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View Full Version : Top e-publishers for Science Fiction/Fantasy who accept unagented submissions?



Pisco Sour
01-12-2015, 11:44 AM
I've been asked to give a talk in March about writing for the e-publishing market, and though I am e-published in romance I know next to nothing about how it works in the Science Fiction/Fantasy world. So, in order to give a light overview I'd like to research the top three or four e-publishers who accept unsolicited, un-agented submissions. Are there any? I remember looking into this a few years ago when I was writing a sci-fi (romance) and coming up empty. Anyhoo, I'll then read their submission guidelines and research them on Preds and Eds (if they are on there) and the AW Bewares & Recs forum, but I need a starting point to get a feel for any differences between this world and the romance e-publishers. Thanks for any help!

Filigree
01-12-2015, 04:17 PM
My top picks would be, in order: Tor, DAW, then Del Rey. Tor is the giant in the field, with many powerhouse authors. DAW has the rep of taking longer books on query than others. Del Rey lost a bit of its luster for me starting about 20 years ago - anecdotal evidence suggests they are relatively quick to drop underperforming authors/series. There are other publishers in the SFF game, but those are my first targets. I've been reading all of them since the late 70s.

The unagented slush pile is a long shot with any of the big genre imprints. They accept unsolicited queries or mms (check individual guidelines) but those can languish for many months. And they're usually 'no-simultaneous submissions', meaning an author contacts them one at a time.

Cathy C
01-12-2015, 04:41 PM
Go to this link for SFWA membership requirements (http://www.sfwa.org/about/join-us/sfwa-membership-requirements/) and scroll down to "Qualified Professional Markets." Most all publishers have an epub line, but some are e-only. :)

Filigree
01-12-2015, 05:23 PM
Aside: my agent won't pitch my work to two of the major new e-only Big Five SFF imprints. What works for erotic romance is still an unproven market, she says. Anecdotally, of the authors I know at those e-only imprints, two are selling well (several hundred copies a month) and three are selling poorly (a dozen or fewer copies a month).

Pisco Sour
01-12-2015, 05:44 PM
Thanks Filigree and Cathy! Now I've got a starting point and also some very good info for this genre! I've always read Tor, for example, but never knew they were e-pub, also. Last year I saw Simon 451 and I subbed something but withdrew it bc it was really a romance, and not what I think they were looking for. Anyhoo, very much appreciate your input. I want to do my best to give people a good overview of how volatile e-publishers are, with an insight into several genres and not just my own. Off to research your info with notepad and pen, just like highschool. LOL.

KMTolan
01-12-2015, 06:50 PM
Double Dragon is probably the largest SF/F e-pub I know of, and like many e-pubs, won't be on the SFFWA list because they aren't handing out $2k advances or maintaining any kind of print runs. Most e-pubs I'm familiar with would never make that "professional" list. Might want to check with DuoTrope instead.

Kerry

Cathy C
01-12-2015, 08:28 PM
Double Dragon is probably the largest SF/F e-pub I know of, and like many e-pubs, won't be on the SFFWA list because they aren't handing out $2k advances or maintaining any kind of print runs. Most e-pubs I'm familiar with would never make that "professional" list. Might want to check with DuoTrope instead.

Kerry

Unfortunately, you wouldn't find Double Dragon on Duotrope either. They're disqualified (https://duotrope.com/listing/1204)

Pisco Sour
01-12-2015, 09:22 PM
Double Dragon is probably the largest SF/F e-pub I know of, and like many e-pubs, won't be on the SFFWA list because they aren't handing out $2k advances or maintaining any kind of print runs. Most e-pubs I'm familiar with would never make that "professional" list. Might want to check with DuoTrope instead.

Kerry

Thanks, Kerry, and Cathy, for your comments! I've looked at the website--and wow, talk about complicated submission procedures, or is it just me?--and it seems Double Dragon charges fees for editing (bolded in red and clarified on the site). A bit iffy, maybe, but all I can do is advise prospective authors that this set-up does exist out there, and does not necessarily mean a publisher is to be avoided. They also make a point of stating that mss should have little editing needed to be done, which in and of itself isn't necessarily a bad thing. We should all write as 'clean' as possible. However, it would make me wonder about the quality of this publisher's editing were I considering submitting. If I include this publisher in my sample overview as an example of what's 'out there' I'll advise people to download some of their books (free samples, or whatever the wallet can afford).

KMTolan
01-12-2015, 10:44 PM
and it seems Double Dragon charges fees for editing (bolded in red and clarified on the site)

Wow, just...wow. Yeah, won't be suggesting them any time soon (or at all). Still, bad (horrible, actually) example aside, there are a large number of reputable small publishers to choose from aside from the guild list.

Kerry

veinglory
01-12-2015, 10:52 PM
Double Dragon was in good standing and had great market share for a long time. I don't think any single publisher if their obvious successor; it starts to splinter by sub-genre.

waylander
01-13-2015, 01:50 AM
Carina and Carina(UK) will both take unagented SF/F subs. How good they are, I leave for others to decide.

Roxxsmom
01-13-2015, 06:39 AM
There's Musa publishing. They're an e-book focused press, I believe. I have a couple of writing friends who have had novels published by them. I can ask them what their experiences were.

Filigree
01-13-2015, 06:59 AM
I would strongly suggest reading the Musa thread on AW, before recommending it to new authors.

