26 Non-Fiction Publishers Open to Direct Submissions

Written by Emily Harstone

The following publishers all focus on publishing non-fiction books. Most focus in on one or two aspect of non-fiction, such as history books, memoir, or cookbooks. Some are more broad in their interests. All of them are open to unsolicited submissions directly from authors. No agent required.

Almost all of these publishers open to proposals, which means that you do not need a completed manuscript in order to approach them. Most publishers of non-fiction require an outline of an incomplete manuscript. The details involved in what they expect in the proposal is generally included in our review of the publisher, or on the publishers website.

Most are currently open to submissions, but not all of them are.

Andrews McMeel

Andrews McMeel is a large publishing house that publishes up to 300 books a year. They are one of the largest publishers that will read proposals by authors that have not been previously published and do not have an agent.

Andrews McMeel Publishing is a leading publisher of general non-fiction trade books, gift books and humor books. Their company’s core publication categories are: cookbooks, comics & humor, and puzzles & games. They are open to some other categories as well; looking through their web catalog is the best way to get a feel for what kinds of books they publish. Learn more here.

Nelson 

Cengage Learning was a huge publishing company with a number of divisions and imprints. Although I cannot find out information about what happened, they appear to either have bought out, or be renamed within the last few months. The main branch, Cengage Learning, is now renamed Nelson and is now based out of Toronto, Ont. Nelson focuses on publishing work aimed at community college and university students.

They are currently looking for new textbooks, media projects, or fully online learning materials. So you could end up writing in any of those categories. They are very professional and most authors that publish with them have very positive things to say.

You can visit their main page for a better understanding of their company and their projects. To learn more about submitting your work go here.

The Experiment

The Experiment was an independent publisher launched in 2008. Since 2011 they have been an imprint of Workman Publishing.  They publish a range of nonfiction, focusing on practical things such as food (one of the bestsellers they have published is the Forks over Knives Cookbook), health and fitness, psychology and personal development, parenting, relationships, sexuality, and nature. Learn more here.

North Atlantic Books

North Atlantic Books is a publisher located in California. They have been publishing books since the 70s. They started out rather small and independent but now they are much larger and have excellent distribution through Penguin/Random House.

Over the decades they have focused on publishing a diverse range of books in the areas of alternative medicine, ecology, and spirituality. They publish fiction, purely academic books, and general nonfiction. They are only currently open to unsolicited submissions of nonfiction accessible to most readers. You can learn more here.

The Quarto Publishing Group

The Quarto Publishing Group is an international publishing house known for its illustrated books. They publish most of their work through a number of niche imprints each with their own focus. All of their US imprints are distributed by Hachette.

Their imprints are all nonfiction. They publish a lot of cookbooks and gift books. They also have imprints covering almost any nonfiction topic you can think of, including children’s nonfiction, parenting, vehicles and architecture. Learn more here.

Douglas & McIntyre

Douglas & McIntyre is one of Canada’s pre-eminent independent publishers, with books that have won many national and international awards, including the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award. They filed for bankruptcy a number of years ago. Harbour Publishing purchased Douglas & McIntyre at that point.

They specialize in publishing respected non-fiction and literary fiction. They prefer Canadian authors but are open to publishing the work of non Canadians. They have published some of the best known Canadian writers over the years, including Douglas Copeland. Learn more here.

Gibbs Smith

Gibbs Smith is an established publisher with good distribution and a focus on cook books, interior design and architecture books, and board books for children. They have published a number of bestsellers, including a board book version of Pride & Prejudice. Gibbs Smith is primarily a non-fiction publisher which is just now entering the fiction market for adults and middle readers. Learn more here.

Bellevue Literary Press

Bellevue Literary Press publishes works of narrative nonfiction and literary fiction geared towards a general readership. They are open to unsolicited submissions of both kinds of work. The work they publish explores the intersection between arts and science. Many of the characters in the fictional work that they publish are doctors and scientists, but many of their books also focus on the natural world. They seem to publish about four novels for every work of non-fiction they publish. Learn more here.

Workman Publishing

Workman Publishing is a large independent publishing company that now includes a number of separate imprints (most started out as their own companies and were purchased by Workman). The imprints include large established companies like Algonquin Books (which is no longer open to un-aganted submissions). The original Workman imprint is open to un-agented submissions. They focus on publishing exclusively nonfiction books for children and adults, as well as calendars. They do not accept unsolicited picture book submissions. Learn more here.

Duke University Press

Duke University Press is a respected academic press. Like most academic presses, they publish well researched books on a wide variety of subjects.

The list of subjects they publish book on include:

Latin American Studies, Social Movements, Gender Environmental Studies, Anthropology, Postcolonial Theory, Lesbian and Gay Studies, Construction of Race, Gender and National Identity, Social Studies of Science, New Media, Literary Criticism, Film and Television, Popular Music, Visual Studies Political Theory, Sociology and Social Theory, Geography, Cultural Studies, Gender Studies, American Studies, Literary Theory and Criticism, Asian American Studies, Science and Technology Studies, Food Studies, Religion, Women’s Studies, World History, and Humanities.

Learn more here.

Paulist Press

Paulist Press is an established press that has been around for 150 years. Paulist Press publishes Christian books in a wide variety of sub-genres, they have excellent distribution and sales within that market.

They have four primary categories of books that they publish: Academic Books, Children’s Books, Popular Books, Professional or Clergy Books. Learn more here.

Melville House

The non-fiction books they tend to publish lean towards the political or current events. The following titles should give you a better idea of the range of work that they publish, Is Journalism Worth Dying For?, The People Reloaded, Havana Real, Wild Food From Land And Sea, and The Silence Delusion. Learn more here.

