Saturday, March 8, 2014

5 Publishers Accepting Unsolicited Manuscripts from Writers - No Agent Needed

Updated 12/19/22

These publishers accept manuscripts directly from writers. As is the case with most publishers that don't require an agent, they have a narrow focus. But, if your work falls into the categories they publish, you will have a good chance of having your proposal read.

As always, go to the website, look at their other publications to see if yours will be a good fit, and follow all of their submission guidelines carefully. Guidelines can change!

If you are looking for publishers in specialized genres, click on these links.

4 Romance Publishers Looking for Writers - No Agent Needed

4 Major Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishers Accepting Unagented Manuscripts

17 US Children's Book Publishers Accepting Manuscripts Directly From Writers

21 UK Children's Book Publishers Accepting Manuscripts Directly from Writers

7 Graphic Novel Publishers Accepting Manuscripts Directly From Writers

5 Horror and Dark Fiction Publishers Accepting Unsolicited Manuscripts

22 Cookbook and Nonfiction Publishers Accepting Unagented Manuscripts

Small Beer Press

Small Beer Press was founded in 2000 and is run by Gavin J. Grant and Kelly Link. It publishes books as Small Beer Press, Big Mouth House, and Peapod Classics, and occasionally chapbooks and a zine - on recycled paper. 

They also have an ebook site for indie presses: Weightless Books.

Generally, they publish 6-10 books per year. They pay a small advance and standard royalties. Their ebook royalty rate is 40% of net receipts. While their catalog is not extensive, they do have two short story collections by Ursula LeGuin. 

What they are looking for: Fiction (leaning toward the speculative), both short story collections and novels. No poetry.

How to submit: Print format by post only.

Please send a query with the first 10-20 pages of the book (not the full manuscript) in standard manuscript format, and an SASE (with a Forever Stamp or an international reply coupon) by mail to:

Small Beer Press
150 Pleasant St., #306
Easthampton, MA 01027
Phone: 413.203.1636
Email: info at

Read full guidelines HERE.

Allworth Press

Allworth Press publishes business and self-help information for the general public and creative professionals.  They share distribution with Skyhorse Publishing, using W. W. Norton in the United States. Allworth Press titles are now distributed in Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, Southern Africa, the Philippines, Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Books from Allworth Press have been translated into many languages, including Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and Japanese. Allworth Press currently has 300 titles in print.

What they are looking for: Graphic Design, Business, Performing Arts, Interior Design, Art, Theater, Web Design, Book Arts, Photography, Crafts.

How to submit: Prospective authors should submit a book proposal that includes a query letter, synopsis (1-2 pages), annotated chapter outline, market analysis, sample chapter (or two), bio, and SASE.

Send all submissions to: submissions[at]skyhorsepublishing[dot]com. If they are interested, they will get back to you within 4-6 weeks

Read full guidelines HERE.

City Lights

City Lights Publishers is famous for launching several poets, including Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg, but this press also specializes in literary fiction and nonfiction. City Lights publishes 12 books a year. 

From the website: For over fifty years, City Lights has been a champion of progressive thinking, fighting against the forces of conservatism and censorship. We are committed to publishing works of social responsibility, and to maintaining a tradition of bringing renegade literature from other parts of the world into English. In our function of discovery, we will continue to publish cutting-edge contemporary literature and brilliant new non-fiction.

What they are looking for: Fiction, essays, memoirs, translations, poetry, and books on social and political issues. They do not publish New Age, self-help, children’s literature, how-to guides, or genre works such as romance, westerns, or science fiction.

How to submit: City Lights does not accept unsolicited manuscripts, but they do accept proposals.

Prospective authors should submit the following:  
  • A one to two-page letter that describes your book and includes your resumé, with a list of any prior publications and information about your relevant writing and professional experience.
  • A sample (10–20 pages maximum) of your work.
  • An additional outline and table of contents for a nonfiction work.
To receive a response, you must enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE). You will receive a reply from our staff within six months letting you know if they want to see a complete manuscript. Telephoning or e-mailing will not speed up the review process.

City Lights takes no responsibility for the loss or damage of submitted materials. Please do not submit irreplaceable materials.

