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 ten 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.
Carina Press: Executive Editor Angela James recently put out a call for a contemporary romance trilogy or series. Apparently, James had such a great time with Shannon Stacey's Kowalski Family series, that she wants more, more, more! James says she is looking for each book to be around 70,000 words, but novella lengths are also welcome. As are steamy erotica, paranormal and urban fantasy tales. Get the specifics here.
Lyrical Press: Primarily an e-book publisher, Lyrical Press is currently interested in taking on new novels, particularly in the erotica, urban fantasy and young adult genres. They are also looking for compelling tales across the romance and erotica subgenres, such as fantasy, horror, science fiction and mystery. Lyrical Press will also consider self-published or previously published works that have been out of print for at least one year. For more details, click here.
Ellora's Cave Erotica: This publisher is seeking several different types of tales, so this is a stop that you should definitely check out if you've written a story that is between 18,000 - 70,000 words in length featuring any of the following: tattoos, sexy spell weavers, bounty hunters and married couples exploring their sexuality. The publisher is also seeking stories written for male readers. These tales should have male POV and realistic male wording and dialogue. Learn more about all the different types of stories this publisher is interested in acquiring here.
Harlequin Heartwarming: Do you love to write tales that can be enjoyed by mothers, daughters and grandmothers? If so, be sure to check out this new Harlequin imprint. They are searching for stories that are wholesome, with strong elements of romance, family and community. So nothing with violence, profanity and explicit or pre-marital sex. These tales should not contain explicit religious or Christian content either, instead these are stories that are simply feel-good reads which emotional conflict between characters. Get all the details about exactly what this publisher is looking for here.
The Apocryphile Press: Contribute to this Californian press’ anthology of short horror stories. If you have written a chilling quick read — with a word count of 1,000 words or fewer — then the genre does not matter as long as the content is likely to inspire nightmares. Find out exactly how to submit your work by clicking here.
Science Fiction Trails: If you've written a sci-fi story that is set in the Wild West (between 1850 - 1900), which is historically accurate and contains both strong leading characters and intriguing elements of science fiction, then this annual print magazine would like to see your submission. They are interested in original work; fan fic stories will not fit this bill. Your tale should be between 1,000 - 7,000 words long, and if your work is accepted the magazine will pay $20 per story. Learn more here.
Cigale Literary Magazine: If you write short stories that feature a multidimensional character that interacts with his or her landscape, Cigale might be the perfect home for your tale. They pride themselves on being, “dedicated to the continuity of art as a tradition, to literature that aesthetically explores universal themes: through innovation, through allusion, through metaphor.” If your tale is approximately 6,000 words, (or clocks in around 1,000 words, for their short stories category) then be sure to check out their submissions guidelines here.
Writer’s Bloc: You can send your short fiction, poetry, essays and more to Texas A&M University-Kingsville’s only literary magazine. This year’s publication is now looking for submissions and they are interested in both their own student body and talented writers from around the globe. Learn more here.
Defenestration: If you love to write stories that leave your audience cracking up long after they’ve finished your work, this literary magazine would like to see your work. You can submit your short stories or poetry until April 5. They are also looking for nonfiction mock nonfiction and art. Find out exactly how to submit here.
Crashtest: Young writers in grades 9 - 12 can submit their stories, poetry and creative non-fiction to this online literary magazine. They are currently in need of “writing that has both a perspective and personality.” So if you know a talented teen who is interested in publishing, submissions can be sent as a .doc or .rtf attachment and an email query to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Book Ends, LLC: Because getting published often starts with finding the right agent, we also wanted to let aspiring authors know that literary agent Lauren is looking for romance stories in any subgenre, literary fiction, YA and middle grade reads, cozy-style mysteries, women’s fiction with a literary bent and decidedly intelligent chick lit. (Lauren suggests for this last one, think The Devil Wears Prada.) She is also interested in non-fiction from previously published authors with a large following. You can learn more about the specifics that she’s interested in here.
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 Publishers List.