The following list features 17 top publishers of experimental fiction.
Continue reading to learn about these and their publishing activities.
Founded in 1984, Dalkey Archive Press is a Chicago-based publisher of literary fiction, poetry, and literary criticism. They specialize in unorthodox and experimental fiction, citing the works of Gertrude Stein, Flann O’Brien, and Djuna Barnes as the kinds of books they are most interested in publishing. If you would like Dalkey Archive Press to consider your work for publication, you can send them a copy of your manuscript via email.
Submissions should include a cover letter, and your name and email address must be placed on each page of your manuscript. Don’t get disheartened if you don’t hear back right away. Dalkey Archive receives around 12,000 manuscripts each year, so it may take up to a year for them to respond to submissions. For any additional questions, you can reach Dalkey Archive Press here.
Founded in 2008, Montag Press is a fiction publisher based in the Bay Area. They publish experimental novels, plays, and short story collections, particularly in the genres of horror, science fiction, speculative fiction, and historical fiction. More specifically, they are interested in the following subgenres: dark fantasy, urban fantasy, subversive fiction, apocalyptic fiction, steam punk, counterfactual histories, alternate histories, historical experimentalism, and weird fiction.
If you have a manuscript you think Montag Press might be interested in, you can send it to them via email. Please note that they only accept completed manuscripts, and all submissions must be accompanied by a cover letter. For more information, you can check out their submission guidelines here.
Founded in Minneapolis in 1980, Milkweed Editions is an independent publisher of non-fiction, literary fiction, and poetry. The press takes its name from the milkweed plant where monarch butterflies undergo metamorphosis. And just like their namesake, they aim to be a transformative force in the literary community by publishing experimental writing and debut novels that are often overlooked by other publishers.
Milkweed Editions is currently closed for unsolicited submissions, but they do hold several annual writing contests where winners are awarded publication. You can learn more about their contests and guidelines here. You can also subscribe to their free email newsletter to get notified about open submission periods. For general inquiries, you can reach Milkweed Editions here.
Based in New York, Fugue State Press is a small publisher that was founded by novelist James Chapman in 1992. They specialize in publishing experimental novels written by American and international writers. Some of the authors they have published over the years include Noah Cicero, Joshua Cohen, Stephen Dixon, Ben Brooks, Shane Jones, and Eckhard Gerdes, among others.
They currently welcome submissions of experimental novels that are emotional, visionary, and ambitious. They do not publish genre fiction, so they are not the best place to submit thrillers, fantasy, science fiction, detective novels, or children’s books. To determine if your work is a good fit for Fugue State Press, check out the submission guidelines on their website. If you think your writing is the kind of work they are looking for, you can fill out their query form here.
BlazeVOX Books is an independent publisher based in Buffalo, New York. Since their establishment in 2000, they have released more than 350 books of fiction and poetry, most of which fall under the umbrella of experimental literature. They are also the publisher behind BlazeVOX, a biannual poetry and prose journal that has featured the works of Louis Armand, Mitch Corber, Linda Ravenswood, James Austin, Lewis Warsh, Eileen Myles, and George Bowering.
BlazeVOX Books accepts submissions for both their journal and their books division. If you have a manuscript you are interested in submitting, you can send it to them via email. Check out their submission guidelines here for more information. For general inquiries, you can reach BlazeVOX Books through their online contact form.
Founded by Christian Peet in 2006, Tarpaulin Sky Press is a small publisher based in Vermont. They publish full-length books, trade paperbacks, chapbooks, and hand-bound books of experimental fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and hybrid texts, as well as an online magazine called Tarpaulin Sky. Some of the authors whose books they have published include Rebecca Brown, Jenny Boully, Steven Dunn, Joanna Ruocco, Claire Donato, and Amy King, among others.
Tarpaulin Sky is currently closed for book submissions, but they plan on reopening in the fall. In the meantime, feel free to browse their catalog to get an idea of the kinds of books they are interested in. If you wish to submit to their online journal, you can check out their submission guidelines here.
