Written by Emily Harstone January 9th, 2023

30 Literary Fiction Publishers that Accept Direct Submissions – No Agent Required

Literary fiction is one of the harder genres to get published in without an agent. There are smaller presses that specialize in it, but unfortunately more and more of those presses are now charging reading fees. However, there are still good options for authors who are unagented and averse to paying reading fees.

The manuscript publishers in this list cover a wide range. Some are small presses that only publish a few works of literary fiction a year, others are large established presses that just focus on literary fiction along with one or two other genres, others publish literary fiction as part of a wide variety of genres.

Not all of these publishers are currently open to submissions. This list is in no particular order.

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. While Acre Books is still new, they are an offshoot of the well-respected and long- established literary journal The Cincinnati Review. Their website focuses on selling books, not on recruiting authors. The books they have published so far are great and have wonderful covers.

Able Muse

Able Muse is a small literary press that has one free reading period every year, from 1st May through 15th July. They also publish a literary journal, and they host a number of contests every year. They publish poetry and fiction primarily, and they will consider nonfiction as long as you query first. Most of the fiction they publish is short story collections and unlike other small presses, some of what they publish is genre work.

Coffee House Press

Coffee House Press (CHP) is a respected literary press with a great reputation. They publish poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and translation. They are only open for short submission periods every year. These periods are capped at 200 submissions, so submit early. They open on the first of the month — 1st May 2023 for poetry manuscripts, and 1st October for fiction and nonfiction manuscripts. During the last open period they had reached 200 submissions within a few hours. Coffee House Press publishes emerging and midcareer authors. They do not focus on bestsellers, but their books are often taught in academic settings and available in libraries and independent bookstores.


BlazeVOX is a publisher based out of Buffalo, New York. They are a small independent publisher that focuses on publishing innovative literary fiction and poetry manuscripts.

Plough Publishing

They publish a quarterly magazine as well as books. The books they publish include books on Christian living, social issues, devotionals, church history, spiritual classics, parenting and education, poetry and literary fiction, as well as children’s books.

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.

404 Ink

This is an Edinburgh based publisher, open to direct submissions of full length manuscripts of fiction, nonfiction, short stories, and poetry. They are a small press that has different reading periods every year, and currently, they are open to nonfiction pitches for their pocket book series.

The Feminist Press

The Feminist Press was established as an independent nonprofit literary publisher in 1970. The Feminist Press is the oldest women’s publishing house in the world. They are open to submission from female/female identifying, and non-binary authors. They publish literary fiction and works of nonfiction.

Platypus Press

Platypus Press is a publisher of prose and poetry, all literary. They are a publisher based out of the UK with an established a track record. Their books have beautiful covers.

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 literary fiction.

Fairlight Books

Fairlight Books is a publisher of literary fiction based in Oxford. They were founded in 2017 and started publishing in 2018. The company is run by an ex-energy chief, Louise Boland. Their goal is to promote literary fiction, particularly by new authors, in the UK. You can learn a little bit more about that here.

aunt lute

aunt lute is a multicultural women’s press. Their priority is to publish work by women, both transgender and cisgender, particularly women of color. They publish both fiction and nonfiction. They also publish poetry but only as part of an anthology or a larger prose work. They were founded in 1982.

Flashpoint Publications

Regal Crest Enterprises historically specialized in publishing books of interest to lesbian readers but now their focus has expanded to include LGBTQ+ and they’ve rebranded as Flashpoint Publications. They mostly publish genre fiction now as well as some nonfiction. Learn more here.

Douglas & McIntyre

Douglas & McIntyre is one of Canada’s pre-eminent independent publishers, with books that have won many national and international awards, including the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award. They filed for bankruptcy a number of years ago. Harbour Publishing purchased Douglas & McIntyre at that point. They predominantly publish Canadian authors. To learn more about their submission policy, go here.

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.

Jaded Ibis

Jaded Ibis Press allows international submissions from women, writers of color, writers with disabilities, queer writers, as well as other marginalized and disenfranchised writers. They currently publish prose, both in terms of fiction and nonfiction. They want work to be well written and also contain ideas that contribute to the progress of social justice. This is very much a niche focus.

Tin House

This respected small press with terrific distribution is only open to submissions, including for debut novels, a few days a year.

Deep Vellum 

Deep Vellum is a press based in Dallas. They describe themselves as the “heart and soul of the Dallas literary community”. They were founded in 2013 and initially just published works in translation. Now they publish fiction, nonfiction, and poetry in English, as well as works in translation that fall into any of the previous categories. As of 2020 about half of that work was translated authors and half was work originally published in English.  

époque press

époque press is an independent publisher based between Brighton, Dublin and New York. They publish literary fiction, and only literary fiction, but it can be novel length or in short story format. They published their first volume in 2018.

Bluemoose Books

Bluemoose Books is an award winning independent publisher based in the UK. It was founded by Kevin and Hetha Duffy. For a small press, the books they have published have gone on to win major prizes, including the Walter Scott Prize, Portico Literature Prize, and many more have been long and shortlisted. They are a small press that focuses on publishing only a few literary novels per year.

Golden Antelope

They publish poetry, short stories, novellas, novels, plays, and works of creative nonfiction. They are a small press. They were founded in 2008 but initially, the founding editors Neal and Betsy Delmonico mostly published family and friends. Publications were sporadic. That shifted in 2017, and since then they’ve been progressively publishing more work.

Mad Creek Books

Mad Creek Books is the literary trade imprint of The Ohio State University Press. With a mission to foster creativity, innovate, and illuminate, Mad Creek Books champions diverse and creative literary nonfiction, fiction, and poetry.


Blair is a nonprofit press combining the lists of Carolina Wren Press and John F. Blair, Publisher. To learn more about the history of both presses which merged in 2018, go here. Based in the South, with roots in North Carolina, they strive to publish quality writing with a focus on authors and subjects historically neglected by mainstream publishers.

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 publish books in a variety of genres including memoirs, coming of age, literary and multi-genre novels, poetry and short story collections, and reference books.

Blackwater Press

Blackwater Press is a new small press based in West Virginia, with an international team of editors. They also run an editorial consultancy, but when I reached out to the press directly the editors informed me that they did not direct writers submitting to the press to their editorial services and that they don’t accept work they edited at their press.

City of Light Publishing

City of Light Publishing is a small press with many imprints, based out of Buffalo, New York. In some ways City of Light is a new press, they only came to be known by this name in 2019, when they started to have more of a national and international reach. Before that, previous iterations were called Canisius College Press and Buffalo Heritage Press. You can learn more about their history here.

Unnamed Press

Unnamed Press is an independent publisher of literary fiction and nonfiction, based in Los Angeles and founded in 2014. They have excellent distribution, their books have been reviewed in most major publications, and they know how to promote the books they publish.

Brother Mockingbird Publishing

Brother Mockingbird Publishing is a small independent press committed to discovering writers from the American South, but they are also open to good fiction, regardless of where the author is based.ss.

Clash Books

Clash Books started in 2015, they also publish Clash Magazine and the literary journal Black Telephone Magazine. They publish fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Clash Books is a small press but they attend major conferences like AWP and they host readings. They also offer wholesale discounts and have provisional distribution via Ingram Spark. 

Ig Publishing

Ig Publishing is a New York-based small press that focuses on publishing literary fiction and political and cultural nonfiction. The books they’ve published have won or been honorable mentions for many major awards, and are frequently mentioned on “best of” year- end lists.

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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