Monday, November 3, 2014

4 Publishers Accepting Unsolicited Manuscripts

Here are four publishers that are open to accepting works directly from writers - no agent required. Each has a specialized focus, but depending on what you write, one of these may be a good fit.

Smaller companies, while they may lack clout, can sometimes offer more to new authors than the larger publishing houses. Small to mid-size houses tend to be more supportive, offering a personalized hands-on editorial approach, and allowing greater input from their authors.

If you publish with a smaller house, you should be prepared to do the majority of your own marketing, but this is increasingly the trend in publishing, even for the larger houses.


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Persea Books

From the website: PERSEA BOOKS is an independent, literary publishing house founded in 1975 by Michael Braziller and Karen Braziller, who still own and direct the company. In addition to our books published for a general readership, we continue to expand our Young Adult selections with highly intelligent books by authors such as Meg Kearney, Anne Mazer, Gary Soto, and Marie Raphael. These works complement our highly acclaimed series of literary anthologies.

Submissions: Queries should include a cover letter, author background and publication history, a synopsis of the proposed work, and a sample chapter. Please indicate if the work is simultaneously submitted. If you would like your manuscript returned to you, enclose a self-addressed envelope with sufficient postage; otherwise, we will recycle it. Send queries and manuscripts to or to the appropriate editor (Fiction or Nonfiction), Persea Books, 277 Broadway, Suite 708, New York, NY 10007.

Genres: Poetry, fiction, essays, memoir, biography, titles of Jewish and Middle Eastern interest, women's studies, American Indian folklore, and YA. Response time: Eight weeks for proposals  and 12 weeks for requested manuscripts.

Read full guidelines HERE.



Avon is a division of HarperCollins comprising two imprints, Avon Romance and Avon Impulse (digital). In addition to mass market print and digital publications, Avon has a Wattpad-style writing community, Share Your Book, which votes on writing samples each month.


Avon Books (print): should be 80-95,000 words in length

Avon Impulse (digital first): Full-length novels of approximately 50-60,000 words.

Formatting choices are up to you. If they can read it, you can submit it.

No need to submit to a specific editor. If a specific editor has requested your manuscript, please let them know and they’ll get it to her.
  • No need to submit to specific imprint, either; you’ll work with the same editorial team.
  • You should receive an answer either way in about three months.
  • You don’t need an agent.
Read guidelines HERE. See submission form HERE.



From the website: "Founded in Minneapolis in 1980, Milkweed Editions is one of the nation’s leading independent, nonprofit literary publishers. Publishing fifteen to twenty books each year, we have some three hundred titles in print, and nearly four million copies of our books in circulation. Over the past three decades, our books and authors have received hundreds of awards and designations of national significance, including three Lannan Literary Awards, four Whiting Awards, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry, three American Book Awards, and seven New York Times Book Review Notable Books of the Year. We are also the proud publisher of thirteen winners of the Minnesota Book Award. Locally, nationally, and internationally, Milkweed Editions is widely respected for the excellence of our publishing program."

Submissions: Milkweed Editions accepts unsolicited manuscripts from authors of all backgrounds, and our editorial staff reviews each submission. In return, we ask that you familiarize yourself with our publishing list in order to determine if your manuscript is a good fit for our press. Submissions that do not initially meet the guidelines will not be considered.

Genres: Fiction, literary nonfiction, poetry collections, YA and middle-grade fiction.

Please read full guidelines here.


Soft Skull Press

Soft Skull Press is an independent book publisher founded by Sander Hicks in 1992. In 2010, it was sold to Counterpoint LLC, which is distributed by Perseus. Soft Skull is distributed to the book trade by Publishers Group West. From the website: Founded in Brooklyn in 1992, Soft Skull’s history is spotted with loveable zealots, underground literati, noble scofflaws, financial bullet-dodging, and indie-lit soldiers fighting the good fight. Soft Skull continues to kick ass in Berkeley, CA.

Submissions: Nonfiction: Please send a cover letter describing your project and a full proposal along with two sample chapters.

Fiction: Please send a cover letter describing your project in detail and a completed manuscript.

The editors only respond to proposals they find of interest. Please do not follow up on a submission via phone or e-mail. No electronic submissions.

Mail submissions to:

Editorial Submissions—[FICTION] or [NONFICTION] Soft Skull Press
2560 Ninth Street, Suite 318
Berkeley, CA 94710

Genres: Every genre imaginable, leaning toward the bare-knuckled, kick-ass counter-cultural.

Read full guidelines HERE.

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