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.
Harlequin: If you’ve ever dreamed of writing for Harlequin’s sexy Blaze line, here’s your chance! Harlequin is currently running a writing challenge asking aspiring authors to submit their "blazing" work. The first place winner will receive a month-long mentorship from a Harlequin Blaze editor which could be the start of a beautiful friendship (and possibly some published stories). The second place prize is a one-time editorial consultation and third prize is a six month subscription to the Blaze line of books. The challenge is open until June 1 and winners will be announced at this year’s RWA Nationals in Atlanta. For details on how to enter, click here.
Avon: Have a tale you just can't keep to yourself? Avon is inviting you to Share Your Book, with their interactive page for romance writers. You can share parts of your manuscript, read other submissions, vote for your favorites and exchange feedback with other writers. Ready to share? Get started here.
Spencer Hill Press: New Adult is showing no sign of slowing down, and Spencer Hill Contemporary editor Patricia E. Riley is definitely a huge fan of the genre. The editor shares what types of New Adult stories she’d love to see in her inbox here, and if you think you’ve got the perfect love story featuring college-aged adults, you can submit your manuscript to Spencer Hill Contemporary here.
Ellora’s Cave: Ellora’s Cave has two new calls for 2013. EC’s Spectrum line (the publisher's M/M imprint) is currently accepting submissions until May 1. And you can never start planning for the holidays too early, judging by the publisher's call for Christmas-themed Regency romances for a holiday anthology. Submissions for the antho close May 15, so get writing! And get the specifics on how to submit here.
Carina Press: Like kids in a candy shop, Carina Press editors are ready to pick and choose their next stories. This month Carina editors revealed what spring submissions they’re hoping for, and because each editor seems to fancy different genres, it looks like most tales — from romantic suspense to streampunk, sci fi/fantasy and historical mystery — are up for consideration. To read each editor’s wish list, and find out how to submit your tale, click here.
Ryan Field Press: Is your WIP a steamy fantasy story featuring a heroine who fantasizes about having an M/M relationship? Whether directly or indirectly, if your female protag is involved in a M/M affair, your naughty tale might be just what Ryan Field Press is looking for. Stories selected for this collection will be published in The Women Who Love Gay Romance, but the deadline is quickly approaching — May 1, so get submitting here.
Fable Press: Ghosts, aliens, parallel universes, things that go bump in the night, Fable Press is on the hunt for speculative fiction and they love it all! Currently the publisher is only accepting YA speculative fiction, so if your protagonist is a teen involved in otherworldly trouble, Fable might be the perfect home for your manuscript. Get all your questions about the publisher answered and learn how to submit here.
Family Circle: Family Circle may be a magazine focusing on the home, but they currently have a contest that may be of interest to writers. The 2013 Family Circle Fiction Contest is accepting entries until September 16, which gives you plenty of time to pen a 2,500 word tale. According to the contest guidelines, the subject seems to be open, but we have a feeling milder, family-friendly storylines are preferred.
Celtic Hearts Romance Writers: The Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, a RWA special interest group focusing on all things Celtic romance, announced their Golden Claddagh Contest, which is open to partial manuscript submissions from a variety of genres (including YA, historical and contemporary romance) and written by both RWA members and non-members. Did we mention first place wins a cash prize? Submissions close May 1, so what are you waiting for? Read the guidelines and enter your Celtic-centric story ASAP.
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.