33 Romance Publishers Open to Direct Submissions

Written by Emily Harstone

In 2018 and 2019, after a sustained period of growth, the romance publishing market started to see a number of changes, mostly in terms of romance publishers going out of business. A year ago this list had 40 publishers on it. It now has 33.

Part of this is because of diminished eBook sales and part of this is the fact that there were too many romance publishers for the market to support.

In this list there are traditional print publishers, established romance stalwarts, up and coming eBook publishers, digital imprints of the big five publishers, and everything in between. We do not review publishers who have been around for less than a year. So all of these publishers have at least a small track record.

These publishers offer traditional book contracts, and a number of them offer advances. To learn more about the publisher, click on the link in their name; most of these link to our full review. The full review contains information about submission guidelines and links to their website.

Some of the publishers only publish romance, but many are also open to erotica. The list is in no particular order.

Most of the publishers contained on the list are currently open to submissions, but not all of them are. So make sure to check on the publishers site before submitting.

Shadow Mountain

Shadow Mountain is an imprint of Deseret Books. Both publishers are Mormon, but  Deseret Books focuses more on producing faith-based content. Shadow Mountain publishes primarily fiction and they have published a number of New York Times bestselling books. Because the company is Mormon run, books have to be approved by in-house censors in order to be published. They are very firm about publishing “clean books only”. However the authors need not be Mormon.

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.

Inkspell Publishing

Inkspell Publishing started out as an eBook and print on demand Romance publisher in 2011. They now seem to focus on publishing eBooks primarily.

Lakewater Press

Lakewater Press is a newer eBook and print on demand (POD) publisher. They were founded in early 2015. They publish a wide variety of fiction. They appear to be open to all genres of fiction including young adult, new adult (18-30), and romance.

Harlequin

Many famous romance writers, including Mercedes Lackey, Nora Roberts, and Christopher Rice got their start at Harlequin. Their submission process is very user friendly.

Entangled Publishing

Entangled Publishing is an independent publisher of adult and young adult romantic fiction. Since its first release in July 2011, Entangled has published more than 970 titles. This number includes 14 titles that have made it onto the New York Times Bestsellers list and 42 titles that have placed on the USA Today Bestsellers list.

Soul Mate Publishing

Soul Mate is a romance eBook publisher.  They encourage authors to blur genre lines and to experiment. They respond to every manuscript submitted correctly, personally. They try to respond to all submissions within 4 weeks.

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.

NineStar Press

NineStar Press is an LGBTQA+ ePublisher based out of New Mexico that was founded in 2015. They primarily publish romance and erotica but are also interested in literary works about characters that are generally under-represented in fiction, for example ace, aro, trans, nonbinary, genderfluid, bi, pan, etc. They are also interested in genre-bending and fusion genres.

Regal Crest Enterprises

Regal Crest Enterprises historically specialized in publishing books of interest to lesbian readers but now their focus has expanded to include gay readers. They mostly publish popular fiction, but they have also published short stories, essays, and anthologies. They have a non-fiction imprint as well. Writers who have worked with them have generally good things to say, particularly about the editing and cover design process. They have been around a long time now and they have a reputation for always paying their royalties promptly.

Lyrical Press

Lyrical Press is an electronic only imprint of Kensington, a large independent publisher. Kensington and Lyrical both publish mainstream novels and seem to put a fair amount of pressure on the author to promote their books. They publish a large number of books per year.

eXtasy

eXtasy is an eBook publisher that pays 40% royalties to all of their authors. They only publish erotica.

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).

Devine Destinies

An imprint of eXtasy, they publish romance books in various subgenres.

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.

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.

Forever Yours

Forever is the romance imprint of Grand Central Publishing. Grand Central Publishing is an imprint of the Hachette Book Group, one of the big five publishers. Forever Yours is the digital sister of Forever, they focus on publishing unagented authors, and often publish authors without a publication history. They publish eBooks, but they have an option to print on demand any book over 50,000 words in length.

Pelican Book Press

A print and eBook publisher of Christian romance novels. They have a number of imprints and accept unsolicited submissions for all but one of them.

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, with an emphasis on romance. They have great print distribution.

Boroughs Publishing Group

Boroughs Publishing Group is an e-publisher that focuses on publishing romance novels, novellas, and short stories.

Siren-BookStrand

Siren-BookStrand is a popular publisher of romance and erotica. They only publish books that end happily ever after. They publish many books every year and most authors seem happy with the work that the Siren-BookStrand editors do. They are primarily an electronic publisher but they also have print editions.

BelleBooks/BelleBridge

A successful independent print publisher of genre books, including romance novels.

Avon Impulse

Avon Romance is a romance imprint of HarperCollins. Avon Impulse is their digital first imprint and they publish primarily new authors. If a book is successful, Avon publishes a print edition of it. They have an excellent marketing team.

Anaiah Press

A new Christian publisher interested in publishing Christian romance novels.

SMP Swerve

St Martin’s Press is an imprint of Macmillan, one of the big 5 publishers. SMP Swerve is the digital first romance publishing imprint of St Martin’s.

Black Lyon Publishing

Black Lyon Publishing is a small but established publisher of romance novels, eBook and printed.

Evernight Publishing

Evernight is an ebook publisher of romance and erotica novels that is currently open to submissions from writers. They also publish print versions of some books. A number of the books they have published have been on the Amazon Bestseller list.

ImaJinn Books

ImaJinn books is a print and electronic publisher of a wide spectrum of romance novels. They publish everything from new adult to contemporary to fantasy. Their print books are published on demand, and they seem to sell most of their books through Amazon, so don’t expect a distributor.

Beachwalk Press

They largely publish romantic eBooks, but some of their books have been released in print as well. Most of the books they publish are on the sensual side. They are open to romances in all sub-genres except for young adult romances.

Black Opal Books

Black Opal Books accepts submissions between 1 June and 31 December each year. They publish all romance genres, including paranormal and erotic, as well as YA, Women’s Fiction, Chick Lit, Historicals, Mysteries, and Thrillers.

Text Publishing

Text Publishing in an Australian press that has published a wide variety of best sellers. They have won the small publisher of the year award three times. You can get a feel for what they publish here. One of their biggest hits in recent years is the internationally bestselling novel The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion (the first in a series of Rosie novels).

Transmundane Press

Transmundane Press is a small press that is always open to submissions and publishes print and electronic books. They don’t say a lot about the genre they publish on their site, but based on browsing their back catalog I would say they publish largely genre (paranormal/horror) romance aimed at young adults and adults.

Cobblestone Press

A small  print on demand and romance ePublisher. They publish sensual & erotic romance stories and short story erotica.  They have different guidelines and expectations for each of these categories. They release five to eight titles a month in a variety of eFormats.


Bio: 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. She occassionally teaches a course on manuscript publishing. You can follow her on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/emilyharstone/

 

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