The Top 25 Publishers for New Authors

Written by Emily Harstone

Updated October 20th, 2020 The writing market can be overwhelming, particularly for new authors who do not have a history of past publication. It is important to note that no legitimate established presses specifically look for unpublished authors. The presses on this list were chosen because they have published a number of debut books before. Also, the publishers on this list do not require literary agents. You can submit to these publishers directly. It is always helpful to create a history of previous publications of short fiction or poetry by submitting to literary journals. To learn more about submitting to literary journals, you can download our free eBook on the subject here. All 40 of these manuscript publishers have good distribution and clear marketing strategies. They are not vanity presses, self-publishers, or brand new presses. They are established publishing houses with good reputations. Some of the publishers listed below are imprints of the “Big 5” publishers. None of the “Big 5” accept submissions directly, but some of their imprints do. Others are independent companies, some are based in the US and others are based in the UK or elsewhere. All the publishers listed below are open to authors regardless of nationality. Most of the publishers focus on publishing a particular genre or genres of books. The publishers are listed in no particular order. Our full reviews of the publishers include more detailed submission information and links to the publishing company’s websites and submission guidelines. Not all of them are open submissions at this time, but many are. It is good to bookmark the websites of publishers you are interested in that are not currently open to submissions, and to check back regularly, if they do not overtly state when they will re-open to submissions.
  1. Chronicle Books Chronicle is a large independent San Francisco-based publisher that publishes highly acclaimed children’s books, bestselling cookbooks, gift books, and a variety of nonfiction. Most have a strong visual element. Their books are beautifully made. To learn more, read our full review here.
  2. Baen Baen is a publisher of science fiction and fantasy novels. They have published a large number of bestsellers, and many of the most respected science fiction and fantasy novelists regularly publish with them. To learn more, read our review of Baen.
  3. Shadow Mountain Shadow Mountain is an imprint of Deseret Books. Shadow Mountain publishes primarily fiction and they have published a number of New York Times bestselling books. Many of the authors and books they publish have nothing to do with Mormonism. To learn more, read our full review here.
  4. 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. To learn more, read our full review here.
  5. DAW DAW is an imprint of Penguin books. They publish science fiction and fantasy books, and have published authors such as Marion Zimmer Bradley and Roger Zelazny. DAW has published many bestselling books and has published Hugo Award winning books. Read the full review here.
  6. 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 and have a number of imprints. Read the full review here.
  7. Persea Books This is a respected publisher of literary novels and short story collections, creative nonfiction, memoir, essays, biography, literary criticism, books on contemporary issues (multicultural, feminist, LGBTQI+), young adult novels, and literary and multicultural anthologies that are assigned in secondary and university classrooms, as well as poetry. The work they publish receives good distribution, particularly in academic circles. To learn more, read our full review here.
  8. SourceBooks A large independent publisher based out of Illinois, they also have offices in Connecticut and New York. They are open to unsolicited submissions for a wide range of genres, from nonfiction to romance. Read our full review here.
  9. Arsenal Pulp Press They are a Canadian small press based out of Vancouver. They have won the Jim Douglas Publisher of the Year Award (from the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia), and they have been a finalist for Small Press Publisher of the Year (awarded by the Canadian Booksellers Association) five times. They publish fiction and nonfiction. Read our full review here.
  10. Coffee House Prsss Coffee House Press  (CHP) is a respected literary press with a great reputation. They are only open for short submission periods every year in March and September. These periods are capped at 300 submissions, so submit early. During the last open period, they had reached 300 submissions on the third day. 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. Read our full review here.
  11. Flashlight Press Flashlight is an award winning publisher of illustrated children’s books. They publish books aimed at 4-8-year-olds. They only publish 2-4 books every year, so they are very selective. Their books are beautifully illustrated, and also receive good distribution internationally and nationally. Read the full review here.
  12. Oneworld Publishing An independent publisher founded in 1986, they now publish around 100 works of nonfiction and literary fiction every year. They work with distributors and authors worldwide, although they are only open to unsolicited submissions of nonfiction. Read the full review here. 15.  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. In 2009 they were bought by McEvoy Group. They are now a sister company to Chronicle Books. Read the full review here.
  13. Black & White Publishing Black & White Publishing was founded in 1995 and is now one of the largest Scottish publishers. They currently have over 200 books in print. They have good distributor and are starting to break into the eBook publishing world. They publish general nonfiction, biography, sport, and humor, as well as fiction — commercial women’s fiction (e.g. chick lit, saga, romance), general fiction, including historical, commercial literary and contemporary, crime and psychological thrillers, and young adult / new adult fiction. Read our full review here.
  14. McSweeney’s McSweeney’s was founded in 1998 by Dave Eggers. They publish literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. They originally started out publishing a literary magazine, and now they are responsible for a number of publications, online and off, as well as podcasts, and books. They are based out of San Fransisco. Learn more here.
  15. The Quarto Publishing Group The Quarto Publishing Group is an international publishing house known for its illustrated books. They publish most of their work through a number of niche imprints, each with their own focus. All of their US imprints are distributed by Hachette. Their imprints are all nonfiction. They publish a lot of cookbooks and gift books. They also have imprints covering almost any nonfiction topic you can think of, including children’s nonfiction, parenting, vehicles and architecture. To learn more, read our full review here.
  16. Holiday House Holiday House is an established and reputable children’s book publishers. Holiday House has been around for over 75 years. They publish picture books as well as books aimed at children grades 1-3, grades 4-6, and grades 7 and up. They are based out of New York City. They have published many well known books and authors, including Kenneth Grahame. The books that they have published have won numerous respected awards and honors. To read our full review go here.
  17. Penny Candy Books Penny Candy Books is a publishing company focused on children’s picture books that was founded in 2015 by two poets who met in graduate school. It is a newer company but they seem off to a good start with interviews in various established publications. Their plan from here on out is to publish 5-8 books a year. Read our full review here. 21. Bookouture A digital publisher that was purchased in 2017 by Hachette. They primarily publish women’s fiction, chick lit, romance, and thrillers. Learn more here.
  18. Chicago Review Press Chicago Review Press was founded over 40 years ago. They are an established independent publisher of literary fiction, nonfiction and memoir. They also publish books for children (but not picture books). They were founded by Curt Matthews and his wife, Linda Matthews. Curt was the former editor of the literary journal the Chicago Review. To learn more, read the full review here.
  19. Coffeetown Press Coffeetown Press is a literary and non-fiction imprint owned by Epicenter Press. They primarily publish non-fiction, as well as memoir, literary fiction, and historical fiction. Learn more here.
  20. Gibbs Smith Gibbs Smith is an established publisher with good distribution and a focus on cookbooks, interior design and architecture books, and board books for children. They have published a number of bestsellers, including a board book version of Pride & Prejudice. Gibbs Smith is primarily a nonfiction publisher which is just now entering the fiction market for adults and middle readers. To learn more, read our full review here. 25. Harlequin
Harlequin is easily the most famous romance only publisher out there. In fact, their name was synonymous with romance novel when I was growing up. They have wide distribution, from grocery stores to bookstores. They are everywhere. You can learn more here.

 

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