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.
The Book Smugglers: Romance bloggers The Book Smugglers have been chosen to compile and edit the 2013 edition of Speculative Fiction: The Best Online Reviews, Essays and Commentary. Last year’s edition included over 50 pieces from some of science fiction and fantasy’s top authors, bloggers and critics, and this year’s is shaping up to be even better. If you’ve got a non-fic essay on any aspect of speculative fiction (not just books) learn how you can submit it here.
Salt Publishing: Salt, a UK publisher, is on the lookout for “sophisticated … dark, fast-paced thrillers” and crime fiction. If you’ve got a captivating, original crime story (less than 80,000 words) that would be a perfect fit for British audiences, send a query letter to firstname.lastname@example.org, as well as additional information, which the publisher specifies here.
Entangled Publishing: Ho ho ho! No, this isn’t Christmas in June, but Entangled is looking for some holiday cheer to fill their historical holiday anthology, releasing this winter. Specifically, Entangled wants wintery stories set between 900 AD and 1949 that are 10,000-20,000 words. Queries can be addressed to Gwen Hayes, and writers can get all the details on how to submit here.
Samhain Publishing: Samhain’s horror editor Don D’Auria is collecting exceptionally terrifying gothic stories for the imprint’s yet-to-be-titled 2014 anthology. Submissions should range from 25,000 to 30,000 words. Stories in the anthology will first be released as individual e-books, and then later as a complete print collection. Find more information and instructions on how to submit your work here.
Harlequin: Paging Dr. Awesome Writer! Is that you? If it is, and you’ve got an excellent medical romance to tell, it may be the perfect addition to Harlequin (Mills & Boon) Medical Romance. M&B’s “rapid response unit,” three awesome editors, is committed to giving a guaranteed, super fast assessment on any submissions received between June 1st and June 30th. First chapters, along with a synopsis, should be sent to email@example.com. You can find more details here and the publisher’s full writing guidelines here.
Riptide Publishing: Riptide is celebrating their two year anniversary — and their new acquisitions editor, Sarah Frantz — with a completely open call for submissions. This means anything goes as far as genre and story type, as long as you follow three rules: “a rainbow component (LGBTQ main characters), a strong authorial voice, and an integral-to-the-story romance.” The publisher's submission guidelines can be read here, and they politely ask that you don’t send anything before October 1, which gives you time to perfect your tale! More details on this specific call can be found here.
Novelicious: Novelicious is a blog that bills itself as “the women’s fiction blog for readers and writers,” and it looks like they’re expanding beyond blogging, because the ladies behind Novelicious have launched Novelicious Books, a digital imprint seeking smart, sexy, creative women’s fiction with a “stellar romantic thread.” They’re accepting short and longer length submissions, so if you’ve got a story sure to knock modern women off their feet, read up on Novelicious’ submissions guidelines here.
Seal Press: Seal Press and editor Shawna Kenney are teaming up for an anthology featuring lovers who love books — so whether your story features a sexy librarian, naughty bookseller or your typical bookworm looking for a a little more, a nerdy book-related romance is key for inclusion in this collection. Stories should be between 1,000 and 5,000 words and submitted by July 1st. Find all the little details here.
Burning Book Press: Tattoos are hot — but the fun doesn’t stop there for Burning Book Press’ upcoming anthology, Written on Skin. The publisher is accepting erotic fiction submissions featuring body modification of all kind — including piercings and scarification — that are central to the eroticism of the story. Tales should be between 2,000 and 10,000 words in length and interested writers can find all they need to know 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 Agents List or our Publishers List. And of course, you can always find author advice, writing tips and more on our Aspiring Authors Page!