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:

Echelon Press
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.

Medallion Press
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 Its website is outdated, so I can’t tell if it’s taking submissions or not.

Midnight Ink
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.

10 Comments
  1. Great list Lj. Thanks for sharing your research.

  2. very cool. thank you. i have a few for ya, too.

    ~Kunati Publishing
    ~Whiskey Creek Press
    ~The Wild Rose Press
    ~Samhain Publishing
    ~Unbridled Books
    ~Harlequin
    ~Barbour Publishing
    ~Treble Heart Books

    2 of these mostly do e-publishing, the rest do both. These are also mainly fiction and romance publishers. LOL- I collect them, like you!

    Best, XO

  3. Thanks for the list, LJ. Here are a few more I’ve collected that I am at least considering sending my thriller to. Disclaimer – I have not done due diligence on them yet, they are just ones I’ve come across.

    Dorchester Publishing:
    http://www.dorchesterpub.com/Dorch/index.cfm

    Bancroft Press
    http://www.bancroftpress.com/submission.html

    The Permanent Press
    http://www.thepermanentpress.com/index.ihtml

    Thriller Press
    http://www.thrillerpress.com/

    Cosmos and Polis
    http://www.cosmosandpolis.com/home.php

  4. Thanks so much for sharing your publisher leads. This blog was only meant to be sample, and I’m happily adding to my list.

  5. LJ. I can add my publisher, Seventh Window Publications, to your list. In the market for gay fiction, Seventh Window publishes trade paperbacks, pays an advance and accepts unagented material. E-mail queries are fine. My experience with Seventh Window has been very positive and I can recommend this publisher to any writer of gay fiction.

    Nadja

  6. Thanks LJ and those who’ve added to the list via the Comments.

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. Tor accepts unagented submissions, and I’m pretty sure Kensington does too.

  8. Thanks for taking the time to compile this list and share it.

  9. re. Poisoned Pen Press. We don’t publish thrillers/suspense but the time frame is a bit misleading. It can now take up to 4-6 months for us to make a final decision re. a MS. Once we agree to publish it will typically be around 9-12 months before publication, but that is mainly due to our forthcoming publication schedule, the needs to get sales people with the necessary information to sell, and to get marketing materials out properly. Also, since publishers smaller than $20,000,0000 in sales per year is technically small, we are a micro publisher (around $2,000,000 annually).

    Robert Rosenwald
    Publisher

  10. Thanks, Robert, for that information. I’ve corrected the post to reflect it.

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