Finding Fantasy Publishers

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bunny hugger

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A few years ago, I got a better job. No longer needing to write for supplementary income, I started writing a fantasy novel just for enjoyment. It is a high fantasy feudal power-struggle farce with magic etc. It is now close to being finished and seems publishable. I have not written this genre before, so I could use some hints on how to find places to submit. The publisher I had in mind is closed to submissions. Is Submission grinder a good place to start or Ralan?
 

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Ralan's F/SF specific, so is a good place to start. SubGrinder doesn't have as many listings for full length novels, I don't think?

Would you be better off shopping it round agents first? They can get your manuscript in front of editors who don't accept unagented submissions, which sadly is a lot of them.

Is this a "broad market appeal" kind of novel, or is it a niche "lesbian romance fantasy" kind of book? For the former, you'd be looking at DAW, Tor, Baen, and the other biggie presses. For the latter, you're almost certainly going to have to go with a small press.
 

ChaseJxyz

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Yeah, I was gonna say, why are you looking directly for publishers? There are SOME open markets for novellas, but not a ton.

The thing about sf/f is that there's a lot of Those Guys in this genre. Like "I like reading GRRM and Brandon Sanderson. MY book is going to be just like that! That's why my debut novel is 400,000 words and I will NOT budge on it! It is deep and realistic (this means that my book has sexual assault, because that's what happens in the real life, also GRRM does it, so I can do it, too!) so everyone will love it" types. And they do not take criticism or feedback well (if at all), because their idea is so GOOD and ORIGINAL, yeah I know the website says they don't accept unagented submissions, but my novel is SO COOL that they're gonna love it anyways! And the publishers just...don't want to deal with that.

There are SOME very small presses that deal with unagented stuff, but their open windows are pretty small, cause they get so many. But small presses also tend to target very specific markets, so if your story fits that, it will be worth waiting around for them to open up. One of my fantasy novels is Incredibly Weird and it probably will not have "broad market appeal." But, by god, would a large majority of furries love it, so I will submit to the furry-centric presses...once I've shopped it around to agents first, cause maybe normal people would like it? Maybe a big pub would want it. But I have no way of knowing that without trying.
 

Brigid Barry

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I was on the hunt for horror publishers - I had two small ones close on me (before I had a contract signed, fortunately), and a lot of them aren't taking unagented submissions.

My "poor me" thread in Rejections and Dejections might have some names, here are a few that I dug up from who knows where (and there's no guarantee that they aren't horrible, I hadn't vetted anyone yet). A few might be horror only, but a lot of them do more than one genre, most are SF/F.

I do want to add: if you shop around to publishers and they reject you, it's going to tie an agent's hands later. An agent might help you polish and revise to make you as marketable as possible, but if you've already been rejected there isn't much they can do for that publisher.

The list:

Angry Robot
Arkham House
Tartarus
Quirk
Jo Fletcher
Dzanc
Apex Books
Subterranean
PS Publishing
Night Shade
Stelliform press
Baen books
Bancroft press
Belle books
Bundoran press
Edge
Erewhon books
Literary wanderlust
Mcsweeney’s
Mythos & ink
Green writer’s press
Polis books
Snowbooks
Seven stories press
Tor/forge
Torrey house press
Filles vertes
Harvard square editions
Owl hollow press
Uproar books
Bronzeville
 

Little Anonymous Me

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I've got a gremlin on sub right now, and I am going agents first (I am going to risk the slush pile at Baen and Baen only). My limit is 50 agent rejections, and then I will evaluate what I will do going forward from there. I would hang around QLH and watch how the feedback goes on some query threads to get a feel for what is looked for, then go on Query Tracker and look for agents that match what you have written.

Edit: reading comp issues
 
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Woollybear

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I think Bronzeville got into some trouble a year or two ago. They were interested in Aerovoyant when i was looking around in 2019, and so I started poking deeper into their practices and such. That's when they shifted toward horror, and soon after there were rumors of late payment and suits. i think they did the right thing in the end, but my recollection is that they had issues. Possibly cleaned up since.
 
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bunny hugger

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I have a large non-fiction project about to start, and a busy time at work. So my intention was to look for a respectable small press for this one. I think its a good book but it's my fun project and I just don't feel like I have the mental resources to go the agent route.
 

waylander

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I've got a gremlin on sub right now, and I am going agents first (I am going to risk the slush pile at Baen and Baen only). My limit is 50 agent rejections, and then I will evaluate what I will do going forward from there. I would hang around QLH and watch how the feedback goes on some query threads to get a feel for what is looked for, then go on Query Tracker and look for agents that match what you have written.

Edit: reading comp issues
Don't forget we have our own AW list of SF/F agents right here: https://absolutewrite.com/forums/index.php?threads/a-compiled-list-of-sf-fantasy-agents.42019/
 
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Unimportant

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I have a large non-fiction project about to start, and a busy time at work. So my intention was to look for a respectable small press for this one. I think its a good book but it's my fun project and I just don't feel like I have the mental resources to go the agent route.
Makes sense.

A "a high fantasy feudal power-struggle farce" (and presumably not aimed specifically at a GLBTQ audience) might well suit Baen (though they're not a small press and their response times are measured in geologic eras :( after that, yep research relevant smaller presses with a rep.
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