For a first time writer, it can be nerve wracking wondering how to get published. Famous publishing companies seem unreachable and there is always the risk of rejection.
If you are a struggling writer, then finding a literary agent to represent you can be difficult.
The good news is that in the Australian book industry, there are book publishers who are ready to read manuscripts from first time writers without an agent, or the need for an introduction through another means.
If you are a student, housewife, cook, professional or any dreamer with the dream of becoming a published author, we are here to help you. We have compiled a list of 21 top Australian publishers accepting unsolicited manuscripts from writers.
Established in 1914 in UK initially, the Australian arm of Allen & Unwin was formed in 1976 by Patrick Gallagher. In 1990, the entire imprint was acquired from HarperCollins, turning Allen & Unwin into an independent company. With offices in Sydney, London, Auckland, and Melbourne, they publish approximately 250 titles annually. Literary fiction, fantasy, crime & mystery, lifestyle, humor & gift, history, travel writing, and visual arts are just a few of the many genres featured on their website. Titles such as “Infinite Splendours”, by Sofie Laguna, and “The Carbon Club”, by Marian Wilkinson could help you get an idea about their preferences. In terms of submissions, they have different guidelines for different genres – you can read more on this page.
Located in Melbourne, Text Publishing is the winner of both the Leading Edge Books Small Publisher of the Year and the Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) Small Publisher of the Year. In terms of genres, they’re looking for commercial & literary fiction, biography & memoir, history, romance, sport, travel, miscellania, and health, to give some examples. Two of their best titles are “The Audacity of Hope”, by Barack Obama and “Severance”, by Ling Ma. If you want to send them your manuscript, keep in mind that they only accept submissions from Australian and New Zealand authors. Also, they’re not interested in receiving poetry, screenplays, how-to guides, individual short stories, cookbooks, picture books, educational textbooks, or travel guides. Make sure to read the complete guidelines before submitting any of your work.
With main offices in Melbourne and London, Scribe Publications is a publisher founded by Henry Rosenbloom in 1976. Every year, they produce about 65 new titles in Australia and a total of about 160 internationally. Although their company grew significantly in time, their main goal is still that of publishing non-fiction books on serious topics. “The Changing of the Guard”, by Simon Akam and “Our Hormones, Our Health”, by Susanne Esche-Belke and Suzann Kirschner-Brouns are just two titles that could help you understand what they’re looking for. However, they also publish literary fiction, so you can still send them your work, even if you’re not a non-fiction writer. To learn more about the guidelines, click here – the next open reading period is April 1st-April 21st, 2021.
The Sydney-based publisher is renowned for its remarkable content and talented voices. Originally started as Jane Curry Publishing in 2002, it was renamed Ventura Press in 2015. The founder and publisher Jane Curry has decades of experience in the publishing industry, with stints at traditional houses such as Pan Macmillan. Having such an experienced professional at the helm has ensured that Ventura stands out among its peers. Their range of books includes fiction, parenting, business & management, children’s books, and a few other genres.. At present, they are only looking for authors based in Australia or New Zealand. Memoir, history, mental health, crime/thriller fiction, contemporary fiction, and historical fiction are the categories they want to print. You can look up the guidelines and contact details on this page.
Since 1948, the University of Queensland Press has been committed to providing their audience with thought-provoking and inspiring books. Based in St. Lucia, Brisbane, they are one of the top Australian publishers in the industry. UQP is passionate about fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, and poetry – to learn more about what they like, you should check out “Scoundrel Days: A Memoir”, by Brentley Frazer, and “The Frangipani Gardens”, by Barbara Hanrahan. Since they’re looking to expand their literary fiction and non-fiction lists, they are currently accepting unsolicited manuscripts in these two genres. To learn more, you can find their complete guidelines here.
An independent fiction, non-fiction, and children’s book publisher located in Newport, Big Sky Publishing produces corporate products also. The range of topics they publish is quite varied, including genres such as health & lifestyle, humor, business & management, history, self-help, and parenting. Writers can consider sending their manuscripts of non-fiction or children’s books after reading the instructions displayed here.
