Submitting Directly to Small Publishers
I gather publisher names the way some people collect author names, and my list now totals nearly 100. Many of the companies are imprints owned by big houses, and many are niche publishers aimed at a specific market (Christian, gay/lesbian). I culled out a few small publishers that accept a variety of submissions directly from authors. They share a few basic guidelines:
- They want manuscripts that are 65,000–95,000 words.
- They print in paperback form only.
- They do NOT want paper submissions.
- They can take six months or more to respond to submissions.
Here’s a little more information about each:
Publishes a variety of novels, romantic suspense to mystery to self-help. It also has an erotic and young adult imprint. Echelon is currently NOT accepting any submissions for print books, but it is taking submissions for e-books. The company also publishes novellas and short stories. Query by e-mail and follow directions.
Five Star Publishing
Publishes a wide variety as well, but is currently looking for romance, women’s fiction, and mystery (which includes suspense/thrillers). It publishes almost 150 books a year but sells mostly to libraries. So as an author, you’ll have to do the work to get your novel into bookstores. Query by e-mail.
Also publishes a wide variety of genres, including nonfiction. Accepts both paper and e-queries and says it can take up to 12 months to respond to submissions. Follow directions!
Hilliard & Harris
Publishes primarily mystery series, but also accepts thrillers, sci-fi, horror, historical fiction and some young adult within those categories. The rumor mill says this company is hard on authors.
The following publishes are more narrowly focused on some time of crime story:
Poisoned Pen Press
This is the largest in this group, but you do not need an agent to submit. PPP publishes mystery/crime, but no incest, torture, drugs, terrorists, or spy stories. Start with an e-mail query and proceed from there.
Capital Crime Press
As implied, it publishes crime stories and seems to be looking for edgier submissions—the stories Poisoned Pen doesn’t want. Start with e-mail query. Its website is outdated, so I can’t tell if it’s taking submissions or not.
Publishes mystery fiction and suspenseful tales of all types: hard-boiled thrillers, cozies, historical mysteries, amateur sleuth novels, and more. Accepts e-mail submissions only. Currently closed to submissions except through referrals from its published authors.
Hard Case Crime
Publishes hard-boiled crime stories and picks up out-of-print crime classics from the past. Accepts e-mail queries, but no guidelines are given.