Are you a Chicago based author who has written a book and your next step is to get it published?
Continue reading to learn about 5 top book publishing houses in Chicago.
Haymarket Books is a non-profit book publishing company based in Chicago, Illinois. It was founded in 2001 by Julie Fain, Ahmed Shawki, and Anthony Arnove, all of whom held previous positions at the International Socialist Review. The founders decided to name their new company after the Haymarket affair of 1886, in which a bombing at a peaceful Labor Day demonstration led to the deaths of several civilians and police officers. True to its namesake, Haymarket Books is known for publishing radical and provocative books with sociopolitical themes. To get an idea of the type of work Haymarket generally publishes, you can head to their website and check out their catalog.
Haymarket seeks manuscripts marketed toward progressive readers, activists, and academics. Some of the authors Haymarket has worked with over the years include Eve Ewing, Angela Davis, Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, and Michael Bennet. At the moment, Haymarket is not accepting works of fiction or poetry. If you think your work meets Haymarket’s guidelines, you can submit a query letter via email. You can find their detailed submission guidelines and instructions here.
Founded in 1973, Chicago Review Press is an independent publishing company that releases approximately 60 titles on an annual basis and currently has over 900 titles in print. Chicago Review Press publishes general non-fiction on a variety of topics, such as history, parenting, DIY, popular culture, travel, music, film, sports, and popular science. They also publish biographies, autobiographies, and books on women’s issues. They also have several other imprints, each with its own specialization: Lawrence Hill Books publishes African-American and Latino non-fiction, Academy Chicago specializes in mysteries and memoirs, Zephyr Press specializes in teaching resources, and Ball Publishing specializes in books about gardening.
Chicago Review Press is interested in publishing books written by authors who are experts on topics that many people are passionate about. They also like books that give readers a fresh perspective on a popular subject. Some of their bestsellers include The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels of New York City, Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter, Outdoor Survival Skills, and Outwitting Squirrels. Although they publish books on such a wide range of topics, they do not publish books under the following categories: self-help, diet and nutrition, business, religion, spirituality, poetry, and photography.
If you would like to submit your work to Chicago Review Press, you can send your proposal to one of their acquisitions editors. You can find their contact information and submission guidelines here.
Founded by John Paul Owles in 1985, Joshua Tree Publishing has been in the book publishing industry for more than 30 years. As a traditional publisher with decades of experience, Joshua Tree understands that publishing a book is a long and grueling process, and its team of experts guides authors through that process, every step of the way—from the initial manuscript preparations all the way to promoting the book once it’s published. Joshua Tree Publishing publishes everything from biographies and memoirs, to fiction and self-help books. However, they do not publish books that have already been digitally released by the author.
If you are interested in getting your work published by Joshua Tree Publishing, you can send them an email containing your query letter. If the team likes your query letter, they will then ask you to submit the first three chapters of your manuscript. You can find more information about their guidelines and submission process here. They welcome submissions from established writers and first-time authors alike.
Founded in 1890, the University of Chicago Press is one of the oldest presses in the United States. It is operated by the University of Chicago and has published more than 11,000 books since its inception—5,000 of which are still currently in print. The Press is responsible for some of the world’s most popular works, such as The Chicago Manual of Style, Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, F.A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, and Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through It. In addition to books for students, scholars, and general readers, the Press also has a journals division that specializes in hardcover serials and journals written by international scholars. They publish journals on a wide array of topics, including the humanities, education, and science.
For more information on what the University of Chicago Press is currently interested in publishing, you can check out the subjects listed under each of their acquisitions editors. Subjects include literary studies, history, art, archeology, science studies, gender and sexuality studies, music, architecture, the humanities, philosophy, and more. In general, the Press does not publish works outside of those areas.
Should you be interested in submitting your work to the Press, you can reach out to the appropriate editor via post or email. Learn more about their submission guidelines and what to include in your proposal here.
Founded by Chicago businessman Victor David Giron, Curbside Splendor first started out as a punk band in the early 1990s. And even though the band saw little success, Curbside Splendor found its footing as an independent publishing company in 2009. In 2016, Curbside opened its doors as a bookstore in South Loop. Curbside publishes speculative, weird, and experimental non-fiction, poetry, and fiction. They are particularly fond of work that has grit and isn’t afraid to take risks. You can visit their website to get a better idea of the kind of work they publish. In addition to publishing and selling books, Curbside also organizes book fairs, readings, and writing contests. Through these initiatives, Curbside Splendor’s mission is to revolutionize Midwestern publishing.
Curbside does not currently have any open calls for submissions, but do keep an eye out for the Wild Onion Novella Contest which happens once a year. You can also learn more about Curbside’s submission guidelines here. If you have any questions for Curbside’s team of editors, the best way to reach them is by sending an email.
Do you know of any other book publishing houses in Chicago? Tell us about them in the comments box below!
Hiten Vyas is the Founder and Managing Editor of Writing Tips Oasis.