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.
Tor.com wants your poetry and speculative fiction short stories. What does that mean exactly? If you’ve written an original (aka never before published) piece that’s 12,000 words or fewer, and is in the science fiction, fantasy, alternate history or horror genres, Tor.com would like to see it. They are particularly looking for new authors, and a story put out by Tor.com, well, what a way to make the jump from aspiring to published author! Get More Information >>
If you’re looking to get e-published, Harlequin may be the perfect place for your short stories. They are currently accepting works for the Harlequin Historical Undone digital imprint and the Harlequin Nocturne Cravings line. If you’ve written a steamy historical tale that is approximately 14,000 words long, be sure to check out the requirements. Right now they are looking for any romance set in the past, from ancient civilizations all the way up to WWII. Meanwhile, if your story is full of ghouls, goblins and other creatures that go bump in the night — and is between 15,000 to 25,000 words in length, then you should be sure to find out more about the Nocturne Cravings line. Both of these lines are open to submissions from unpublished authors.
Entangled Publishing is opening their proverbial floodgates, on the hunt for tales of know-how and can-do of the mental variety. That’s right, they want original stories about geeks, literally saying that your character can be “anything from a programmer to a starship engineer” — as long as they are impressively endowed in the brains department. Entangled is looking for stories that are between 20,000 and 40,000 words long, which will flesh out a collection. The selected manuscripts will be releases in e-book format during 2012, but hurry, submissions close April 15!
If you’ve got a historical YA with some elements of the supernatural, it may be the perfect fit for a new anthology from Pugalicious Press. Timeless will contain tales about teens in steampunk settings and other fantastical historical situations that are between 3,000 and 7,500 words long. And if your story is selected you’ll make $25 for your short story when Timeless comes out and then 10% royalty in exchange for the first e-book rights and printing rights for two years. For more information click here.
Although it may feel like Christmas was yesterday, or at the very least, a few weeks ago, White Rose Press (which was recently acquired by Pelican Book Group) is already hunting for stories to fill out their Winter Holiday line-up. So if you have a Christmas-centric inspirational novelette between 15,000 and 25,000 words, consider following their submissions guidelines and include the phrase “CHRISTMAS SUBMISSION” in the additional notes section. All submissions must be sent by May 1, 2012.
If your tale is a little bit longer (between 40,000 and 80,000 words), Inkspell Publishing is looking to acquire several sweet romances that will be in stores next winter. These stories may be sweet contemporary love stories or have some supernatural moments. Alternatively, your tales could be Fall/Winter holiday themed. However, they should be light and romantic — in the vein of Marian Keyes and Helen Fielding.
We’ve previously announced that the Penguin imprint Dutton is re-launching their Guilt Edged Mysteries offshoot this summer, in honor of the sixty-fifth anniversary of the release of I, The Jury by Mickey Spillane. But did you know that they are looking for original crime short stories and novellas, between 10,000 and 50,000 words, to publish as e-books? The original Guilt Edged Mysteries imprint was known for its hard-boiled noir detective fiction, so if you’ve got a tale that captures the spirit of pulp novels in a new, imaginative way, get on the case!
Have a story that’s too hot for traditional publishers to handle? Loose ID wants super steamy erotica, especially with an interracial or LGBT angle, from both aspiring and established authors. Let your naughty imagination run wild, the publisher accepts manuscripts in an array of genres, featuring elements of everything from “BDSM capture fantasy to yaoi.” But Loose ID is particularly interested in M/M romance, ménage and multicultural stories, as well as “screamingly hot contemporaries and historicals.” Submit your manuscript, between 20,000 and 140,000 words, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
E-book publisher Breathless Press is looking for short stories (under 10,000 words) for a series of anthologies in 2012, as well as stories for the “Home for the Holidays” and “Hot Shifters” collections. The anthology themes include: Ad-Dick-tion, featuring m/m erotic stories; Hot Shots, with erotic m/f themes; Crimson, covering all-things-vampire; and Serviced, with erotic or romantic tales starring members of the army, military, navy, or air force. Check out the publisher’s website for submission dates and requirements.
Aspiring mystery writers, don’t miss your chance to win a publishing contract and bragging rights — not to mention $1,000 — by entering the first ever Discover Mystery Contest hosted by Poisoned Pen Press. If you’re an unpublished author, submit your mystery manuscript of 60,000 to 90,000 words by April 30 for a chance to win big!
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.