Pisco Sour
01-13-2015, 06:12 PM
Thanks, Filigree! :) I'm up to date on Musa, having followed the disaster thread for a while now. Terrible, but a good example that even when a publisher is/looks good, initially, things can go horribly wrong.

Roxxsmom
01-13-2015, 11:44 PM
Ouch! I know there were issues with their magazine Penumbra (which now appears to be defunct).

Neither of these friends were brand new authors, I should note, as they'd both published numerous short stories, and one had published a novel with a small press.

Jess Haines
01-17-2015, 03:50 AM
Go to this link for SFWA membership requirements (http://www.sfwa.org/about/join-us/sfwa-membership-requirements/) and scroll down to "Qualified Professional Markets." Most all publishers have an epub line, but some are e-only. :)

SFWA also does blog posts about short story markets (http://www.sfwa.org/category/business-of-writing/where-to-submit/) in their resources section.

I believe they used to have a page that had a full list (including links) somewhere, but it seems to have disappeared with the website update.

Tor.com (http://www.tor.com/page/submissions-guidelines) (not to be confused with Tor, the Macmillan imprints that take full length novels (http://us.macmillan.com/?publisher=torforge&id=255#ctl00_cphContent_ctl30_lblQuestion)) takes submissions of short stories.

Kensington has an e-only imprint (http://www.ekensingtonbooks.com/) now.

I'm sure there are others that are escaping me at the moment... I remember I had a link saved somewhere that listed all of the SFF paying epubs (primarily short story markets, but a few took full length mss) and their submission statuses/guidelines in brief. It was incredibly useful, but I'll be damned if I can remember what the heck I did with it or what the site was called.

If I can dig it up again I'll post it here.

Filigree
01-17-2015, 06:16 AM
Great links, Jess.

Pisco Sour
01-17-2015, 12:28 PM
Thanks for the links, Jess! Great stuff and plenty to get my chomps into! My powerpoint is getting better by the second--not to mention my own understanding of paying markets in different genres. Thanks!

waylander
01-17-2015, 05:41 PM
Kensington has an e-only imprint (http://www.ekensingtonbooks.com/) now.



It does, but they do not appear to be looking for SF/F that is not romance orientated.

Filigree
01-17-2015, 05:45 PM
Also, re: the Kensington e-imprint, I'm hearing from authors that the publisher doesn't appear to want SFF romance that is too dark or heavy.

dondomat
01-23-2015, 06:09 PM
Harlequin's space opera imprint, and every little indie epub of the aforementioned Musa caliber: the Musitups, the Zharmaes, the Zumayas, the Eternals, World Castles, Solstices, and the rest. They very likely will nor be able to do your book justice in the editing and marketing departments, but if it's publishable level or almost, at least one of them will take it.
Necro Press, a respectable horror press, have a speculative imprint Bedlam, I think.
Ralan (http://ralan.com/m.publish.htm) and the Submission Grinder (http://thegrinder.diabolicalplots.com/Search.aspx) are your friends, when looking for epubs, and AW is your major friend, when you check the epubs you find here, and begin hoping against hope that for you, they'll be an exception and be efficient and prompt and you will make their reputations and they will make you a star:D
But seriously, today's best epub situation is probably 47north and the other Amazon imprints. Amazon controls the spice and he who controls the spice controls the universe.

waylander
01-23-2015, 07:24 PM
But seriously, today's best epub situation is probably 47north and the other Amazon imprints. Amazon controls the spice and he who controls the spice controls the universe.

Except that they don't take unagented submissions http://www.apub.com/contact

Filigree
01-24-2015, 12:12 AM
+1 for getting an agent. Also, for informed self-publishing.

I cannot imagine a situation (outside of a charity anthology piece) where I would submit a borderline-publishable mms to a borderline publisher. If they can't do justice to the work with good covers, strong editing, diligent marketing, and reasonable sales - why would I sub to them? For the sake of saying I was 'published'? Because of the myth that I might get discovered that way, and approached by bigger pubs or agents?

I may not reach that goal often, but I firmly believe in "Go big or go home" when it comes to publishing strategies. Anecdotally, I've seen a huge difference between the work of someone writing 'just good enough' and someone who hones their craft to fit bigger, better-paying markets.

The latter authors seem to do better when they self-publish, too.

dondomat
01-24-2015, 11:31 AM
Except that they don't take unagented submissions http://www.apub.com/contact

Ah, well, scratch that. Back when the world was young and they only just appeared...the sky was the limit...you could actually achieve something with your own hands...not like this newfangled agented nonsense...wouldn't know an honest day's submission sending if it...

Filigree
01-24-2015, 09:13 PM
;) I will join Dondomat in shaking my cane at the world and yelling 'Get off my lawn!'

Seriously, things are so much better in more ways now than in 1987. Yes, mass market paperback authors could make a living off advances, but the slush pile was just as packed, and agents just as picky. No email subs, so everything was type and photocopied. I begged time at college for a dot-matrix print job that I then had to retype - no publisher or agent wanted that excuse for a font. Waiting, waiting, waiting for months on a single sub. The writing community was tighter and even more of an in-crowd clique (hard on new authors who didn't make the right contacts, willing to look the other way or actively excuse outrageous behavior, etc.)

Now self-publishing has very little stigma to it. Lots more crap published - but lots more good stuff, too. My midlife author friends who lost major contracts, or had to reinvent themselves with new pen names, can do it much more easily now. Communities like AW and genre-specific pro organizations help us reach out to other writers.

Even the Beast that is Am4zon has its good points.