Written by Emily Harstone November 27th, 2023

47 Romance Publishers Open to Direct Submission

For the first few years of Authors Publish, even though I only reviewed romance publishers that were over a year old, I had no lack of options in terms of romance publishers to review. They were the easiest genre to find publishers open to direct submissions, other than those focused on non-fiction. Particularly in 2016 and 2017 the number of publishers seemed almost endless, than after a year of slower growth in 2018, the market quickly started to shrink. In 2018 this list contained 40 publishers,  in 2019 it contained 33.

Part of this great swing in numbers was because of diminished eBook sales and part of this is the fact that there were too many romance publishers for the market to support.

Now it’s up to 47, although some of the presses included in this list were open the whole time, we simply had not reviewed them yet.

This is the first time since 2019 I’ve updated the list. This wasn’t because I was so disheartened by the shrinkage of the market – or because it has since grown again, but because I have a lot of lists to keep up to date every year, and this one has previously not been as actively requested as others. But in the last six months there have been a number of requests for an update.

In this list there are traditional print publishers, established romance stalwarts, up and coming eBook publishers, and everything in between. We do not review publishers who have been around for less than a year. So all of these publishers have at least a small track record. If the imprints are distinct enough we list them separately. Harlequin has a lot of imprints, although not all of them are listed here.

These publishers offer traditional book contracts, and a number of them offer advances. To learn more about the publisher, click on the link in their name; most of these link to our full review. The full review contains information about submission guidelines and links to their website.

Some of the publishers only publish romance, but many are also open to erotica. Some are only focused on YA but most publish adult romance primarily. The list is in no particular order, although I have tried to group publishers and their imprints together.

Most of the publishers contained in the list are currently open to submissions, but not all of them are. So make sure to check on the publisher’s site before submitting.

Not all of these publishers website are something most people would feel comfortable opening at work, so please keep that in mind.

Harlequin is easily the most famous romance-only publisher out there. In fact, their name was synonymous with romance novels when I was growing up. They have wide distribution, from grocery stores to bookstores. They are everywhere. Most of the famous romance writers got their start at Harlequin. They were acquired by HarperCollins a number of years ago.

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 subgenres of romance, including contemporary, erotic, paranormal and urban fantasy, and science fiction.

Afterglow Books
Afterglow Books is a new imprint of Harlequin. Their tagline for Afterglow books is “From showing up to glowing up, these characters are on the path to leading their best lives and finding sizzling romance along the way.” This is how the editors describe what the new imprint is seeking: “Depth, relatability and sizzling spice, too: these characters are determined to live their best lives — and find the romance that makes them feel seen, unapologetically. In the pages of Afterglow Books, characters from all walks of life, all types of diverse identities, will pursue their dreams and discover love isn’t far behind. Because everyone deserves a happily ever after that’s true to who they are.”

Mills & Boon
Mills & Boon is a romance imprint of British publisher Harlequin UK, and like Harlequin in the US, it is now an imprint of HarperCollins. Mills & Boon was founded in 1908 by Gerald Rusgrove Mills and Charles Boon as a general publisher, and it has gone through a lot of changes over the years, but it has always focused on publishing romance novels.

Love Inspired
Love Inspired is an imprint of Harlequin that focuses on the Christian romance market. They describe themselves as publishing “Contemporary inspirational romances that feature Christian characters facing the many challenges of life and love in today’s world.”

Love Inspired Suspense
Love Inspired Suspense is an imprint of Harlequin that focuses on publishing work where romance and suspense are both major elements. They describe the work they publish as “Edge-of-the-seat, contemporary romantic suspense tales of intrigue and romance featuring Christian characters facing challenges to their faith…and to their lives”.

Mirror World
Mirror World bills itself as a publisher of “escapism fiction  for all ages”. They publish both eBooks and paperbacks in a variety of genres, many that fall under the larger speculative fiction umbrella including portal fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, science fiction and paranormal works. They are also open to romance, adventure, comedy, historical, and cross genre/multi genre work. Please read their full guidelines before submitting as they have a lot of specifics they are seeking in terms of genres.

