1. Carriage Return

    Carriage Return Member

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    Top GENERAL publishers who accept un-agented submissions

    Discussion in 'Traditional Publishing' started by Carriage Return, Dec 19, 2018.

    Is anyone interested in putting together just a short list of 10 or so of the best indy publishers who accept un-agented submissions directly from authors? I'm not talking about genre stuff. I'm talking about more general interest fiction. Genre stuff and especially niche genre stuff has its own avenues available to it already.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
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  2. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    There aren't many good publishers who have no or few genre exclusions, unless you're talking about publishing groups, and then it would be specific imprints that would accept unagented submissions (and those would be genre-specific). Like, Penguin RandomHouse probably publishes every mainstream genre under the sun, but spread among 30 different imprints that all deal with different types of books and some of which take unagented submissions.

    I think this would be a really useful thread if we had a list separated by genre, but otherwise I don't think you'll find many publishers fitting the bill!

    An imprint that accepts manuscripts in more than three or four genres is actually a huge red flag. Those are generally not legitimate publishers but author mills who want as many manuscripts as possible, interested in quantity over quality. They can also be start-up publishers run by people who don't really know what they're doing, but that's just as bad as being published by an author mill.
     
  3. Carriage Return

    Carriage Return Member

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  4. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    Oh, you're looking for micro presses. I can offer no help, but good luck in your search!
     
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  5. Carriage Return

    Carriage Return Member

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  6. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    I'm getting really confused. You don't want to include imprints, which excludes any Big 5 and any independents of a decent size. You also don't want genre-specific publishing houses, which discounts nearly all the reputable small presses (all the ones I can think of, inf act). All that leaves is the teeny tiny presses run by one or two people, like Bluemoose.
     
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  7. Carriage Return

    Carriage Return Member

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  8. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    There's:

    Big 5 (genre-specific imprints, plenty of which accept unagented submissions)
    Big independents (genre-specific imprints, ditto)
    Medium independents (genre-specific imprints, ditto)
    Small independents (either genre-specific imprints or just one genre-specific press, possibly 'general' although none I know of, rarely require agented subs)
    Micro presses
    Start-ups aiming to be one of those up there ^

    But as I said, I can't help with the bottom two so I hope someone else will come along and discuss them with you. :) Best of luck.
     
  9. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    @Carriage Return , why do you care if they're genre-specific or not? You seem to be eliminating almost all of your options based on that criteria, and aside from that criteria saving a person a few minutes in research, I don't see the value in it.
     
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  10. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    I don't know enough about publishing to really comment, but Daw is an imprint from Penguin and accepts unsolicited manuscripts all year round. I believe it is genre-specific though for fantasy.

    But if there's an imprint that accepts unsolicited MSs for fantasy, there's surely some that would accept unsolicited contemporary fiction?

    Anyway a quick google search with the words "unsolicited general fiction" brought up this link:
    https://www.joanyedwards.com/2013/04/07/50-publishers-who-accept-unsolicited-manuscripts/
     
  11. Carriage Return

    Carriage Return Member

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  12. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    Then you're asking for in-depth market research which, let's face it, most people on WF haven't done because most of us on here are still whining about writers' block and trying to work towards simply a finished draft, not even a polished, publishable draft. A handful are in the querying stage, but generally they'd be doing research into their book's genre and not something so general.

    The "best" publishers surely also depend on which genre you're talking about. And what does "best" even mean? Reach of customers? Dollars generated through sales? Units sold? (Units sold and dollars generated seem not to be the same thing based on a report I read) The bigger the publisher, the further their reach, the bigger their budgets and thus the more options available to them for marketing and promotion - so in that sense you cannot escape the Big 5.

    But for example, I recently read this report on Romance from 2016:
    http://authorearnings.com/2016-rwa-pan-presentation/

    It was actually what gave me inspiration that perhaps self-publishing is a respectable and viable option as opposed to the way it's generally treated on this forum (eg. a silly option where you're never gonna make a dime). The self-published profits vs traditionally published profits were interesting - about half the pie belonged to self-published.

