Written by Emily Harstone January 13th, 2022

Opportunities Open to Submissions From Historically Under-Represented Voices this January

This is a new list we are trying, consisting of publishers that otherwise meet our guiding principles, but are only open to submissions from historically under-represented writers, or are only open to free submissions from these writers. Some of these publications are open to a wide range of writers they define as historically under-represented, including writers of color, gender non-conforming and LGBTQ+ writers, and those living with disabilities. Some have limited definitions and are only interested in work by Black authors. I try to make it as clear as possible who the publisher is seeking work from.

This was originally titled “marginalized authors” (and it’s still in the URL because I can’t change that without breaking the link), with a note that I was seeking a better term, because I was aware of issues with the word “marginalized”. A very thoughtful and educated reader suggested this alternative which works much better and we will be using going forward. We are very grateful.

Stillhouse Press
“Stillhouse Press is committed to publishing work from voices often excluded from traditional publishing, including writers of color, gender non-conforming and LGBTQ writers, and those living with disabilities. To create an accessible platform for marginalized voices, we offer fee-free submissions to writers who request a fee waiver via our contact form.”

They are currently open to submissions of Nonfiction/Memoir, not including essay collections, and fiction. No deadline is listed.

Alternating Currents
A small publisher that charges a 6.99 submission fee for all authors except Black and Native American writers. Please note  that they close submissions when they reach their monthly Submittable submissions cap. Submit early in the month.

A small poetry press that publishes work of varying length. Submitting shorter work is free for everyone, but submitting poetry manuscripts is free only for poets who identify as Black. They are always open to these submissions.

We’ve reviewed Sourcebooks here, and their adult nonfiction imprint and their romance imprint are always open to all submissions, but they also deserve to be on this list because their fiction imprint, their mystery imprint, their  young adult imprint, and three of their children’s book imprints, all say “Our submissions are currently CLOSED to unagented projects, with the exception of works that directly promote diversity, equality and inclusion. For more information please email InclusiveFiction@Sourcebooks.com.”

So if you have work that matches that description in those genres, please reach out to them.

Peepal Tree Press
Peepal Tree Press is a little different than the opportunities listed above, because it has limited submissions overall rather than just a free reading period. Peepal Tree only publishes international writing from the Caribbean, it’s diasporas, and Black British writers. It is the world’s leading publisher of Caribbean and Black British writing. They publish around 15 titles a year, and have published many respected books over the years.

VS Books
This is a mentoring opportunity for writers who fit the following description:

If you are an unpublished writer living in Canada who is Indigenous, Black, or a person of colour and who is fifty or older”. Please note that self publishing work does not count as long as the manuscript you are submitting is unpublished. They close to submissions on April 15th, 2022.

The recipient of the mentor-ship will receive the following:

  • regular editorial feedback and writing support on your manuscript from me in person or via Skype meetings

  • advice and support relating to the writing process, grant-writing, CV-writing, social media, promotion, organization, self-motivation, the publishing process, touring, performing, and anything else that might be pertinent (e.g., informal conversations about art, process, the intersection of art with gender, sexuality, race & religion)

  • a publishing contract with Arsenal Pulp Press & VS. Books, with a $1,500 CAD royalty advance and book release slated for Fall 2023.

  • my assistance in developing a marketing plan (alongside Arsenal Pulp Press’s marketing team)

  • my assistance with booking and organizing a launch event

  • a one-month post-publishing debrief period with me to brainstorm future goal


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