Written by Emily Harstone June 24th, 2024

21 Terrific Small Presses Open to Direct Submissions

We review a lot of wonderful small presses here, and we also list even more here, here, and here (although some of these lists include large presses also). We also feature a lot of these presses in our biannually updated guide, which you can download here.

This list doesn’t include all of our favorites, but it does include many of them. Of course, like always, all of these presses have to align with our guiding principles.

Unlike a lot of my lists, this one does show some very personal bias. My primary criteria for this list is that all of these presses have published at least one book I have read and loved.

How to I define small press for this list? Any press that is not big enough to be part of the Big Five. Although most of these presses are pretty small and some only publish a few books every year.

If this list skews a little more literary and kid lit focused than most of our lists, I apologize. That is most of what I am reading these days, other than what is by the big 5.

To share your favorite press open to direct submissions with me, please send an email to support@authorspublish.com. I’m also always happy for book recommendations.

Not all of these publishers are currently open to submissions but some are, more than most lists actually because of the focus on literary presses.

Most titles link to the review but a few link directly to the publisher, if we have yet to publish that full review. A few only allow submissions from authors from a specific geographic location, but when this is the case, we make it clear in the short description of the press.

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. They are 100% on this list because of their wonderful children’s books.

June Road Press
A small US-based press that publishes wonderful poetry collections, and they do not accept work from international writers. They are currently closed to submissions, but plan to reopen later this year.

Tin House
Tin House is an established and respected small press. They used to be responsible for one of the most respected and established literary journals, although that closed a few years ago. They still run residencies, workshops, and a bookstore in Portland, Oregon. They still publish a wide variety of respected and admired books, including some bestsellers. They publish fiction, nonfiction, memoirs, and poetry, and I own over 50 of their books, and love many of them. They don’t reopen to direct submissions till 2025.

Chronicle Books
They are based out of San Francisco. Their books receive a lot of positive attention and acclaim. They have excellent distribution. They have published many of my favorite kids’ books as well as many of my favorite cookbooks.

Game Over Books
This small press focuses on poetry and short story collections. They have published a number of unusual and brilliant books including Griefcake, This Conversation is Being Recorded, and Discount Ceremonies. They generally have one fee-free submission period a year.

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.

Annick Press
One of the top children’s book publishers in Canada, Annick Press got a strong start early on by publishing Robert Munsch, back when they were based out of co-founder Anne Millyard’s basement (you can learn more about that here). Annick is currently accepting submissions of picture books, middle grade fiction, YA fiction, and nonfiction for kids of all ages. Their picture books are exceptional.

CLASH Books started in 2015. They publish fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. I have loved a lot of what they have published in the past but I’m particularly thrilled and excited to read Daisuke Shen’s Vague Predictions & Prophecies.

Agape Editions
Agape is a small press with varying imprints, and a literary journal, that cover a lot of territory. They have also published a lot of authors who are part of the larger literary community and have a track record of serious publications, particularly in terms of poetry. I have loved a number of their poetry books. 

Tiny Ghost Press
Tiny Ghost Press is a small press that focuses on publishing YA fiction that centers LGBTQIA+ characters. This means that in their own words, they want “YOUNG ADULT novels, written from a QUEER perspective, That is stories featuring a queer protagonist or from a queer author. We’re interested in everything from contemporary romance, to dystopian adventures, and if your story dabbles in the spooky, the supernatural, or the paranormal, or has a speculative element even better!”. I’ve really enjoyed the books they have published so far and look forward to reading more.

Enchanted Lion
This charming children’s book publisher is based in New York, and almost any time I’m drawn to a newer book at the library it ends up being published by them. They are really terrific and work with a lot of wonderful illustrators.

Flyaway Books
Flyaway Books is a children’s book publisher focused only on children’s picture books. The focus of their books is on “diversity, inclusivity, compassion, care for each other, and care for our world”. They are an imprint of Westminster John Knox Press which is part of the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation, but many of the books that Flyaway publishes are not faith based, and the ones that they do publish that are faith based are “appropriate for progressive churches, religious schools, and readers who value faith inside and outside of a church setting”. Their books are very thoughtful and engaging.

They have published some great nonfiction about nature that has deeply resonated with me.

Stone Pier Press
Stone Pier Press is a niche publisher that describes themselves as “an environmental publishing company with a food focus.” They are a San Francisco based non-profit focused towards a climate-friendly food system. Their cookbook, The One & Done Cookbook, is terrific. They are currently closed to submissions.

Wesleyan University Press
Wesleyan University Press focuses on poetry, music, dance, science fiction studies, film-TV, and Connecticut history and culture. They have been actively publishing since 1957. Books they have published have won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. They are an established and respected university press that has published many top-notch books over the years, including some personal favorites.

AK Press
AK Press is a worker-managed, independent publisher and book distributor that focuses on publishing and distributing radical left and anarchist literature. They were founded in Scotland in 1990, but are now largely based in Chico, California. I personally really appreciate their radical speculative fiction imprint, Black Dawn.

Cardinal Rule Press
They hope to empower children by telling meaningful stories aimed at 4-11 year olds. The work they publish is realistic fiction which they describe as “a genre made up of stories that could happen in our world and society.” They have published some good books in this genre.

Flying Eye & Nobrow
I’ve read so many of their books for kids and adults. We own a few, and our library has many more. Quirky and beautifully presented illustrated books.

Acre Books
Acre Books is an imprint of The Cincinnati Review. They focus on publishing literary fiction and poetry. They are interested in novels and short story collections. They are not accepting submissions of full manuscripts. They ask that authors query first. Their submission periods vary.

Owl Kids
Their books have been mentioned or reviewed in the following publications: The New York Times, the Globe and Mail, CBC, KirkusBooklist, and School Library Journal, and selected for numerous awards. In 2022, the press was nominated for the Bologna Prize for Best Children’s Publisher. Their website is easy to use and well organized and their covers are generally excellent. They publish picture books, nonfiction for children, and middle grade fiction. You can get a good feel for what they publish by visiting their catalogue here.  I have read and loved so many of their books. They are currently closed to submissions.

ECW Press
ECW Press is an established Canadian publisher. They accept poetry, fiction, and nonfiction submissions from Canadians. They only accept nonfiction submissions from international submitters. I can not stress this enough – if you are not a Canadian, you can only submit nonfiction to them. I own and appreciate a number of their books across genres.

Emily Harstone is the author of many popular books, including The Authors Publish Guide to Manuscript SubmissionsSubmit, Publish, Repeat, and The 2024 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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