    I'm currently getting through the report below because I write Fantasy: (only about a third way through)
    http://authorearnings.com/sfwa2018/

    While it doesn't tell you which publishers are good, I found it enlightening that while the Big 5 do dominate a big chunk of the business, it is no longer the biggest fish in the sea it seems. Amazon is probably the most interesting publisher of them all - according to one of the reports on that site, it owns something like 90% of the book industry and in the US they now have a brick and mortar store where they display covers, not spines, as well as user reviews on display. And if Amazon is the biggest contender, with the biggest reach, I'm thinking self-publishing suddenly becomes very much viable depending on how strategic you are you marketing - because the largest platform for books is also a platform that, as we all know, supports self-publishing. Whereas the Big 5 are no longer the largest platform and it's a pain to get published through them.

    Just my recent thoughts based on like, one report and a few articles. But then I'm starting to seriously think about self-publishing as a business. It will not simply be "I want to get my book out there." It is very much a "I want to make money and I believe I have a good product." I intend to do the proper market research and invest in advertising etc and make a business strategy for my book. I mean, I'm not decided yet, but I'm seriously considering the option. So I will not be singing to the tune of, "Invest in an editor and you'll never make that money back." It would be, "Hell yeah I'm making that money back because this baby's gonna sell. And if it isn't gonna sell then why on earth am I releasing it in the first place?"

    Yeah... that's me right now. Editing Chapter 5... out of 22. Sigh.
     
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  13. matwoolf

    matwoolf Banned Contributor

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    Why can’t the guy make his thread - and fill it with...welll...I was going to make one up...but SALT for example...well respected...medium size....Brighton,UK. From memory accepts ’unsolicited submissions’ at certain times of the year.

    The thread is sincere, surely :/ ?

    https://www.saltpublishing.com

    Not Brighton, must have moved...
     
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  14. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    I'm super confused by this as well. Like @Tenderiser mentioned, most of the small-but-reputable smaller presses that accept un-agented submissions I'm aware of do concentrate on a specific genre. If you write romance, or sci-fi, or fantasy, why wouldn't you go to a publisher who has expertise in that genre? When I was looking to publish my first novel, the first thing I did was look into who all the players were in the genre and check to see if they were open for un-agented submissions (all of them were, I just picked the one that seemed like the best fit based on books they'd already published).

    I can understand if you're writing literary or something that doesn't fit into a specific genre, but since you said a publisher who accepts sci-fi and romance would qualify for this list it doesn't sound like that's the case.
     
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  15. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Angry Robots just finished up it's second unagented submission window. They are in the process of moving base locations so things are a bit in limbo. But the writers that were accepted by them in the past are very satisfied with their publishing.

    The Traitor God (Age of Tyranny #1) by Cameron Johnston is doing well. And they picked up his second novel: God of Broken Things (The Age of Tyranny) which is coming out in June 2019.

    They were genre limited, though maybe not as strict as to call them genre specific. But don't we want a publisher that is invested in the genre our work is in?

    Not every unagented submission offering is going to be from a questionable publisher if that is what people are saying in this thread. Perhaps that's not what people meant.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2018
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  16. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    I don't think so - I don't have an agent and have no interest in getting one, despite being traditionally published successfully for the last couple of years.
     
  17. Carriage Return

    Carriage Return Member

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  18. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    I think that's because no one understands what you mean - it's not a derail into genre definitions if no one understands what you mean when you said you wanted publishers who were not "genre-specific" - it seems that, to understand "genre-specific", one must first clarify genre definitions?

    I don't think it's the fact that it's for general fiction that people are confused. But you said you want a publisher who publishes any and all genres under the sun, but you don't want imprints (which are genre specific). I think, if I understand those more experienced on this thread correctly, they're saying that's simply not how publishing works. That books on the whole go through one of the many imprints - there isn't like a publishing house that publishes everything and then publishing imprints who are genre specific - the imprints belong to the house, and in this way the publisher does publish every genre imaginable. But if you exclude imprints, then you're excluding the publishing house really.

    And I believe, if I remember correctly, you did not want the Big 5 on the list (probably because everyone already knows them). But that's the other thing - small publishers are genre-specific (presumably because they just don't have the budget the Big 5 has to be so spread out across all genres). So that rules the small presses out according to your criteria of not being genre-specific.

