Written by Emily Harstone

The Top 40 Publishers for New Authors

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 It is important to note that no legitimate established presses specifically look for unpublished authors.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. 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. To learn more read our full review.

3. 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.

4. Berkley
Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House, that publishes mainstream genre fiction has started hosting one to two open reading periods a year to encourage more diversity in publishing. To learn more go here.

5. Bold Strokes
Bold Strokes Books publishes only LGBTQ+ books. They publish general and genre fiction. They offer advances to their authors. Bold Strokes is interested in publishing books that fall under the LGBTQ+ umbrella including literary fiction, romance novels, young adult novels, genre novels (including science fiction and mystery), and works of non-fiction. To learn more read our 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. Chelsea Green
Is a non-fiction publisher that focuses on publishing books that promote the “politics and practice of sustainable living.” Chelsea Green was founded in 1984. As of 2012 they are employee owned. Their books have won numerous awards, and you can learn more about their history here. Read a full review here.

12. 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.

13. Shambhala Publications
Shambhala Publications is an independent publishing company based in Boulder, Colorado. They are distributed by Penguin Random House Publisher Services. They were founded in 1969 and “is dedicated to creating books, audio, and immersive courses aimed at improving lives—in ways big and small—in the hope of contributing to the development of a thoughtful, kindhearted, and contemplative society”. They also publish an imprint focused on reaching children. Learn more here.

14. 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.

16. Santa Monica Press
Santa Monica Press was established in 1993 and initially focused only on publishing non-fiction with a focus on regional books. They’ve since expanded, and they now publish within the follow categories: Biography & Memoir, California, Film, Theater, & TV, Humor, Music, Pop Culture, Reference & Social Sciences, Sports, Travel as well as Young Adult Fiction (Historical Fiction only), and Young Adult Narrative Non-Fiction (both Contemporary and Historical Narrative Non-Fiction). To learn more go here.

17. 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. Learn more here.

18. TCK Publishing
TCK Publishing describes themselves by saying: “We publish fiction and non-fiction eBooks, print books, and audio books in all major genres and niches.” To learn more, read our full review here.

19. 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.

20. 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. 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.

22. 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.

23. 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.

24. 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.

26. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Founded in 1911 and located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company is an independent publisher of religious books. They have a large range, including academic books and reference works in theology, biblical studies, and religious history to popular titles in spirituality, social and cultural criticism, as well as literature. Not all of their books, particularly their children’s books, are overtly religious. To learn more, read our full review here.

27. Polis Books
Polis Books is an independent publisher of fiction and nonfiction, founded in 2013. Their focus is on publishing new voices. They are a technologically driven company. They publish print and digital books. Polis Books was founded by Jason Pinter. Mr. Pinter had over a decade of experience in editorial, marketing and publicity for a variety of publishers including Random House, St. Martin’s Press, and The Mysterious Press. You can submit here.

28. Quirk Books
This Philadelphia-based press publishes just 25 books a year in a whole range of genres, from children’s books to nonfiction to science fiction. Unlike many publishers that tackle a large range of topics, Quirk Books has a clear marketing plan and to a certain degree their books have a cohesive feel, because they all are quirky. To learn more, read our full review here.

29. Albert Whitman & Company
Albert Whitman & Company has been around since 1919. Their best-known series is The Boxcar Children. Over the past few years they have started to focus on publishing a larger number of books each year. Their goal is to be publishing 150 new books a year by 2020. They publish middle-grade fiction, picture books, and young adult novels. They consider proposals and unsolicited manuscripts in all of these categories. They publish fiction and nonfiction picture books. To learn more, read our full review here.

30. Page Street Publishing
Page Street Publishing is a publisher of full color, mostly hardcover, gift books, cookbooks, and craft books, children’s books, and young adult fiction. Most of them have an important visual component. To get a good feel for what they have published in the past, you can go here. They are distributed through Macmillan in every country but Canada (where they have a different distributor). They publish around 60 titles a year. To learn more, read our full review here.

31. CamCat Books
CamCat Books is an independent publisher that was founded in 2019. They were founded by Sue Arroyo, an entrepreneur who sold her previous business, Trident Technologies, to start CamCat. CamCat Books publishes novel-length genre fiction aimed at adults as well as young adults. To learn more go here.

32. Crooked Lane
Crooked Lane was established in 2014 as a press specializing in crime books. 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. To learn more, read our full review here.

33. Beacon Press
Beacon Press is an established publisher of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. However they are only open to direct submissions of nonfiction proposals. Works of fiction, poetry, and self help, will not be considered. To learn more go here.

34. Square One Publishers
Square One Publishers focuses on publishing adult nonfiction books. They are looking for books by authors that are experts in their field. Their books are focused on meeting the needs of niche audiences. They are not a publisher of bestsellers, they have a specific market/markets and they cater to them. Read our full review here.

35. Storey Publishing
The mission of Storey Publishing is to provide practical information that encourages independence in a way that is harmonious with the environment. The books they publish encourage and instruct readers of all ages of ways to enrich their lives through hands-on activities and experiences. All of what they publish is nonfiction and they covered such varied topics as home reference, crafts, beer & wine, raising animals, homesteading, and mind/body/spirit. Read our full review here.

36. The Story Plant
The Story Plant was founded in 2008 by two editors with industry experience, Lou Aronica and Peter Miller. In 2013 they were acquired by Studio Digital CT, LLC, a limited liability company headed by Lou Aronica. It is now run by Aronica and Mitchell Maxwell. To learn more go here.

37. Prometheus Books
Prometheus Books is a large established publisher of what they like to call “intelligent nonfiction.” They specialize in publishing nonfiction books that fall into the following categories: popular science, philosophy, atheism, humanism, and critical thinking. They used to run two imprints but recently sold them to Start Media. Read our full review here.

38. Arcade Publishing
Arcade Publishing is an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing, a large independent publisher with a number of imprints. They have good distribution. They publish nonfiction and fiction. Read our full review here.

39. Sapare Books
A digital publisher 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 submit unpublished manuscripts or out-of-print titles. Learn more here.

40. Microcosm 
Microcosm is a Portland-based publisher that specializes in nonfiction DIY (Do-It-Yourself) goods that focus on the reader and teach self-empowerment. They are on Powell’s 24 of Our Favorite Small Presses list. The authors they publish have to have expertise and lived experience in the subject area they write about. Read the full review here.


Bio: Emily Harstone is the pen name of an author whose work has been published internationally by a number of respected journals. She is a professional submissions adviser. You can follow her on Facebook here.

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