They do not accept proposals by e-mail or at the front desk at City Lights Bookstore.

Please mail proposals to:

Editorial Department
City Lights Publishers
261 Columbus Avenue
San Francisco CA 94133

Read full guidelines HERE. Currently on hiatus due to the pandemic. Check back in a few months.

Chicago Review Press

Academy Chicago Publishers is one of the oldest publishing houses in Chicago. They publish both fiction and nonfiction and have more than two hundred published titles on their list. Academy Chicago publishes about 60 new titles yearly under five imprints: Chicago Review Press, Lawrence Hill Books, Ball Publishing, Zephyr Press, and Academy Chicago. 

What they are looking for: Chicago Review Press publishes general nonfiction on a wide range of subjects including history, popular science, music, film, biography, autobiography, DIY, craft, and travel, as well as an award-winning line of children's activity books and young adult biographies. Lawrence Hill Books publishes nonfiction on topics of African American interest, progressive politics, Middle Eastern studies, and feminism. Ball Publishing specializes in gardening books, and Zephyr Press publishes professional development titles for teachers. Academy Chicago publishes memoirs, mysteries, and other exciting, new, and well-crafted fiction and nonfiction. 

How to submit: For non-fiction send:
  • A brief synopsis of your proposed book in 1–2 paragraphs
  • The estimated word count of the final manuscript
  • The estimated completion date
  • Author biography or resume specifying credentials and publication credits, where appropriate
  • Approximate sales of previous books published, if any
  • A complete table of contents and/or a complete outline of the proposed chapters
  • 1–2 sample chapters
For children's activity books, include a few sample activities and list the others
  • Any information regarding photographs or artwork for the book
  • A description of the target audience and any information about the market
  • A list of competing and comparable titles and how your book differs—be sure to tell us what makes your book unique
Please e-mail your proposal to

Their turnaround time on reviewing proposals is about 4–6 weeks.

Read full guidelines HERE.


Chronicle Books

Chronicle Books  "We're always looking for the new and unusual." Chronicle Books publishes 90 titles per year.

What they are looking for: Art and design, art, craft, graphic design, interior design, photography, food and drink, kids and teens, literature, lifestyle, pop culture. Chronicle Books publishes fiction and nonfiction books for children of all ages, as well as board books, decks, activity kits, and other unusual or novelty formats. No adult fiction.

How to submit: They review all proposals. However, they do not personally respond to unsolicited proposals unless they are interested in pursuing the project. Chronicle accepts submissions by mail or e-mail. Please allow three months for the editors to review a proposal. See the guidelines for fiction submissions.

What to Include in Your Proposal:
  • Include a one-page cover letter giving a brief description of the project, why you think Chronicle should publish it, what's included in the package, and your contact information.
  • If your proposal is a simultaneous submission, please indicate this in your cover letter.
  • Include an outline, introduction, sample illustrations or photographs, sample captions, sample recipes (if cookbook) or projects (if craft book), and text/sample chapters.
  • When submitting artwork, either as a part of a project or as samples for review, please do not send original art, as it will not be returned. Anything from photocopies to tear sheets will do.
  • Include a market analysis of the potential readership for the book. Who is the reader? What trends does the title speak to? Include a list of similar titles including the publisher, date of publication, and a brief explanation of how your book differs what's currently available.
  • Include author/illustrator/photographer biography that includes publishing credits and credentials in the field.
  • If you would like confirmation of receipt, please include a self-addressed stamped postcard for the editor to put in the mail upon receiving your proposal.
Please send submissions to:

Chronicle Books; Submissions Editor
680 Second Street
San Francisco, California 94107

Read full guidelines HERE.


  1. We too accept unsolicited manuscripts, and we're especially interested in high-quality detective mysteries, thrillers, and suspense novels

  2. How does "Southern Exposure" Sound to you? Young couple in the deep south in the early 60s, two young children. Father has an affair which changes the course of everyone's life and the effects of "Mrs" linger for lifetimes. They had everyone fooled including many family members...until unusual, untimely deaths occur, affairs are ongoing. Children grow into troubled adults...if they live... As the masks disintegrate and walls tumble what's left will change a town forever.


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