The Ten Best Manuscript Publishers: 2016 Edition

Written by Emily Harstone | November 4, 2016

There are a lot of publishers out there and it can be overwhelming to find the right ones. We help authors by reviewing one publisher a week. Some of these reviews are glowing, others are deservedly mixed.

This year we were excited about most of the publishers we reviewed. We reviewed a larger proportion of excellent publishers than in previous years. That made curating this list more difficult than ever.

Below are the top publishers that we have reviewed in 2016. All of these publishers consider pitch or manuscript submissions from authors without an agent or previous publishing experience.

Not all are open to manuscripts or pitches at this time, but many are. We reviewed so many good publishers this year that it was hard to whittle the list down to just ten publishers.

If you are curious about the best manuscript publishers we reviewed in 2015 you can read that article here.

The list is in no particular order.

To read our full review of the publisher click on the name.

Kensington Publishing

This large independent publisher is based out of New York. They publish a wide variety of mainstream fiction and non-fiction, with a particular focus on romance. They publish an average of 600 books a year, so they accept a lot more submissions than most independent publishers. To get a good feeling for what they have previously published this is a good place to start. As far as I can tell they are interested in most genres except hard science fiction. They publish a particularly large range of romance, from Amish romance to LGBTQ.

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, e-book, and audio book rights.

Turner Books

Turner publishes books in a wide range of categories and formats—fiction and non-fiction. They publish mainly in print but have electronic options as well. They are a major independent publishing house that has a number of imprints.

Arthur A. Levine Books

An imprint of Scholastic Inc. Arthur A. Levine Books  was founded in 1996. They publish hardcover literary fiction and nonfiction for children and teenagers (and discerning adults). They have published many award winning and nominated books, as well as a number of very well known and respected authors (including J.K. Rowling).

Source Books

A large independent publisher based out of Illinois, they also have offices in Connecticut and New York. Source books was started in 1987 by Dominique Raccah. They also have several imprints all founded within the last decade. They started out publishing business books but then expanded to gift books. A number of books they have published have been New York Times Bestsellers, including We Interrupt This Broadcast, And The Crowd Goes Wild both by Joe Garner.

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.

Quirk Books

This Philadelphia based press publishes just 25 books a year in a whole range of genres, from children’s books to nonfiction to science fiction. They have published a wide variety of best sellers and they have excellent distribution. Some of their bestsellers include The Last Policeman, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  You probably recognize more of the books they have published, you might even own a few.

Holiday House

Holiday House is an established and reputable children’s book publisher. Holiday House has been around for over 75 years. They publish picture books as well as books aimed at children grades 1-3, grades 4-6, and grades 7 and up. They are based out of New York City. They have published many well known books and authors, including Kenneth Grahame. The books that they have published have won numerous respected awards and honors.

Chicago Review Press

Chicago Review Press was founded over 40 years ago. They are an established independent publisher of literary fiction, non-fiction and memoir. They also publish books for children (but not picture books). They were founded by Curt Matthews and his wife, Linda Matthews. Curt was the former editor of the literary journal the Chicago Review.

The Totally Entwined Group

The Totally Entwined Group is an eBook and print publisher that was successful in its own right, before being purchased by the Bonnier Publishing group. There have been some shifts in focus since Bonnier purchased it in 2015, but the group still has a good reputation and its focus is still on its two flagship established imprints – Pride and Totally Bound.