because of their strong visual components. Most of the books, including Artisan’s first bestseller The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller, include all three components. Read our full review here.
20. Kane Miller Publishing
Kane Miller is an award-winning publisher of educational children’s books. They have good distribution, their books are widely available at libraries, and they generally do an excellent job. Read our full review.
The Experiment was an independent publisher launched in 2008. Since 2011 they have been an imprint of Workman Publishing. They publish a range of nonfiction, focusing on practical things such as food (one of the bestsellers they have published is the Forks Over Knives cookbook), health and fitness, psychology and personal development, parenting, relationships, sexuality, and nature. Read our full review here.
Harlequin is easily the most famous romance-only publisher out there. In fact, their name was synonymous with romance novel when I was growing up. They have wide distribution, from grocery stores to bookstores. They are everywhere. To learn more, read our full review here.
23. Bellevue Literary Press
Bellevue Literary Press publishes works of narrative nonfiction and literary fiction geared towards a general readership. They are open to unsolicited submissions of both kinds of work. The work they publish explores the intersection between arts and science. Many of the characters in the fictional work that they publish are doctors and scientists, but many of their books also focus on the natural world. They seem to publish about four novels for every work of non-fiction they publish. Read our full review here.
24. Holiday House
Holiday House is an established and reputable children’s book publishers. 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. Read our full review here.
25. 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. Read our full review here.
Not all the publishers on this list are currently open to submissions, but most are.
City Lights Books
City Lights Books is based out of San Francisco and is indeed part of the famous bookstore there. City Lights Books was started by the famous poet and writer Lawrence Ferlinghetti. They are most often linked to the beat poetry movement. They have published New York Times best-selling books, and have been a publisher for over 60 years. They publish about a dozen books each year, including a number of memoirs.
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.
Soft Skull Press
Soft Skull Press is a small respected publisher of fiction and nonfiction. They are only open to no agent submissions of nonfiction work. The nonfiction they publish includes history, memoir, literary biography, religion and philosophy, and natural history. Soft Skull Press was recently purchased by Catapult/Black Balloon.
Chicago Review Press
Chicago Review Press was founded over 40 years ago. They are an established independent publisher of literary fiction and non-fiction. They were founded by Curt Matthews and his wife, Linda Matthews. Curt was the former editor of the literary journal the Chicago Review. Their imprint Academy Chicago publishes memoirs and is open to unsolicited submissions.
Filles Vertes Publishing was founded in 2016. It is a new publisher with only a few books under their belt and a few forthcoming books as well. They have print and electronic versions of all their books. They accept submissions of middle-grade readers, young adult books, adult fiction, and adult fiction in all genres, which is a broad spectrum to publish. They have previously published a historical thriller/mystery, a memoir about life at sea, and a mystery book set in the Pacific Northwest.
Polis Books is an independent publisher of fiction and non-fiction. Polis Books was founded in 2013. Their focus is on publishing new voices. They are a technologically driven company. They publish print and digital books. They are currently seeking memoirs.
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 memoirs they publish are generally a little different so please review their catalog first.
Emily Harstone is the pen name of an author whose work has been published internationally by a number of respected journals. She is a professional submissions adviser and spends much of her time researching manuscript publishers. You can follow her on Facebook.