This digital-first publishing house only publishes works of historical fiction with a clear focus on romance. Within the historical romance genre they are open to most subgenres including: Viking, Regency, Georgian, Tudor, Highlander, Medieval, Victorian, Roman, Civil War, Restoration, Edwardian, etc. They are interested in anything pre-20th century except Westerns and Amish. They are also open to time travel, historical fiction, historical fantasies, and historical mysteries as long as their is a romance component that ends happily ever after. They are open to M/M, F/F, M/F, LGBTQIA pairings.

Ylva Publishing
Ylva Publishing is the home of lesbian fiction and fiction about women-loving-women, and not surprisingly given the context, they only publish women. They mainly publish romance genre, but they are open to other genres, including historical fiction, crime, action, mystery, young adult, and erotica.

Sourcebooks Casablanca
Sourcebooks is a major independent publisher in the US whom we have reviewed here. Sourcebooks was founded in 1987, and in 1996 Sourcebooks Casablanca joined the family. Three other imprints followed. They have major distribution and good covers. they are always open  to unagented romance fiction for their Casablanca imprint. They are looking for strong writers that are excited about marketing books and building communities of readers, and whose stories have something fresh to offer within the genre. They publish romances that fall within the following subgenres: paranormal romance, romantic suspense, contemporary romance, erotic romance, and historical romance (prior to 1900).

One More Chapter
HarperCollins UK’s award-winning digital-first publisher, considers submissions of romance including work that is spicy, romantic suspense, romantic comedy, and erotica.

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!”

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.

Decadent Publishing
Decadent Publishing is only interested in publishing romance fiction. They are open to fiction of any heat level (they define their heat levels as part of their submission guidelines) and most sub-genres of romance. Some of what they have published can be definitively classified as erotic romance.

Deep Desires
Deep Desires is a press that publishes romance and erotic romance. Deep Desires Press was founded 2016 by a group of authors and editors, including bestselling erotica author Cameron D. James, in addition to editors that have worked on bestselling erotica and erotic romance books. The founders also have substantial self-publishing experience.

Deep Hearts
Deep Hearts YA is a new publisher of fiction for young adults. They focus on publishing LBGTQ+ stories, in all genres and sub-genres, including aro and ace lead characters. They are primary a romance publisher, but romance does not have to be the main focus of the manuscript if self-empowerment or self-realization plays a central role.

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.

Vinspire Publishing
This romance publisher is currently only open to unagented submissions of romances with mature heroes and heroines. Which is to say the main characters should be over the age of 45.

Alcove Press
Alcove Press is a new imprint of the established publisher Crooked Lane (which is owned by Bookspan). Alcove Press is focused on publishing upmarket Book Club fiction that “explores family, friendship, and community”. They are actively trying to publish debut authors as well as established ones. A lot of what they publish falls under the Contemporary Romance umbrella.

Kensington Publishing
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. They publish an average of 600 books a year, so they accept a lot more submissions than most independent publishers.

Lyrical Press
Lyrical Press is an electronic-only imprint of Kensington, a large independent publisher. Kensington and Lyrical both publish mainstream novels and seem to put a fair amount of pressure on the author to promote their books. They publish a large number of books per year.

Shadow Mountain
They only consider historical romance (Regency, Victorian, Edwardian, etc.), and they are open to submissions a few times every year.

Entangled Publishing
They’ve run into a number of issues over the years, which are covered by our review, but they are still one of the largest and most responsive independent romance publishers.

Entangled Teen
Entangled Teen is the YA imprint of Entangled Publishing.

Bold Strokes
Bold Strokes Books publishes only LGBTQ books.  They publish general and genre fiction, with an emphasis on romance. They have great print distribution.

Boroughs Publishing Group
Boroughs Publishing Group is an e-publisher that focuses on publishing romance novels, novellas, and short stories.

Changeling Press
Changeling Press is an eBook Publisher that only publishes erotic fiction targeted at a female audience. However, within that genre they publish many subgenres including Sci-Fi/Futuristic, Dark and Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, BDSM, Action Adventure, and Guilty Pleasures (Adult Contemporary Kink).

Evernight is an eBook publisher of romance and erotica novels that is currently open to submissions from writers. They also publish print versions of some books. They publish a lot of books and have a relatively high acceptance rate. The authors that have published with them have had a mixed experience. A number of the books they have published have been on the Amazon Bestseller list, but rumor suggests that those books tend to be written by the owners.

eXtasy is an eBook publisher that pays 40% royalties to all of their authors. They only publish erotica; however, their imprint Divine Destinies publishes romance books. Although my impression from the Divine Destinies web page is that it is less active.

