Non Fiction Essay Collection Publishers

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This past weekend I started researching small publishing houses.  I often joke that I write for a niche audience of about ten people so I figured maybe an indie press would be the way to go to get my short story collection published.  The first thing I noticed as I started poking around was that a large amount of small presses only read unsolicited manuscripts and query letters in June.  I don’t know why this is, but it pushed me into high-gear to get this list done before the end of the month.

The second thing I noticed was a lot of the presses I found had published writers who were rejected by big publishing houses and in a lot of cases those titles had ended up receiving awards and high-acclaim.  In this light I think we can safely say that the editors of these presses are looking for great literature, the type of literature that a large publisher might not take a chance on, but which has potential and should be in print.

So, here is my list of 12 small presses who will either accept query letters directly from writers or who will accept submissions of writing directly from writers.

(Note: If you find that any of the publishers on this list are no longer accepting unsolicited submissions, please leave a comment below so I can update the list.)

1.  Black Balloon Publishing – Brooklyn, New York

“We cater to writers who kick conventions curbside, who provoke without sentiment, who make the despicable somehow appealing.”

Even though this list is in alphabetical order I still think this publisher deserves to be first.  They’re publishing innovative avant-garde fiction.  And they are actively searching for new emerging voices.   Plus, the company was started by Elizabeth Koch who co-founded the Literary Death Match.

Reading Period:  Rolling

Submission Type: Fiction, Illustrated Novels

2.  Brooklyn Arts Press – Brooklyn, New York

“We believe we serve our community best by publishing great works of varying aesthetics side by side, subverting the notion that writers & artists exist in vacuums, apart from the culture in which they reside.”

Brooklyn Arts Press (BAP) is an indie press looking for emerging lyrical writers of poetry, fiction, or chapbooks.  They’ve been involved in some exciting projects over the last few years.  If you’re interested, checkout poet Paige Taggart or the collaboration between authors Martin Ott and John F Buckley.

Reading Period: June 1 – June 30

Submission Type: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry, Chapbooks

3.  Coffee House Press – Minneapolis, Minnesota

“The mission of Coffee House Press is to publish exciting, vital, and enduring authors of our time; to delight and inspire readers; to contribute to the cultural life of our community; and to enrich our literary heritage.”

Coffee House Press is a nonprofit indie press.  They publish novels, short story collections, and creative nonfiction.  They’ve published such award-winning authors as Ron Padgett, Anne Waldman, Stephen Dixon, Anne Waldman, and Rikki Ducorne.

Reading periods: March 1 – 31 and September 1 – 30

Submission Type: Fiction, Nonfiction, (not currently accepting poetry)

4.  Dalkey Archive Press – London, Dublin, and Illinois

“We place a heavy emphasis upon fiction that belongs to the experimental tradition of Sterne, Joyce, Rabelais, Flann O’Brien, Beckett, Gertrude Stein, and Djuna Barnes.”

Dalkey Archive Press specializes in publishing lesser known, often avant-garde writers.  Founded in 1984, this publishing house has been around long enough to pick up some notable names. They’ve published such writers as Carlos Fuentes, Djuna Barnes, and Flann O’Brien.

Reading periods: Rolling

Submission Type: Fiction, Academic Essays

5.  Dzanc Books – Ann Arbor, Michigan

“Dzanc Books was created in 2006 to advance great writing and to impact communities nationally with our efforts to promote literary readership and advocacy of creative writing workshops and readings offered across the country.”

Not only does Dzanc publish award-winning literary fiction, but they also offer a slew of community programs.  They have a writers-in-residency program that connects published writers with elementary school kids.  They have a mentor program that offers low-cost writing instruction to beginning writers.  And they have a summer writers’ conference in Lisbon, Portugal.

Reading periods: Rolling for Novels (They have submissions through annual contests for short story collections and nonfiction.)

Submission Type: Novels, Short Story Collections, Nonfiction

6. McSweeney’s Quarterly & Books – San Francisco, California

“McSweeney’s began in 1998 as a literary journal that published only works rejected by other magazines. That rule was soon abandoned, and since then McSweeney’s has attracted work from some of the finest writers in the country.”