Part of Hachette Livre, Hachette Australia is one of the largest publishers in the country. It was founded around 100 years ago and it has well over 50 imprints at present, so it comes as no surprise that their backlist includes countless award-winning books. Some of their genres of choice are historical fiction, crime & mystery, romance, biography, language, and humanities – “Rise”, by Mark Bouris and “Kill a Stranger”, by Simon Kernick are just two titles worth checking out. If you’re thinking about sending them your work, keep in mind that they’re not interested in illustrated books, horror, poetry, screenplays, cooking, SF/fantasy, or in academic works. To learn more about the guidelines, click here.
Located in Carlisle, Western Australia, Hesperian Press was founded in 1969, and they currently have over 600 titles on their backlist. The subjects they’re mainly interested in are military history, bush poetry, Australiana, outdoor activities, scientific reference works, and explorers & prospectors, to give some examples. If you want to get an idea about what they like, make sure to check out “Aboriginal Sign Language”, by Walter E. Roth and “Into the Arms of Death”, by Neville Green. Before sending them your manuscript, you should read their submission guidelines – however, they suggest you call first, to see if they would be interested in your work.
To think global, act local. For writers based in Western Australia, it would create a tight, supportive, and nuanced partnership if the publisher is located in the same region. Writers who want to work with local publishers will do best to approach Fremantle Press, a not-for-profit company founded in 1976. Situated in North Fremantle, they only work with writers who reside in Western Australia and with non-residents whose works have a tight connection to Western Australia. The genres they are interested in include fiction, non-fiction, poetry, illustrated books, and children’s books. Find submission guidelines for all genres over here.
10. Pantera Press
Alison Green started Pantera Press in 2008 with the intent to print, produce and promote Australian talent globally. They have been shortlisted for the Australian Book Industry’s Small Publisher of the Year Award four times, and they won the ABIA Small Publisher Children’s Book of the Year Award in 2019. Pantera has an imprint called Lost the Plot for the new generation of readers, providing them with exciting and fresh content. You can read their submission guidelines on this page. The Neutral Bay-located company accepts only fiction and non-fiction books.
Formed in 1995, Giramondo actively seeks works of literature that are fresh, original, and unconventional. They print a book-length literary journal called HEAT, which showcases translated works and creative writing. In 2002, they started publishing literary works by authors under the Giramondo book imprint. A lot of their titles have won Australian prizes. Writers can submit fiction, non-fiction, and poetry manuscripts after reading the submission details displayed here.
12. Magabala Books
A top Indigenous publisher, Magabala Books is based in Broom, Western Australia, and they only collaborate with Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal writers. Some of their favorite genres are mind & body & spirit, poetry, junior fiction, young adult, and non-fiction. Two of their titles are “The Wounded Sinner”, by Gus Henderson and “Debesa”, by Cindy Solonec. They are accepting new submissions starting March 1st, so you have time to become familiar with their guidelines until then.
Established in 1922, Melbourne University Publishing publishes some of the country’s crucial and best non-fiction writing. They have three imprints: Miegunyah Press, which publishes illustrated books of photography, art, travel, and history, to name some genres, Melbourne University Press, for top Australian non-fiction, and Custom Books, which is a service dedicated to private clients. Located in Melbourne, this is Australia’s original university press. They are not publishing, children’s literature, fiction, or poetry at the moment. You need to peruse their guidelines and their imprints’ descriptions before you submit your manuscript for consideration. More information is available here.
14. Affirm Press
Based in South Melbourne, Affirm Press specializes in non-fiction, but their backlist includes fiction titles as well. In 2019, they won the Small Publisher of the Year Award. To become familiar with their preferences, make sure to look up “The Price of Two Sparrows”, by Christy Collins, and “Dogs on Doorsteps”, by Suzanne Stevenson. They only accept submissions sent on the first Monday of every month, and they advise you to carefully read their guidelines before sending your work.
15. Federation Press
A publisher with a specific focus on non-fiction, mainly on law and other such fields, Federation Press was launched in 1987 by Diane Young, Katherine Fitzhenry, and Christopher Holt. Choosing to print legal, academic, and social books, Federation Press is a small publisher in Alexandria, New South Wales. They print 30-40 books annually, and are an environmentally conscious publisher that uses FSC-certified sustainable paper and post-consumer-waste-paper. Writers can send their manuscripts after carefully reading the submission guidelines on this page.