Bookouture is a digital publisher that was purchased in 2017 by Hachette (you can learn more here). Bookouture was extremely successful in their own right. They started out in the UK but they have outposts in a number of countries now. As of 2018 they’ve sold over 8.5 million copies. They focus on publishing commercial fiction. They primarily publish women’s fiction, romance, thrillers, and chick lit.

Brother Mockingbird
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 recently celebrated their two year anniversary, so they are a new press. They publish a wide range of genres including women’s fiction, historical fiction, romance, mystery (including thrillers and cozies), upmarket, thriller, suspense, science fiction, fantasy, horror, supernatural, and young adult.

Small Town Girl
An imprint of Brother Mockingbird Publishing that publishes a range of fiction including romance, but it must be set in the 1980’s.

The Story Plant
The Story Plant focuses on publishing commercial fiction. They have published a number of USA bestsellers and they cover a whole range of genres, from romance to sci-fi, to mainstream fiction.

Sword and Silk
Sword and Silk bills itself as “a small traditional publisher of a variety of genres focused on uplifting and supporting womxn everywhere.” Most of the books they publish have at the very least a romantic subplot and some are primarily romance.  They are not open to submissions at the time of this update.

Camel Press
Camel Press is the genre imprint of Epicenter Press. Camel Press publishes genre work, focusing primarily 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.

Pelican Book Group
A print and eBook publisher of Christian romance novels. They have a number of imprints and accept unsolicited submissions for all but one of them.

Siren Bookstrand
Siren Bookstrand is a popular publisher of romance and erotica. They only publish books that end happily ever after. They publish many books every year and most authors seem happy with the work that the Siren Bookstrand editors do. They are primarily an electronic publisher, but they also have print editions.

Soul Mate Publishing
Soul Mate is a romance eBook publisher. They encourage authors to blur genre lines and to experiment. They respond to every manuscript submitted correctly, personally. They try to respond to all submissions within 4 weeks.

Bella Books
Bella Books is a press focused on publishing stories about women-loving-women, and they are interested in acquiring manuscripts that involve these stories across all genres, including romance, mystery, thriller, paranormal, etc.

Black Lyon Publishing
Black Lyon Publishing is a small but established publisher of romance novels, eBook and printed, out of Oregon. Some of their books also have audio versions.

City Owl Press
City Owl Press is a publisher of Adult and New Adult Romance and Speculative Fiction. They publish the following sub genres: Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance, Paranormal, and Sci Fi Romance, as well as Romantic Suspense, Time Travel Romance, Dark Fantasy, and Urban Fantasy.

Interlude Press
Interlude Press and Duet Books for YA are boutique publishers of award-winning LGBTQ+ fiction. Books they have published have won including Lambda Literary Awards, IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards, and Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards. They have also gotten lots of press and accolades. They only publish fiction and are interested in a wide array of genres including romance and science fiction although all must feature LGBTQ+ characters and treat ” the readers, the characters, and the community with respect”.

Literary Wanderlust
Literary Wanderlust is a Denver based independent publisher. They were founded in 2014 and they publish print and digital books, including romance.

NineStar Press
NineStar Press is an LGBTQA+ ePublisher based out of New Mexico that was founded in 2015. They primarily publish romance and erotica but are also interested in literary works about characters that are generally under-represented in fiction, for example ace, aro, trans, nonbinary, genderfluid, bi, pan, etc. They are also interested in genre-bending and fusion genres.

Tell-Tale Publishing
Tell-Tale Publishing is a small press founded in 2009. They seem to focus primarily on eBooks but they also 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).

Tule Publishing
Tule Publishing started out as a romance epublisher with multiple imprints. Many of their books have sold well on Amazon. Most books they have published have at least 25 positive reviews. They have published bestselling and award winning authors. They publish a wide variety of romance including western, paranormal, and holiday.

Anaiah Press
Anaiah Press is a Christian digital-first publisher. They publish faith-based fiction and nonfiction. They are a relatively small publishing house. A lot of what they publish falls under the genre of romance.

Emily Harstone is the author of many popular books, including The Authors Publish Guide to Manuscript SubmissionsSubmit, Publish, Repeat, and The 2023 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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