    In other words, you don't want the Big 5 (too well known), you don't want their associated imprints, and you don't want small publishers because the latter two are genre-specific.

    I confess I don't know what micro presses are. But if I understand @Tenderiser 's posts correctly, she's saying micro presses would fit your bill but that there're few and far between, more of a one man show than a publisher as we might imagine it with a marketing team and editing team etc.

    So people's confusion is over the impression that you have little clue how publishing works, based on what you've expressed.

    If you simply wanted publishers and imprints that accept general fiction, I'm guessing that would be a lot clearer than you previously saying "a publisher who accepts fantasy and who also accepts romance." Because that description isn't a publisher that accepts the genre of general fiction. (which seems to be what you actually mean, based on your latest post) That description of a publisher who accepts fantasy as well as romance is a description of a publisher who accepts fiction in general. Therein lies the confusion. You seem to be saying you want a publisher who accepts fiction in general, but then you say you don't want XYZ publishers/imprints because they're genre-specific (but that are still fiction). Do you see the contradiction?
     
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  19. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, @Carriage Return . I'm interesed in the topic, and think a list of genuine publishers who accept unagented submissions is a worthy goal for a thread. But like many others on this particular thread, I'm not clear as to how you want to narrow this down.

    Could you maybe go back and rethink how you've presented your idea? There is probably nothing wrong with the idea, provided we can understand the idea. But the presentation has confused a lot of people, including me. What kind of publishers are you looking for, exactly? Can you answer that question more clearly?
     
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  20. Carriage Return

    Carriage Return Member

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  21. Carriage Return

    Carriage Return Member

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  22. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I think the confusion comes because you seem to be thinking that if publishers are looking for "general fiction", they're looking for ALL fiction, and that's really not the case. If I sent a genre romance to a publisher who has deliberately chosen to focus on non-genre fiction, I would have no more chance of acceptance than if someone sent a non-romance to Harlequin.

    I don't care whether you call it a genre or not, but "general fiction" isn't synonymous with "all books ever written". It's more synonymous with "fiction that isn't genre".

    So these publishers are no less picky than publishers that have chosen to focus on specific genres. You can generally see this by looking at the books they've published.
     
  23. Carriage Return

    Carriage Return Member

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  24. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    @Carriage Return - so you're asking for publishers who have an open attitude towards cross-genre or hard-to-market books?

    Hmm, I'm guessing for recommendations like that, one would need to have experience working with the publisher to really know. And on WF most of us are unpublished, so I'm not sure you'll have much luck. I agree it would be a valuable list to have, but it's probably info you'll get either by directly working with multiple publishers over many years of experience, or over years of networking with those in publishing where you can get names from people in the know.

    I actually would have thought you should be looking for a list of editors. After all, what are they called - Acquisition editors I think - are the ones who decide which books to push, and if multiple editors in the publishing house like your work, you're much more likely to be accepted. So what you really want is a list of open-minded editors, or simply influential editors.

    You may also be interested in editors who have a heart for certain themes and issues, which will make them more open to your book if you tackle those things in it. It's basically a matter of knowing people, their preferences, and their position in a publishing house.

    Again, this is generally info agents know, which is why they're valuable. So how do agents get hold of this information? Again, probably by reading a lot and working directly with publishers, as well as a lot of networking. I think what you're really asking for is true, valuable, applicable industry knowledge, and I'm not entirely sure this forum is the right place because, as I said, most of us are unpublished.

    If you do manage to compile such a list, please do share it :)

    Personally, if I wanted such a list for open-minded publishers, I'd start by looking at the books. Which books can you think of that don't fit the mould easily? Who bought them? Who read them? Can their queries be found somewhere to see how they sold themselves initially? Who was their agent? And based on this info, is there a pattern of such books being taken on by these people or publishers, or is that book you found more of a one-off? From there, you can start compiling your list. Are these editors/agents available for interview to say why they took the chance, what it took to market something so hard to box in? (or do such interviews already exist? Likely)
     
  25. Carriage Return

    Carriage Return Member

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