12 Publishers That Offer Advances to Most Authors

Written by Emily Harstone | August 24, 2016

An advance is a signing bonus  that is paid to the author before the book is published. It is paid against future royalty earnings. So for every dollar you receive in an advance, you have to earn a dollar from book sales before you receive any additional royalty payments. Most independent publishers do not offer advances to first time authors.

Although many of the publishers that we review might offer advances to some authors, particularly those with a good publishing history, most do not offer advances to most of their authors. For some authors it is not necessarily the money that the advance involves that is a big deal, because the idea is that you would eventually earn that money through royalties, but many authors like the prestige involved with an advance. Their publisher is making a bet on them after all.

Unfortunately most of the publishers on this list do not disclose how much their advances generally are. If there are even ball park sums available, I include them.

All of the publishers on this list offer advances to most of their authors. Not all of the publishers are currently open to submissions, but most are. The list is organized alphabetically.

1. Angry Robot

Angry Robot is a respected science fiction and fantasy publisher that occasionally dips into related genres (such as urban fantasy, steampunk, and horror). Angry Robot was originally funded by HarperCollins. They are now part of Watkins Media Ltd. They offer advances and good royalty rates. The contract they offer covers print, ebook, and audio book rights.

2. BenBella

BenBella is a niche publishing company run by Glen Yeffeth. Yeffeth has a marketing background but he is also a lover of books. They have a good distributor and are a marketing oriented company.  The editors receive high praise for their ability to edit books.  They only publish works of non-fiction. They publish between 30-40 books a year. Fourteen of their books have been number one on the New York Times Best Sellers list.

3. Bold Strokes

Bold Strokes Books publishes only LGBTQ books, which means that its books feature characters that are Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Trans, and Queer. They publish general and genre fiction. They offer advances to their authors.

4. Cedar Fort

Cedar Fort is a print and electronic publisher based out of Salt Lake City. They are the second largest publisher in Utah. They publish over 150 books a year. Their books cover a wide range of topics, from cookbooks to juvenile fiction.They are open to publishing reprints and they offer advances. The typical advances they offer are around $2,000.

5. Ghost Pines

Ghost Pines Publishing is an independent press dedicated to dark fantasy fiction. They go to great length to define the term dark fantasy, but the main points appear to be that dark fantasy is sympathetic to the monsters themselves and it is set in a contemporary setting with fantasy elements. So think of series like The Dresden Files, rather than Harry Potter or Supernatural. They offer advances for most books, but not all.

6. Harlequin

Harlequin is easily the most famous romance only publisher out there. In fact, their name was synonymous with romance novels when I was growing up. They have wide distribution, from grocery stores to bookstores. They are everywhere. Most of the famous romance writers, including Mercedes Lackey, Nora Roberts and Christopher Rice got their start at Harlequin. They were acquired by Harper Collins a number of years ago. They do generally offer advances.

7. Soft Skull Press

Soft Skull Press is a small publisher of literary fiction and nonfiction based out of California. They publish a wide variety of quirky and well written work. They have published a number of well known authors, including Maggie Nelson. They are a niche press. Their distributor is Publishers Group West. They are now an imprint of Counterpoint Press. They are open to unsolicited queries of nonfiction only. For literary work they require an agent. They offer advances.

8. Ticonderoga Publications

They are a small Australian based print publisher that has been around since 1996. They focus on publishing speculative fiction. That means they are open to a wide variety of sub-genres, including fantasy, science fiction, horror, steam punk, and paranormal. They offer advances to authors. Although they do not disclose the details of their contracts, they appear to be pretty standard in terms of royalties.

9. Tor/Forge

Tor/Forge publishes science fiction and fantasy books. Run by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, Tor/Forge is an imprint of Macmillan, one of the big five publishers. Tor is one of the most established science fiction publishers and they have won the Locus Award for best SF publisher 26 years in a row. They offer advances to most authors

11. Parvus Press

Parvus Press is a new digital first publisher of science fiction and fantasy novels. They are offering advances of up to $3,500 as well as quarterly royalties on sales.

12.Ulysses Press

Ulysses Press is an independent publisher that has been around for almost a decade. They focus on publishing nonfiction books aimed at niche markets.  It is a good idea to go through their catalog before submitting to see if your work is a good fit for their press. They are looking for books on the forefront of emerging trends, books that have a unique angle on an established topic, or books that fill a demonstrated niche in the trade book market. They offer advances.