Aspiring authors, we know that it can be disheartening to look out into the abyss of potential publishing houses and only see the same old phrase, “no unsolicited manuscripts accepted.” These days many of the major publishing houses rely on their ties with literary agents and in-house promotions to find new authors. But don’t despair; today we’ve come up with a list of nine places — from off-the-beaten path publishers to special back doors of the big-name houses — that would welcome your query letter, manuscript or submission.
SohoTeen: SohoTeen is teaming up with Figment for the “Who Done It?” Alibi Contest. Young readers ages 13-18 are being asked to write a 500-1,000-word alibi for why they did not murder editor Herman Mildew. In addition to winning their freedom, one teen will also win $1,000 and a review of their writing by agent Suzie Townsend of the New Leaf Literary Agency — plus an invite to an exclusive NYC party! To get the full backstory about the crime, as well as the rules and how to enter the contest, visit the Figment website.
Harlequin Mira: Have you always dreamed of being part of Harlequin, the world’s largest romance publisher? Editor Erika Imrany from Harlequin’s Mira imprint — which normally doesn’t take unsolicited submissions — is willing to read your short e-mail query and will answer if interested. What is Erika looking for? Strong plots, multifaceted female protagonists and stories with a literary appeal that will go over well with a mainstream audience. (Please no chick lit or light mysteries.) You can learn more about Harlequin’s Mira line here.
Harper Voyager: Do you have a science fiction or fantasy manuscript complete and ready to go? HarperCollins’ Harper Voyager imprint will be accepting unsolicited submissions for 2 weeks only! Starting October 1, the publisher will be looking for fresh new talent to add to their roster of big name authors. If you’ve got an outstanding speculative fiction story — adult or YA — consider submitting for an opportunity that will only last until October 14. And when it’s gone, it’s gone! Learn more about Harper Voyager’s submissions guidelines and how to submit here.
Tor.com: Or perhaps your speculative fiction story is looking for a digital home. In that case, consider submitting your prose to Tor.com! If you're a new author with an out of this world story less than 12,000, Tor.com’s editors would love to read it. They prefer that authors send in one story at a time and are open to original work that falls under their broad umbrella definition of “speculative fiction.” To learn about what they’re specifically looking for, how much they pay and how to send them your unusual tale, visit the Tor.com website here.
Still Moments: If you’ve got a hot romance story laced with mystery, intrigue and a touch of danger, Still Moments might be the right publisher for you. But romantic suspense isn’t the only subgenre this publisher is interested in. If you’ve got a love story perfect for e-release, whether it’s a short story or a full-length novel, consider sending it to Still Moments editors for review. You can read their full guidelines, which include some very detailed information about what they’re looking for, and learn how to send in your story here.
Renaissance Publishing: Looking for another romance e-publisher to send your story to? If you’ve got a happily ever after tale that will delight readers, Renaissance Publishing currently has open calls for their YA anthology, holiday anthology, spring season anthology and more! So whether your love story is a coming of age tale or takes place during a festive time of year, send along your short story for consideration. You can learn more about this publisher’s open calls and learn how to submit your writing here.
Cleis Press: When it comes to erotica, editor and author Rachel Kramer Bussel knows what it takes to keep readers happy. Bussel is currently accepting submissions for two of her Cleis Press anthologies: one featuring super short stories about orgasms and the other with a focus on anal sex. If you’ve got a short, steamy read that you feel would fit perfectly in either of these collections, visit the author’s website for information on how to submit. Bussel’s site also contains helpful tips for how to improve your erotica writing.
Resplendence Publishing: Several of Resplendence Publishing’s lines are currently looking to get their hands on new short fiction. If you’ve written a bite-size paranormal tale, short story featuring law enforcement heroes and/or heroines, or a quick, modern retelling of a classic fairy tale, you’re in luck! What if you’ve got a story that contains all three themes? Well, you’ll have to consult the publisher on that one. You can read more about each of these specific calls here and read Resplencense’s full submission guidelines here.
Kensington: Have you heard about Kensington’s new digital first imprint? This summer, New York City’s largest privately owned publisher launched eKensington, an e-book imprint that plans on releasing between three and six original and reprint titles each month. Editorial director Alicia Condon is heading this new project and is accepting submissions from agented and unagented authors. You can learn more about eKensington and what kinds of stories they release here and if you think you’ve got a story fit for eKensington, e-mail Alicia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did we miss one of your favorite places to submit work? Let us know in the comments below. For more suggestions of establishments that may be a good fit for your manuscript you can check out our Agents List or our Publishers List. And of course, you can always find author advice, writing tips and more here!