If you want to see your book on bookshelves and don’t have an agent, this post is for you. Many publishers publish print books (with digital options) and have excellent distribution systems.
How do I know this? Well, all of these publishers sell many copies of physical books. They also have books that are available in stores and libraries.
And if they have physical books in stores and libraries, then they must have good distribution. Let’s take a look at them, shall we?
The 27 Publishers with Excellent Distribution
While this may be a dream come true for some writers, please note that not all of these publishers are open to submissions or queries at this time. Please look over their submission guidelines carefully to give your book the best chance of being published by one of these 27 publishers with excellent distribution.
This Philadelphia-based press publishes 25 books a year in various genres, from children’s books to nonfiction to science fiction. Unlike most publishers that tackle a large range of topics, Quirk Books has a clear marketing plan, and most of their books have a cohesive feel because they all are quirky.
To learn more, click here.
Gibbs Smith is an established publisher with a focus on cooking, interior design, architecture, and board books for children. They have published numerous bestsellers, including a board book version of Pride & Prejudice.
Click here to find out more.
When you say romance, most people think Harlequin books. They’re famous for their romance novels and suggestive covers. This publisher has books everywhere, including your grocery store.
They are also open to unsolicited submissions, which you can find more about here. Don’t forget to carefully read their submission guidelines, though, as they have several divisions that tackle the myriad of romance subgenres.
DAW is an imprint of Penguin that is open to un-agented manuscript submissions. It’s an unusual opportunity for writers.
DAW is a highly-respected for its science fiction and fantasy books. They have published authors such as Marion Zimmer Bradley and Roger Zelazny and many bestselling books and Hugo award-winning books.
To find out more, click here. (Scroll down to find their submission guidelines.)
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Founded in 1911, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company is an independent publisher of religious books. They have a large range, including academic books and reference works in theology, biblical studies, and religious history to popular titles in spirituality, social and cultural criticism, and literature. They are primarily a print publisher with excellent distribution.
You can learn more by clicking here.
Holiday House is a reputable children’s book publisher that has been around for over 75 years. They publish picture books and books for children in grades one to three, grades four to six, and grades seven and up. They have published many well-known books and authors, including Kenneth Grahame. Their books have won numerous awards and honors.
To learn more, click here.
Charlesbridge publishes high-quality books for children and young adults to create lifelong readers and learners. They have an extensive audio offering that came about in Charlesbridge’s acquisition of Imagine Publishing in 2012. They also publish adult nonfiction, cookbooks, and puzzle books.
Click here to submit and learn more about their submission guidelines.
Chronicle Books publishes many wonderful books, including a wide range of gift books, children’s books, and adult nonfiction.
Are you thinking of submitting your work? Please read their submission guidelines to learn more.
Free Spirit Publishing
Free Spirit Publishing primarily publishes nonfiction and has several niche focuses, like curriculum books.
They also publish fiction only in board books (for infants to four-year-olds) and picture books (for ages four to eight). These books should focus on social skills, getting along, early learning, character education, and self-esteem, and other topics related to positive early childhood development.
To learn more about Free Spirit and browse their books, click here.
Baen is best-known for its science fiction and fantasy books as they have published many classic genre novels. You can find their books in libraries and bookstores everywhere.
To learn more or submit, visit their website here.
Chicago Review Press
Chicago Review Press publishes literary fiction, nonfiction, and memoirs. They also publish books for children (but not picture books) and are only open to unsolicited works of nonfiction.
You can learn more about them by clicking here.
Tor/Forge publishes science fiction and fantasy books and is run by Macmillan, one of the big five publishers. Tor is one of the most established science fiction publishers, and they offer advances.
They are currently closed to general submissions due to COVID-19 but have been regularly opening special calls for submissions on specific topics. To check out their themed submissions, click here. (You can find their guidelines at the bottom of the page.)
Prometheus Books is a large established publisher of “intelligent nonfiction.” They specialize in publishing nonfiction books that fall into the following categories: popular science, philosophy, atheism, humanism, and critical thinking. Random House is their distributor.
