18 Memoir Publishers Open to Direct Submissions

Written by Emily Harstone

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

Bancroft Press

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 three and five books a year, so while they are open to a wide range of work, they actually publish very little.

Allen & Unwin

Allen & Unwin is a large independent Australian Press that is open to submissions on a wide range of topics. They have won a number of Australian publisher awards. They accept based on pitches, and have a system known as the “Friday Pitch” which insures that at least one editor reviews each unsolicited pitch.

SourceBooks

A large independent publisher based out of Illinois, they also have offices in Connecticut and New York. Source books 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 Press

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


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

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.

Santa Monica Press

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).

Propertius Pres

Propertius Press is a small non-profit press located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. They have been around since 2014 and have a large staff listed but everyone appears to be mostly part-time. They publish paperbacks and electronic books.

Pan Macmillan Australia

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

Thread is a new nonfiction imprint from Bookouture which is owned by Hachette. We never review presses that are less than two years old but we are open to reviewing new imprints of established presses and Thread very much falls into that category. 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

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

Tin House is an established and respected small press. They recently brought on one Hanif Abdurraqib as their Editor-at-Large, and he will acquire three non-fiction books  a year for them. For the first time they will have three open reading periods a year. The first is from September 4-9th and it will be nonfiction only, including memoirs and graphic nonfiction.

Blair

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.


Emily Harstone is the author of many popular books, including The Authors Publish Guide to Manuscript SubmissionsSubmit, 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. You can follow her on Facebook here.

 

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