Besides publishing the literary journal, Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, McSweeney’s also publishes a variety of books under various imprints.  Through their magazine and imprints they have published authors such as Nick Hornby, Rick Moody, Joyce Carol Oates, Michael Chabon, and T.C. Boyle.

Reading periods: Reopens September 1, 2014

Submission Type: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Children’s books

7.  The Feminist Press – New York City, New York

“The Feminist Press promotes voices on the margins of dominant culture and publishes feminist works from around the world, inspiring personal transformation and social justice.”

Founded in 1970, The Feminist Press is the longest surviving women’s publishing house in the world. It currently operates out of the City University of New York.  Over the decades they’ve published such authors as Zora Neale Hurston, Shahrnush Parsipur, Anita Hill, and many more.  Recently they published a nonfiction account of the band Pussy Riot titled, Pussy Riot! A punk Prayer for Freedom.

Reading periods: Rolling

Submission Type: Fiction, Nonfiction

8.  Gival Press – Arlington, Virginia

“We publish the work of poets and authors who demonstrate quality and whose work has a message, be it philosophical or social.”

Founded in 1998, Gival Press publishes fiction and nonfiction in English, French, and Spanish.  Their titles have won awards ranging from the “Independent Publisher Book Award” to the “London Book Festival Award.”

Reading periods: May 15-August 15

Submission Type: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry

9.  Livingston Press – Livingston, Alabama

“In 1993, the press expanded its focus to publish “Offbeat & Southern Literature,” as well as regional history.”

Livingston Press, of the University of West Alabama, was founded in 1984. This nonprofit press publishes writers with a strong voice.  Most of their writers are from the South, but they do have a few from other regions of the US.  They usually publish around ten books a year.

Reading periods: June 1-June 30

Submission Type: Novels, Short Story Collections

10.  Monkey Puzzle Press – Boulder, Colorado

“When that story is screaming inside your head, we want to read it. And so does the rest of the jungle.”

This hip new press may be small, but they’re publishing some innovative writing in both full book format and chapbook format.  They are currently looking for both emerging and established writers to add to their catalogue.

Reading periods: Rolling

Submission Type: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry, Chapbooks

11. Soft Skull Press – Berkeley, California

“Here at Soft Skull we love books that are new, fun, smart, revelatory, quirky, groundbreaking, cage-rattling and/or/otherwise unusual.”

Founded in 1992, this small press is now an imprint of Counterpoint LLC.  Over the years its titles have been nominated and won several Lambda Literary Awards.  Its all-star roster includes Lydia Millet and Rajiv Joseph.

Reading periods: Rolling

Submission Type: Fiction, Nonfiction

12.  Solid Object – New York City, New York

This publisher may have only started in 2010, but they’re already making waves with beautifully crafted books and a slim roster of great authors.  From Elizabeth Robinson’s On Ghosts to Jake Bohstedt Morrill’s Randy Bradley you’ll want to keep an eye on this press.

Reading periods: Rolling

Submission Type: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Drama


Milkweed Editions publishes 18-20 books per year of nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and translation. "We believe that literature has the potential to change the way we see the world, and that bringing new voices to essential conversations is the clearest path to ensuring a vibrant, diverse, and empowered future."

Submissions: Milkweed Editions will be open to manuscripts of fiction (novels, novellas, and short story collections) from May 1–31, 2017. They do not publish romance, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, crime, or westerns. Please submit a query letter with three opening chapters (of a novel) or three representative stories (of a collection). See guidelines HERE.


Persea Books

Persea Books is an independent, literary publishing house founded in 1975 by Michael Braziller and Karen Braziller, who still own and direct the company. The aim of the press is to publish works that endure by meeting high standards of literary merit and relevance. They publish poetry, fiction, essays, memoir, biography, titles of Jewish and Middle Eastern interest, women's studies, American Indian folklore, and revived classics, as well as works in translation. They do not publish genre fiction (romance, fantasy, science fiction, thrillers), self-help, textbooks, or children's books.