You can read their complete submission guidelines here.
Hard Case Crime
Hard Case Crime is a well-respected and established niche publisher of hard-boiled crime novels. The publisher has been featured in numerous publications, including Time Magazine and The Stranger. Random House is their distributor.
To learn more about Hard Case Crime, click here.
Dalkey Archive Press
Dalkey Archive Press specializes in the publication and re-publication of avant-garde works of literary fiction. They are not interested in traditional prose or poetry. Their focus is on publishing literary fiction of a modernist or postmodernist bent.
The National Book Critics Circle has awarded many of Dalkey’s authors and translators over the years, and in 2011, the press was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the NBCC.
And best of all, they have excellent distribution. To learn more, click here.
Skyhorse Publishing is one of the largest small presses in the US and has excellent distribution. Over the past couple of years, they have started acquiring other small presses. Skyhorse primarily publishes nonfiction.
If you want to learn more or submit, please visit their website here.
A division of Skyhorse, Skypony focuses on publishing work for children and young adults (as long as it hits one of these topics: ecology, farm living, wilderness living, recycling, etc.). They are currently open to submissions of picture books, books for early readers, young adult novels with a “green” focus, midgrade novels, and informational books for children and young adults.
You can learn more here.
Workman Publishing has several separate imprints, some of which are not open to direct submissions. The original Workman imprint does accept unagented submissions and focuses on publishing nonfiction books for children and adults and calendars. However, they do not accept unsolicited picture book submissions.
To learn more, check out their submission guidelines here.
Artisan publishes visual-heavy nonfiction books. The visuals themselves vary between photography, illustration, and graphic design, but the idea is that these books communicate ideas due to their visual components. Most of the books, including Artisan’s first bestseller The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller, include all three components.
To read their full submission guidelines, click here.
The Quarto Publishing Group
The Quarto Publishing Group is an international publishing house known for its illustrated books. They publish most of their work through several niche imprints, and Hachette distributes all of Quarto’s US imprints.
You can read their full submission guidelines here.
McSweeney’s publishes literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. They started as a literary magazine and are now responsible for numerous publications, podcasts, and books.
To learn more, click here.
Ig Publishing focuses on publishing literary fiction and progressive political nonfiction. Their books have won or been honorable mentions for many major awards and are frequently mentioned on “best of” year-end lists.
To learn more, click here.
Text Publishing is an Australian press that has published a wide variety of bestsellers. They have won the Small Publisher of the Year award three times. You can get a feel for what they publish here. One of their biggest hits is The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.
To learn more, click here.
Bellevue Literary Press
Bellevue Literary Press publishes works of narrative nonfiction and literary fiction geared towards a general readership. They are generally open to unsolicited submissions of both kinds of work but are temporarily closed due to COVID-19.
The work they publish explores the intersection between art and science. Most of the fictional characters are doctors and scientists, but many of their books also focus on the natural world. They seem to publish about four novels for every work of nonfiction they publish.
To learn more or submit, click here.
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Jessica Kingsley Publishers (JKP) is an established UK Press that publishes high-quality books for professional and general readers on many subjects. You can click here to find out more information and to view their submission guidelines.
Beacon Press publishes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. However, they are only open to direct submissions of nonfiction proposals. Works of fiction, poetry, and self-help will not be considered.
To find out more, click here.
Page Street Publishing
Page Street Publishing is a publisher of full-color gift books, cookbooks, and craft books. Most of them have an important visual component. They are distributed through Macmillan in every country but Canada (where they have a different distributor). They publish around 60 titles a year.
To learn more about submitting to them, visit their full submission guidelines page here.
Good luck to all of you who choose to submit. I’ve got my fingers crossed for you.
And if you are accepted at any of these 27 publishers with excellent distribution, please let me know. I’d love to read your work and pass it along to a friend.
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Stay safe, everyone.
Until next time.