Written by Emily Harstone

30 Mystery Publishers that Accept Direct Submissions (No Agent Required)

“Nobody reads a mystery to get to the middle. They
read it to get to the end. If it’s a letdown, they won’t
buy anymore. The first page sells that book. The last
page sells your next book.”
MICKEY SPILLANE

Mystery is one of those genres that over the years has managed to accumulate a huge number of subgenres. From cozy mysteries,  literary mysteries, and crime novels to ones focused on conspiracies, now there is a mystery subgenre for almost every reader’s taste.

Most of the following publishers focus on one or two sub-genres of mystery, although other companies are much larger multi-genre publishers that are open to mystery books, as well as books from other genres.

To learn more about any of the publishers, click on their name in order to read the full review or connect to the publisher’s website. All reviews include a link to the publisher’s website. Some of the publishers are currently closed to submissions but the majority are open.

Literary Wanderlust
Literary Wanderlust is a Denver-based independent publisher. They were founded in 2014 and they publish print and digital books. Among other genres they publish mystery, crime, and thriller books.

Sapere Books
They are accepting submissions of crime fiction, mystery, thrillers, romantic fiction, women’s fiction, historical fiction, history, and historical biographies, as well as action and adventure books. You can generally submit unpublished manuscripts or out-of-print titles, though currently only open to republishing titles that are out of print.

Tule Publishing
A romance and mystery publisher.

Turner Books
Turner publishes books in a wide range of categories and formats—fiction and nonfiction. They publish mainly in print but have electronic options as well. They are a major independent publishing house that has a number of imprints. They publish everything from mystery to self-help books.

Kensington Press

This large independent publisher is based out of New York. They publish a wide variety of mainstream fiction and nonfiction books, with a particular focus on romance, but they also publish many other genres, including mystries. They publish an average of 600 books a year, so they accept a lot more submissions than most independent publishers.

Brash Books
Brash Books publishes psychological thrillers, murder mysteries, international espionage, and police procedural. The publishing company is run by two best-selling mystery novelists. They publish emerging and established authors.

Legend Press
Legend Press is a UK-based independent press open to direct and agented submissions. They publish contemporary fiction and crime fiction (largely psychological and political thrillers).

Hard Case Crime
Hard Case Crime is a well-respected and established niche publisher of hard-boiled crime novels. The publisher has been featured in a number of respected publications, including Time Magazine and The Stranger.

Felony & Mayhem
Felony & Mayhem is a print mystery book publisher founded in 2005, with a fairly good distribution network in brick and mortar bookstores. They initially focused only on re-issuing books that had fallen out of print, releasing books in paperback that only had hardback editions, and publishing books that had only been published outside of the US. Although that remains the bulk of their business, they opened to general submissions in 2011.

One More Chapter
One More Chapter, HarperCollins UK’s award-winning digital-first publisher, is currently open to submissions. They focus on publishing commercial fiction. Because they are a digital-first publisher, even though they are based in the UK, their eBooks are accessible globally. They don’t have any mentioned geographic limitations in terms of submitting authors either, which is why we are reviewing them. They publish mystery books along with other genres. They are generally open for submissions in the winter.

Tell-Tale Publishing
Tell-Tale Publishing is a small press founded in 2009. They seem to focus primarily on eBooks but also they have print options (largely print on demand). They publish six imprints which include Dahlia (romance, and various romance subgenres), Stargazer (fantasy, steampunk), Nightshade (horror), Casablanca (mystery), Thistle (middle school, YA, New Adult), and Deja Vu (reprints for all genres).

Encircle Publications
Encircle Publications is a small press that focuses primarily on publishing mainstream fiction and mystery novels. But they also publish some other genres, including poetry. They’ve only been around since 2016, but they’ve published a fair number of books at this point.

Level Best Books
They are interested the crime fiction in the following categories: mystery, thriller, suspense, historical, traditional, and contemporary.

Joffe Books
They publish a number of genres but their primary interests include thrillers, mysteries, and detective stories. They are a small UK-based e-publisher.