Seven Stories Press

Seven Stories Press is an independent publisher that has been around for twenty years. They have published a number of highly respected books. Their books are distributed by Random House. They are most interested in publishing work that focuses on social justice issues. Learn more here.

Ulysses Press

Ulysses Press is an independent publisher that has been around for almost a decade. They focus on publishing non-fiction 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.

Genres they publish include Cleanse, Arts and Crafts, Coloring, Gifty Grabs, Fashion and Beauty, Healthy Eating, Krav Maga, Mmm Bites, Pop Culture, Prepping (for the apocalypse), Fitness, Special Diets, Trivia, Working Out, Rehab and Injury Prevention.

Learn more here.

Chronicle Books

An independent San Fransisco based publisher, they publish a wide variety of genres. When it comes to non-fiction they primarily focus on cookbooks and gift books. Learn more here.

Storey Publishing

The founders of Storey Publishing, John and Martha Storey bought the publishing arm of Garden Way. They initially named their new business Storey communications before renaming Storey Publishing. Their mission was to provide practical information that encourages independence in a way that is harmonious with the environment. The books they publish encourage and instruct readers of all ages of ways to enrich their lives through hand-on activities and experiences. All of what they publish is nonfiction and they covered such varied topics as home reference, crafts, beer & wine, raising animals, homesteading, and mind/body/spirit. Learn more here.

BenBella Books

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.The books they publish cover a range of topics, including cookbooks for herbivores, self-help books, and books about pop culture. By focusing on niche topics they are able to successfully market books to the right audiences. Learn more here.

Arcadia Publishing

Arcadia only publishes books about America, and they publish photo books, local history books, books about crime, books about sports, and local history books about specific locations. On their website you can search their back list by state, theme, or title. Their books are sold in museums, gift stores, and local bookstores, among other places. They have a focused promotion team that works on getting their books into the right hands. Learn more here.

Head of Zeus

Head of Zeus is a UK based print publisher that was founded in early 2012. They publish a wide variety of work including non-fiction, literary fiction, general and genre fiction. They have a number of imprints and have good distribution in the UK. A number of the books they have published have been subsequently picked up by American publishers. Learn more here.

Artisan

Artisan focuses on publishing visual heavy books non fiction books. The visuals themselves vary between photography, illustration, or graphic design, but the idea is that these books communicate ideas and lessons because of their strong visual components. Most of the books, including Artisan’s first bestseller The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller, include all three components. They are best known for their cookbooks, which continue to be bestsellers by famous chefs and food critics. But they also publish books about a wide variety of other topics including design, clothing, storytelling,  current interest and kids crafts. Reviewing their catalog here will give you a good picture of the wide range of books they publish. I encourage you to browse through at least three pages before deciding to submit, their range is that broad and surprising. Learn more here.

Immedium

Immedium was founded in 2004 and is led by experienced professionals, who have written critically acclaimed books, marketed print and digital media, and sold #1 nationwide best-sellers. Aquanauts, a series of books they published, was turned into a successful TV show for children. They publish non fiction about arts and culture. You can learn more here.

City Lights Books

City Lights Books is an independent publisher of fiction, essays, memoirs, translations, poetry, and books on social and political issues. We do not publish New Age, self-help, children’s literature, how-to guides, or genre works such as romance, westerns, or science fiction.”

City Lights Books is based out of San Fransisco and is indeed part of the famous bookstore there. City Lights Books was started by the famous poet and writer Lawrence Ferlinghetti. They are most often linked to the beat poetry movement. They have published New York Times best selling books. They have been a publisher for over 60 years. They publish about a dozen books each year. You can learn more here.

Diversion Books

Diversion Books was started by Scott Waxman of Waxman Literary Agency. He said that it started as an experiment of sorts to publish books that the agency represented that they had a hard time finding “Big 5” publishers to accept. That was seen as conflict of interest, and writers were initially very leery. However, after seven years they seem to be doing a good job.

Diversion Books started out as strictly an eBook publisher but now they publish print books as well. They publish a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books. They seem to have good distribution, as I have found their books in a number of bookstores. For a while they closed to unsolicited submissions, but currently they are open to un-agented queries. Unfortunately if they are not interested in your book they often do not respond. Learn more here.

Skyhorse Publishing

Skyhorse has published a number of well known best selling books within the non-fiction genre. They have wide distribution and you often see Skyhorse books on the shelves of Barnes & Nobles. The books range from serious research based non-fiction, to diet books, to books written by “celebrities.”

It is easy to sift through their back catalog to see if your book might fit. Learn more here.

Timber Press

Timber Press was founded in 1978 and publishes work about the natural world by experts in the fields of gardening, horticulture, and natural history. They were bought by the Workman publishing group in 2006. Timber Press is recognized internationally as a leading gardening publisher and their books have received awards from the American Horticultural Society, the Garden Writers of America, the Garden Media Guild, and the National Garden Club of America. They have published a number of bestsellers including Marta McDowell’s Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life. They are based out of Portland, Oregon. Learn more here.

Sterling Publishing

Sterling Publishing is owned by Barnes and Noble. They put it for sale a couple of years ago, but then after a period of time pulled it from the market. During this whole period Sterling has continued to publish books. They also have a large crafting imprint named Lark. Sterling has been publishing books for over 60 years.

Their website is currently under construction and focuses on authors, not on selling books, but given the fact that they have very good distribution that might not be as much of a priority for them.

The books they publish for adults cover current events, diet and health, parenting, pop culture, reference, history, art, artists, and music. They have a number of imprints with specific focuses on topics such as cooking.  They do not publish fiction for adults. Learn more here.