16. Black Inc.
An award-winning publisher, Black Inc. was formed in 2000 in Carlton. A champion of new ideas and writers, they primarily print non-fiction and fiction at present. They have numerous imprints, such as Nero, La Trobe University Press, Australian Foreign Affairs, and the Quarterly Essay journal. Some of the categories you will find on their website are biography & memoir, family & relationships, popular fiction, humor, history, and young adult. “The Mutant Project”, by Eben Kirksey and “The Language of Butterflies”, by Wendy Williams might help you get an idea about what they like. Only Australian writers are eligible to send manuscripts. Aspiring authors can find submission guidelines here.
17. Boolarong Press
This family-owned publishing house in Brisbane commenced in 1976 to provide local Queensland authors with a publishing platform. All the big publishers had their headquarters in either Melbourne or Sydney during that time, which made it difficult for local and regional authors to be noticed. Queensland had its share of stories to be told and thus Boolarong came into existence. In 1995, this publishing business was purchased by book printing company, Watson Ferguson & Company which was established in 1868 in Queen Street, Brisbane. Watson Ferguson published books from 1870 to 1920. Initially, Boolarong only published art books, but they later expanded into various other genres. At present, Boolarong publishes history, biography, First Nations children’s, true crime, fiction, and other smaller genres. Our books are still printed by heritage printer, Watson Ferguson. Use their online form to submit a proposal.
18. Murdoch Books
An imprint of the previously mentioned Allan & Unwin, Murdoch Books is a Sydney-based publisher founded in the 1990s. Their range of interests is rather wide, as their backlist includes over 15 genres – gardening, lifestyle, biography & memoir, fiction, desserts, true crime, and children’s books are just a few examples. If you want to know more about what they publish, you should look up “Warrior Saints”, by Amandeep Singh Madra and Parmjit Singh, and “How to Distill”, by Aaron Hyde. Interested in collaborating with them? Make sure to read the full guidelines before submitting your work.
An Adelaide-based company, MidnightSun is not your average Australian publisher. Actually, they pride on working with new, inexperienced authors, as they believe you don’t need a vast publishing history to create exceptional works. Two of their most recent titles are “Mountain Arrow”, by Rachel Hennessy and “The Ghost Squad”, by Sophie Masson. Although they seem to focus on literary fiction, there are no genre limitations specified on their website. The best way to know for sure is to send them the first 20 pages of your manuscript and see what they think. Don’t forget to read the complete guidelines first, though.
20. Harlequin Books
A voracious reader will have no trouble recognizing the name of one of the most famous publishers for women in the world. Harlequin has around 4000 authors worldwide and is constantly looking for fresh new voices in the world of fiction and non-fiction. First-time writers can have the benefit of working with a universally-recognized company which has sold almost 7 billion books so far. Harlequin Australia has 6 imprints – MIRA, HQ Fiction, HQ Non Fiction, Escape Publishing, Mills & Boon, and HQ Young Adult. Although they are currently closed to submissions, they will open again soon, in March 2021. If you want to become familiar with their guidelines, you can do so here.
An internationally-renowned publisher, Pan Macmillan Australia has a vast range of book interests which includes general fiction, crime & mystery, romance, history, and parenting. Based in Sydney, the company produces titles under 5 imprints, among which we can name Picador and Plum. If you want to learn more about what they like, make sure to look up “When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain”, by Nghi Vo, and “Three Wise Men”, by Beau Wise and Tom Sileo. Submission guidelines are available here, in case you decide to send them a manuscript.
That’s our list of 21 top book publishers in Australia accepting unsolicited manuscripts. As a writer sending your manuscript, it is imperative you do your research and know what the publisher accepts. It is easy to get rejected due to a technical mistake like not knowing the word limit or genre they prefer. Be prepared, do your homework and send your manuscript to the publisher that feels the best for you and your book.
21 Top Australian Publishers Accepting Unsolicited Manuscripts is an article from Writing Tips Oasis.
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Shikha Pandey is a creative, content and script writer based in Mumbai, India.