Hey there! I know many of my readers aspire to publishing a novel, and many of them write fantasy and science fiction, so I put this post together to help them. I did a post like this a couple of years back, but it needed updating!
Many publishing houses won’t accept submissions except through agents. If an author’s hoping for a big book deal, it probably makes sense to try to find an agent first. (And don’t submit to publishers while you’re looking for an agent. If someone is considering representing you, it’s going to be awkward to explain to them that four publishers have already turned you down.) Signing with a great agent can feel like winning the lottery, but even then, it can be a long road to the contract of your dreams.
But what if you haven’t been able to find an agent? Or you suspect what you’re writing is a little weirder or more niche than what agents are looking for, or if you’re just in a hurry?
Here’s a roundup of publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts. Most of them are smaller houses, but a few are pretty big names. I’m including publishing houses that have open calls now and again, even if they’re not open to unagented submissions at the moment.
I haven’t done extensive research on these houses, so you should do that yourself before signing anything with them. If you know of a reason I should not include a publisher on this list, or if you believe I should add a publisher, please notify me via a private message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The name of each publisher below is a live link to their submission guidelines. If a publisher isn’t asking for your type of work, don’t bother submitting. For instance, if they say they want novels of 80,000 words or more, don’t send them your 20,000-word novella. It’s a waste of their time and yours…and a writer’s time is precious!
If you’ve got what they are looking for, follow the submission guidelines exactly! This will set you apart from about half of the submissions right out of the gate.