Literary fiction is one of the harder genres to get published without an agent. Some presses specialize in the genre, but more and more of them are starting to charge reading fees.
Thankfully, there are still some presses out there that accept manuscripts from authors without agents and don’t charge a reading fee.
Where to Publish Your Literary Fiction
The list below contains a list of literary fiction publishers that either accept literary fiction or are actively seeking submissions at this time. You can send your manuscript to them without a literary agent.
- McSweeney’s publishes literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. You should read one of their books before submitting your work. They are also known for their slow response time on submissions, so don’t be surprised if you don’t hear back from them before six months are up. To learn more about their submission guidelines or to submit, go here.
- Waywiser is a small independent press based in the UK that focuses on literary prose and poetry. They also publish fiction and nonfiction, including essay collections. The press hosts a yearly contest called The Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize. The only way to submit poetry manuscripts to them is through the competition, and you have to pay a fee to submit. To learn more, go to their website here.
- Whiskey Tit is a small press that publishes hard to publish manuscripts. This includes books that are too long, too short, to unconventional books that defy easy categorization and are hard to describe. You can submit to them year-round. To learn more, please visit their website here.
- Able Muse is a small literary press that has one free reading period every year, from May 1 through July 15. They also publish a literary journal and host several contests every year. They publish poetry and fiction primarily but will consider nonfiction if you query first. Most of the fiction they publish are short story collections, and unlike other small presses, some of what they publish is genre work. To learn more or to submit, visit their website here.
- Coffee House Press (CHP) is a respected literary press with an excellent reputation. They are open for short submission periods every year on March 1 and September 1. They only accept 300 submissions, and they can reach their quota in a few short hours, so get your manuscript in early. CHP publishes emerging and mid-career authors. To learn more, view their submission guidelines here.
- BlazeVOX is a publisher based out of Buffalo, New York. They are a small independent publisher that focuses on publishing innovative literary fiction and poetry manuscripts. All submissions must be sent via email. You can learn more about submitting here.
- Acre Books is an imprint of The Cincinnati Review. They focus on publishing literary fiction and poetry and are interested in novels and short story collections. They are not accepting submissions of full manuscripts, and ask that authors query first. To learn more or to submit, go here.
- Platypus Press is a publisher of literary prose and poetry. They are a new publisher based out of the UK. They only accept completed manuscripts via email, and simultaneous submissions are okay. Platypus tries to respond to all submissions within a month. To learn more, visit their website here.
- Persea Books is an independent book publisher based out of New York with a reputation for publishing thoughtful books in a variety of literary genres, including literary fiction. To learn more about their submission guidelines, click here.
- Seven Stories Press is an independent publisher that has published several highly-respected books, which are distributed by Random House. They accept queries along with two chapters of your novel only through the mail. To learn more about their submission process, visit the contact section.
- 8th House Publishing is a newer publisher based out of Montreal and New York. They publish poetry, novels with a literary bent, and nonfiction. They seem to put a fair amount of effort into promoting their author’s work through launches, readings, and links to additional publications. To learn more, please visit their website here.
- aunt lute is a multicultural women’s press. Their priority is to publish work by women, both transgender and cisgender, particularly women of color. They publish both fiction and nonfiction. They also publish poetry but only as part of an anthology or a larger prose work. To learn more or visit their submission guidelines, go here.
- Soho Press is an established and respected literary independent publisher based out of New York. Soho Press is generally open to unsolicited submissions of literary fiction. They focus on publishing bold voices and original perspectives and do not accept electronic submissions or queries without the first three chapters. To learn more about their submission process, click here.
- Tramp Press is an Irish literary press with great distribution – Gill & Macmillan in Ireland and Macmillan everywhere else. They publish literary fiction and collections of short stories. They only release a few books every year. Writers should submit 50 pages or 10,000 words worth of work, along with a cover letter and a synopsis. Click here to read their complete submission guidelines.
- Skylight Press is a small, UK-based publisher that publishes 12 books every year. Genres include serious esoteric and occult books (focusing on things like paganism, and Arthurian/Grail traditions), literary fiction, and nonfiction with a history or horticultural focus. They also consider literary analysis, although they do not publish much of it. Skylight publishes poetry but is currently not open to poetry submissions. They have very detailed submission guidelines that you should read and follow before submitting your work. To learn more, click here.
- Belle Lutte Press is a small press that focuses on publishing literary fiction. They allow simultaneous submissions, but all submissions must be made through their electronic submission system. To learn more, please visit their website here.
- Ad Luman Press was founded at American River College in 2013 by author and professor Christian Kiefer. They accept simultaneous submissions and try to respond within three to eight months to all submissions starting on August 15. To learn more, click here.
- Regal Crest Enterprises has historically specialized in publishing books of interest to lesbian readers, but now their focus has expanded to include LGBTQI. They mostly publish genre fiction as well as some nonfiction. Their submission guidelines are extensive and detailed, so make sure you review them before submitting your work. They are now accepting submissions of novella-length stories. To learn more, visit their site here.
- Bellevue Literary Press publishes works of narrative nonfiction and literary fiction geared towards a general readership. They accept unsolicited submissions of both kinds of work. All submissions must be made via email, and you must follow their clear guidelines to submit. To learn more or submit, go here.
- Harvard Square Editions (HSE) is a publishing company founded by a group of Harvard Alumni. They accept novel and novella submissions with environmental and social themes. HSE seeks work of the highest literary quality. To read their brief submission guidelines or to submit using their online form, click here.
- Douglas & McIntyre is one of Canada’s preeminent independent publishers, with books that have won many national and international awards, including the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award. Douglas & McIntyre specializes in publishing respected nonfiction and literary fiction, and prefer Canadian authors but are open to publishing non-Canadians. To learn more, please visit their website here.
- Three Rooms Press is an independent press that is inspired by “Dada, Punk, and Passion.” They have good distribution and publish fiction, nonfiction (including memoirs), and young adult (YA). To learn more about their submission guidelines, click here.
- Jaded Ibis Press allows international submissions from women, writers of color, writers with disabilities, queer writers, and other marginalized and disenfranchised writers. They currently publish fiction and nonfiction with a niche focus on the progress of social justice. They offer author royalties of 40 percent net profit on book sales. To learn more or to submit, go here.
- Blue Moon is a Canadian boutique publisher that focuses on publishing literary fiction and women’s fiction, as well as young adult and middle-grade works. The stories they publish span various genres, including contemporary, historical, mystery, science fiction, and fantasy. Blue Moon relies on the author’s self-promotion, but it helps them create a better end product. Click here to learn more or to submit.
- Unnamed Press is an independent publisher of literary fiction and nonfiction based in Los Angeles. They have excellent distribution, most major publications have reviewed their books, and they know how to promote the books they publish. To learn more about their submission process, click here.
- Brother Mockingbird Publishing is a small independent press committed to discovering writers from the American South. They are also open to good fiction, regardless of where the author is based. The royalty rates generally within the 20 percent to 40 percent net profit range depending on the amount of editing involved. To learn more or to submit, go here.
Good luck to those of you who decide to submit!
Don’t forget to check in here tomorrow for our discussion on networking for writers.
Until then, stay safe, everyone!