19 Mystery Publishers Open to Submissions

Written by Emily Harstone

“The crime novel is the great moral literature of
our time.”


“Nobody reads a mystery to get to the middle. They
read it to get to the end. If it’s a letdown, they won’t
buy anymore. The first page sells that book. The last
page sells your next book.”

Mystery is one of those genres that over the years has managed to accumulate a huge number of subgenres. From cozy mysteries,  literary mysteries, and crime novels to ones focused on conspiracies, now there is a mystery subgenre for almost every reader’s taste.

Most of the following publishers focus on one or two subgenres of mystery, although other companies are much larger multigenre publishers that are open to mystery books, as well as books from other genres.

To learn more about any of the publishers, click on their name in order to read the full review. All reviews include a link to the publisher’s website. Some of the publishers might be currently closed to submissions but the majority are open.

WITNESS Impulse is a digital-first imprint of Harper Collins. They publish a wide variety of mystery novels, including digital editions by some of the most famous mystery writers of all time, including my personal favorite Agatha Christie. However, they also publish new and emerging authors. It is important to note that usually publish print editions of their books, but they always publish the digital version first.

Seventh Street Press
Seventh Street Press is the mystery imprint of the established nonfiction publisher Prometheus Books. They are distributed by Random House. They publish only mystery and thrillers, but are open to a variety of subgenres, including legal thrillers.

Brash Books
Brash Books publishes psychological thrillers, murder mysteries, international espionage, and police procedurals. The publishing company is run by two best-selling mystery novelists. They publish emerging and established authors.

Hard Case Crime
Hard Case Crime is a well-respected and established niche publisher of hard-boiled crime novels. The publisher has been featured in a number of respected publications including Time Magazine and The Stranger.

Level Best Books
They are interested the crime fiction in the following categories: mystery, thriller, suspense, historical, traditional, and contemporary.

Black & White
A large established Scottish publisher, they are open to most genres including crime fiction and nonfiction.

A successful and established print and e-publisher, they are interested in publishing a wide variety of genres, including mysteries, suspense, and thrillers.

Fiery Seas
Fiery Seas is an eBook and print publisher founded in 2014. They are relatively new and so far have not established that much of a track record. It is generally easy to buy both eBooks and print books using the site. The general quality of their covers is good.They publish a wide variety of genres including, romance, fantasy, historical, mystery, science fiction, and young adult. All of the books they publish appear to be very plot-driven, with a strong hook.

Joffe Book
They publish a number of genres but their primary interests include thrillers, mysteries, and detective stories. They are a small UK based e-publisher.

Felony & Mayhem
Felony & Mayhem, a print publisher that has been around since 2005, has established a good reputation as a publisher of literary mysteries. The work they publish tends to involve academia or international locations.

Henery Press
Henery Press is a small publisher that focuses on publishing mystery and chick lit. Their mysteries are generally on the cozier side. They publish print and electronic editions of their books. A number of their books have sold well on Amazon. Several have made it onto the USA Today bestseller list. Their books have been spotted in brick and mortar bookstores as well as libraries. A number of their books have won awards, particularly within the mystery genre.

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 nonfiction, 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. Mystery is one of the genres they publish.

Twelfth Planet Press
Twelfth Planet Press is a small electronic press focusing primarily on publishing novellas by women and other marginalized writers in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, horror and more recently, crime. They particularly hope to publish Australian writers but they have no geographic limits on their current submission call.

Black Opal Books
They accept all romance genres, including paranormal and erotic, they also publish YA, Women’s Fiction, Chick Lit, Historicals, Mysteries, and Thrillers. They also occasionally publish nonfiction. They are a small print on demand and eBook publisher. They do not have great sales records, but have been doing this for a while.

Crooked Lane
Crooked Lane was established in 2014 as a press specializing in crime books. They have an experienced staff and have managed to publish some well known authors already. They publish a range of mysteries that lean towards the cozy, and they are not opposed to publishing a series of books. You can see their catalog here.

Stairway Press
Stairway Press publishes and markets literary books in a variety of genres including science, science fiction, short stories, political essays, literary thrillers and adventure books. They are not interested in young adult or children books. Their main focus is quality writing. Although a number of the books I looked at I would not describe as literary, even in the context of genre. You can get a better feel for what they publish by browsing their catalog here.

Tell-Tale Publishing
Tell-Tale Publishing is a small press founded in 2009. They seem to focus primarily on eBooks but also they have print options (largely print on demand). They publish six imprints which include Dahlia (Romance, and various romance subgenres), Stargazer (fantasy, steampunk), Nightshade (horror), Casablanca (mystery), Thistle (middle school, YA, New Adult), and Deja Vu (reprints for all genres).

Carina Press
Carina Press is Harlequin’s digital-first adult fiction imprint, publishing first in digital, and then depending on the numbers, releasing audio and print versions as well. Unlike most of Harlequin’s imprints they don’t just focus on romance, although they are open to all subgenres of romance, including contemporary, paranormal, LGBTQ+, and science fiction. They also publish mysteries of all flavors—from cozies to thrillers, with and without romantic elements.

Filles Vertes Publishing
Filles Vertes Publishing was founded in 2016. It is a new publisher with only a few books under their belt and a few forthcoming books as well. They have print and electronic versions of all their books. They accept submissions of middle grade readers, young adult books, adult fiction, and adult fiction in all genres, which is a broad spectrum to publish. They have previously published a historical thriller/mystery, a memoir about life at sea, and a mystery book set in the Pacific Northwest.

Emily Harstone is the pen name of an author whose work has been published internationally by a number of respected journals. She is a professional submissions adviser and spends much of her time researching manuscript publishers. You can follow her on Facebook here.


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