Fahrenheit Press
Fahrenheit Press is a publisher that focuses on publishing thrillers and crime novels. They are not interested in any books outside of these genres. They are a print and eBook Publisher.

The Permanent Press
The Permanent Press is an established small press. They only publish adult fiction with a focus on mystery and general/literary fiction. They have published a number of successful, ongoing mystery series. They are run by a husband and wife team, Judith & Martin Shepard.

Camel Press
Camel Press is the genre imprint of Coffeetown Press, which in turn is owned by Epicenter Press. Camel Press publishes genre work, focusing primary on mystery, including the following sub-genres: suspense, cozy mystery, mystery thrillers, and romantic suspense. They also publish romance, both contemporary and historical, and will consider general fiction, historical fiction and westerns, particularly if the author has a strong promotional plan.

Verve Books
Verve Books is the new digital-first imprint of No Exit Press. No Exit Press is one of the top UK-based mystery publishers, and they are not open to direct submissions. Verve Books is temporarily closed to new unagented submissions.

Hera
Hera is a new female-led, independent digital publisher. They focus exclusively on publishing commercial books, including works psychological suspense, police procedural, and thrillers, to romance, and glamorous contemporary fiction.

Crooked Lane
Crooked Lane was established in 2014 as a press specializing in crime books. They are distributed through Penguin Random House. They have an experienced staff and have managed to publish some well-known authors already. They publish a range of mysteries that lean towards the cozy, and they are not opposed to publishing a series of books. You can see their catalog here.

Stairway Press
Stairway Press publishes and markets literary books in a variety of genres including science, science fiction, short stories, political essays, literary thrillers and adventure books. They are not interested in young adult or children books. Their main focus is quality writing. Although a number of the books I looked at I would not describe as literary, even in the context of genre.  They also have published a number of right wing nonfiction books. You can get a better feel for what they publish by browsing their catalog here.

Bold Strokes Books
Bold Strokes publishes books that fall under the LGBTQ umbrella including literary fiction, romance novels, young-adult novels, genre novels (including crime/suspense, mystery, intrigue/thriller), and works of nonfiction. The only genre of books they do not appear to publish is poetry.

Page Street Publishing
They have good distribution and are open to mystery books in the young adult genre.

Carina Press
Carina Press is Harlequin’s digital-first adult fiction imprint, publishing first in digital, and then depending on the numbers, releasing audio and print versions as well. Unlike most of Harlequin’s imprints they don’t just focus on romance, although they are open to all sub-genres of romance, including contemporary, paranormal, LGBTQ+, and science fiction. They also publish mysteries of all flavors—from cozies to thrillers, with and without romantic elements.

Blind Eye Books
Blind Eye Books publishes science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and romance novels featuring LGBTQ protagonists. They are a print publisher and their book covers are beautifully designed and really stand out. The books they have published have won and been nominated for a number of awards, including the Lambda.

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. They publish a wide range of genres including mystery (including thrillers and cozies), upmarket, thriller, suspense, and young adult.

Bella Books
Bella Books is a press focused on publishing stories about lesbian, queer, bisexual, and gender non-conforming community and they are interested in acquiring manuscripts that involve these stories across all genres, including romance, mystery, thriller, paranormal, etc.

CamCat Books
CamCat Books is a small independent publisher that was founded in 2019. Since that time they have published 22 titles, and they have a number of titles already scheduled as coming soon for 2021. This is a lot of titles for such a new company. They publish a wide range of genres, including mysteries and thrillers.

Severn River Publishing
According to their website Severn River Publishing “was founded by military veterans and family members who shared a love of story.” They were founded in 2018, and focus on publishing thrillers and mysteries, but are also open to submissions of historical fiction.

Red Dog Press
Red Dog Press is a print and digital publisher based in Cheshire UK. All the books they publish are available in both formats. They are a small press that specializes in publishing thrillers, crime stories, and mysteries. They are also open to select romance and sci-fi stories, but only if the story breaks traditional molds.


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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