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. See guidelines HERE.


Queen’s Ferry Press

Founded in 2011 as an independent publisher, Queen’s Ferry Press specializes in literary fiction. Inspired by a Scottish coastal estuary through which crossings have occurred for over a thousand years, the press seeks to publish works that convey via structuring and interpretation. At Queen’s Ferry Press, physical crafting and emotional connection are celebrated. The press currently releases 6–12 titles a year, many from debut authors, and is the publisher of Shadows of Men, the 2013 recipient of the TIL Steven Turner Award for Best Work of First Fiction. Queen’s Ferry Press is proud to extend its mission of providing a venue for fine literary collections by branching into other genres of fiction.

Submissions: Reading periods unknown. Check submission manager for open calls.


Rainfall Books

Rainfall Books is a British publisher of fantasy, horror and science fiction, specializing in modern works inspired by the writing of H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard and Clark Ashton Smith. 
Submissions: Rainfall has published 150 chapbooks over the past three or four years and have many more waiting in the wings. They are always looking for submissions for chapbooks in the form of poetry and short stories. They are happy to publish reprints. Please read guidelines here.

Red Hen Press

Red Hen Press is an independent, non-profit press that publishes about twenty books of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry every year. They are looking for novels, memoir, creative nonfiction, hybrid works, and story, essay, and poetry collections of exceptional literary merit that demonstrate a high level of mastery.

Submissions: Writers may submit either the full manuscript or a sample of between 20 and 30 pages. Please keep in mind that full manuscripts take longer to review. All manuscripts should include page numbers on every page. Read guidelines HERE.


Small Beer Press

Small Beer Press is a small press located in Easthampton, Massachusetts. It was founded in 2000 and is run by Gavin J. Grant and Kelly Link. They publish 6-10 books per year. They pay a small advance and standard royalties. Their ebook royalty rate is 40% of net receipts. 

Submissions: Please send a query with a synopsis and 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. No email queries. See full guidelines HERE.



Tartarus is a small British independent press founded in 1990. They specialize in collectible hardback limited editions of literary supernatural/strange/horror fiction. They also publish paperbacks and ebooks. Tartarus has been the recipient of four World Fantasy Awards, and in 2010 received a "Stoker" from the Horror Writers Association. 
Submissions: Tartarus is looking for short story collections and novels of between 75,000 and 120,000 words. They are not interested in high fantasy, violent horror or young adult fiction. Electronic submissions should be sent to as a Word or rtf attachment. Please send a synopsis or first two or three chapters/stories when first getting in contact. Additionally, they are now accepting single short story submissions for Strange Tales V. Please read full guidelines here.


Uncial Press

Uncial Press is seeking submissions of complete manuscripts. "Our present needs are for futuristic, contemporary, paranormal and historical romance, other fantasy and paranormal stories; cozy and traditional mysteries; Science Fiction; and nonfiction how-to books and humor. Please feel free to query us about stories in other genres, because the list of what we would like to see is far too long to include here. We will consider both book-length works (at least 50,000 words) and superlative shorter fiction (at least 5,000 words.)" Read submission guidelines HERE.


Academic Presses

Arte Público Press

Arte Público Press, affiliated with the University of Houston, specializes in publishing contemporary novels, short stories, poetry, and drama based on U.S. Hispanic (Cuban American, Mexican American, Puerto Rican, and others) cultural issues and themes. Submissions: Arte Público uses an online submission form. See submission guidelines HERE.


Northwestern University Press 

Prestigious authors first published by Northwestern University Press have been the recipients of numerous prizes, including the Nobel Prize in Literature and the National Book Award. Publishes sixty books per year. Read submission guidelines HERE.


University of Nebraska Press 

The University of Nebraska Press publishes scholarly and trade publications. Founded in 1941, they publish scholarly monographs, literary works, and general interest books in select areas. Read submission guidelines HERE.

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