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 Historical Undone: If you love Harlequin Historicals but have a shorter story to tell, the publisher is looking to fill their Historicals Undone imprint, which offers the same satisfying historical love stories in a shorter format. Historical Undone is looking for well-researched complete manuscripts between 10,000 and 15,000 words. If you’ve got an intriguing Regency tale or a heartwarming Victorian romance that’s both sexy and brief, you can submit it electronically to Harlequin Historical Undone here.
Crimson Romance: Crimson is also on the hunt for short stories. Searching for works between 5,000 and 10,000 words with featured themes including 'athlete heroes' and 'holidays', selected stories will be used in the publisher’s upcoming collections. Crimson accepts works with any heat level, from spicy to sweet. Learn more about the publisher and how to submit your story electronically here.
Scholastic: Scholastic very rarely accepts unsolicited manuscripts, but for a short time the publisher’s Cartwheel imprint is accepting unagented submissions geared towards 0-5 year-olds. These could include board books, picture books or novelty books. Unsolicited submissions will be accepted by snail mail until July 19. You can get an idea of what editors are (and are not) looking for, plus detailed information on how to submit your children’s story, here.
Melange Books: Melange is a royalty-paying small press that publishes e-books and print books from all areas of genre fiction. From romance to paranormal, horror and mystery, Melange publishes it all (with the exception of science fiction). The publisher currently has a few specific calls, including horse stories for their YA imprint and Chick Lit/Hen Lit. For more information on these specific calls, as well as the publisher’s general submission guidelines, click here.
Harlequin Digital First: Although Harlequin will forever be synonymous with romance, the publisher is branching out with some of their new digital first series imprints. They’re looking to fill their new lines with space opera, noir mystery, horror and more! Stories must be longer than 10,000 words and you can find answers to common questions, along with how to submit, here.
Avon: Avon Impulse is still accepting submissions, and are currently searching for fresh New Adult stories, sexy contemporary romances, trilogies, serialized novels and more. If you think you’ve got a fun tale for Avon’s digital-first arm, you can find all of the submission guidelines, as well as some helpful tips and tricks, here.
Tor: Tor and Tor UK opened to unagented submissions back in January, and currently they’re still accepting them! The leader in original science fiction, fantasy and speculative fiction, this Macmillan imprint is home to countless talented authors, such as John Scalzi, Brandon Sanderson, Cherie Priest, Mary Robinette Kowal and more. If you think you’ve got a story brilliant enough to join the ranks, you can find Tor’s submission guidelines here and Tor UK’s guidelines here.
Strange Chemistry: There’s nothing strange about the budding chemistry between two young lovers, unless they happen to be werewolves or vampire hunters — then maybe things can get a little weird. If speculative Young Adult fiction is your expertise, you probably already know about international publisher Strange Chemistry. For a very limited time, the publisher is opening submissions to unagented manuscripts, so now’s your chance to have them take a look at your fabulously weird teen tale. Writers can find more information here.
Writing Contest: Mystery author Gemma Halliday is offering her professional guidance — and a Kindle Paperwhite — to the top aspiring mystery/suspense author who wins her Femme Fatale writing contest. To submit, writers must fill out a submission form along with the first 2,000 words of their best work (novel, novellas and complete short stories are all fine). There’s no entry fee, and applicants have until June 30 to get their submission in. Find all the details, as well as the submission form, 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!