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Thread: Best Small/Medium Presses

  1. #1
    figuring it all out writera's Avatar
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    Best Small/Medium Presses

    If I'm posting this in the wrong area, please let me know. I was wondering if there's a list anywhere of the best small or medium presses that take submissions directly from authors? As some of you know, I've complied quite a few over in the Fantasy/Science-Fiction section (where I posted a list), and I know there's a list on QueryTracker. But apart from those, and searching through all the publisher-specific posts in this forum, I'm wondering if there's any I've overlooked. Can anyone recommend some legit small/mid presses or great off-the-beaten track publishers I might have overlooked (doesn't have to be just for speculative fiction) or point me to a place where there's a recent, comprehensive list? So far, I seem to stumble upon a decent-looking one every few weeks, and I know it's difficult to keep track of publishers with so many new ones vanishing or emerging, but just wonder if I've overlooked any real gems. Thanks!
    Last edited by writera; 11-24-2017 at 09:20 PM.

  2. #2
    Grumpy writer and editor Absolute Sage Gillhoughly's Avatar
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    There are still larger presses who look at unagented subs. The idea is start at the top with the biggest dog you can find and work your way down to smaller pooches.

    I had the idea back in the day that a smaller place would be more open to my works. Only later did I see that they have to be even more picky about what they publish than the big ones. They have a much smaller profit margin and cannot take chances on new writers the way the big guys can.

    After one small press accepted my manuscript--and went belly up in bankruptcy two weeks later--I sent my book to the biggest name in that genre at the time. Good grief! They bought it!

    I do not know if there is a list, but assembling your own and keeping track of it is not a hard thing for you to do with the Internet on your side. There are points to check out:

    Do they have physical distribution of their books? As in: ARE their books in stores and not just "available" as print on demand or digital copies only?

    Do they have writers you have heard of? Do those writers have books in stores?

    How long have they been open? Avoid newbies. You don't want some place that hung out its shingle in the last year or so. Publishing is a complicated business and plenty of well-intentioned, but inexperienced people fold their tents in a very short time.

    If your aim is digital publication only, that's fine, but then these questions are even more important. There are hundreds of these little operations floating around, and for most, you are better off indie-publishing.

    Most importantly--do not trust anything they say on their websites, go by what others say about them. That's how scammers and incompetents are outed. The name of the place + "rip off" are what to put in a search box to get the dish.

    Always follow the rule: Money flows TOWARD the writer. Too many of these places that claim to be traditional or "boutique" want writers to chip in on publication costs. Screw that!

    As for getting your books into stores, the easy search is to go to those stores, look for the writers who have books similar to yours and a) find out who their agent is; b) note the publisher's name and look up their guidelines. If they want agent-only submissions, then you have a backup plan to find an agent who handles similar works.

    I am sure I wandered wide away from the question, but in the absence of the kind of list you seek, it may be better to systematically assemble your own.

  3. #3
    ....... Harlequin's Avatar
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    Big places often need agents, though, adn even those with slushpiles it's easy enough to get overlooked :/

    I can't get an agent but have found smaller presses more willing to consider.

    For SFF, I submitted to Edge and got a full request (ultimately turned down, for reasons I won't list here). They were very kind for the whole process.

    Newcon Press were great; still pending, probable refusal though, I reckon. They're not generally open to submissions, however.

    Kensington have a full and but it's ebook only for SFF from them (though I'd still take that). Kensington are one of the biggest indies I think.

    Angry Robot have a current open sub window (I'll try them too).

    Owl Hollow are newish but were also kind (another full request ending in refusal, for me).

    Tartarus, if you write the right kind of thing.

    Pyr accept some submissions. Pyr, Daw, and Tor are next on my list to accrue rejections from, after Angry Robot :-) Then trunk, finish series, and self publish in four years' time. But DAW and TOR are not small or indie so I'm not "counting" those in the indie list.
    Last edited by Harlequin; 11-26-2017 at 07:03 PM.
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