7. C&R Press
Founded in 2006, C&R Press is a literary press that publishes fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Since their establishment, they have published more than 60 books and a dozen chapbooks, and they are eager to publish more. They are currently open for submissions of and are interested in full-length manuscripts. This includes novels, short story collections, poetry collections, and creative non-fiction. They also welcome hybrid and experimental work.
If you are interested in submitting, you can check out their submission guidelines here. Once you are ready to send them your work, you can do so through their Submittable page. C&R Press also holds annual writing competitions in fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction.
The Journal of Experimental Fiction, also known as JEF Books, was founded by novelist Eckhard Gerdes in 1986 with the goal of bringing experimental fiction to a wider audience. In addition to their biannual general fiction issue, they also publish experimental novels that would likely be ignored by larger publishing companies. Their most recent books include Mouth! by Charles Hood, Goosestep by Harold Jaffe, Psychedelic Everest by Brion Poloncic, and Between the Legs by Kate Horsley.
JEF Books accepts submissions through the Kenneth Patchen Award, an annual writing contest for experimental novels. To learn more about the award, you can check out the guidelines here. Should you have any questions or concerns, contact JEF Books through their online contact form.
Based in Utah, Fiction Collective Two is a non-profit publisher that specializes in experimental and avant-garde fiction. They are committed to publishing fiction that larger publishers find too innovative or challenging. Authors they have worked with include Kim Addonizio, Vanessa Place, Brian Evenson, Curtis White, Lewis Warsh, Jerry Bumpus, and many others. FC2 has also published several anthologies, including Degenerative Prose, Forms at War, In the Slipstream, and An Illuminated History of the Future.
FC2 holds two annual manuscript contests—one for authors who have not previously been published and another for authors who have already published at least three books of fiction. Entries for their 2019 contests can be submitted until November 1, 2019. Learn more about the guidelines here. Should you have any additional questions, you can reach FC2 through the contact form on their website.
Based in Norwich in the UK, Galley Beggar Press is an independent publisher that publishes experimental fiction and narrative non-fiction. Since they were founded in 2012, they have published many talented and award-winning authors, including Eimear McBride, Alex Pheby, Paul Ewen, Preti Taneja, and more.
Each year, Gallery Beggar has an annual submission window for full-length manuscript. They also have two additional submission windows for writers of color and women writers. For more information on submitting a manuscript, you can check out their guidelines here. If you have any other questions, you can get in touch with Galley Beggar Press via email.
Founded in 2014, Fitzcarraldo Editions is a London-based publisher that specializes in experimental fiction and long-form essays. Among their first releases were Mathias Enard’s Zone, a single-sentence novel spanning 520 pages, and Simon Critchley’s Memory Theater, an essay that blurs the lines between memoir and fiction. Since then, they have published the works of Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich, Man Booker International Prize winner Olga Tocarczuk, and many other talented writers.
Fitzcarraldo Editions accepts submissions through their two annual contests—one for novels and another for essays. If you would like to enter either of their contests, you can check out the guidelines here. For other inquiries, you can contact them via email.
12. Dead Ink Books
Dead Ink Books is a small literary publisher based in Liverpool. They specialize in experimental literature and are committed to helping new and emerging writers develop their careers. Some of their most recent titles include Glitch by Lee Rourke, Sealed by Naomi Booth, Water Shall Refuse Them by Lucie McKnight Hardy, and Please Read This Leaflet Carefully by Karen Havelin.
Although they don’t seem to be accepting submissions at the moment, you can join their mailing list to get notified about upcoming calls for submissions. If you would like to get in touch with Dead Ink Books, you can do so through their contact form.
13. Salò Press
Based in Norwich, Salò Press is a micropublisher that specializes in literature of a weird, experimental, and surreal nature. Although they primarily publish poetry, they also publish works of fiction and non-fiction. At the moment, they are accepting submissions of fiction, poetry, non-fiction, essays, and experiments of up to 32 pages for their chapbook imprint. They also welcome submissions for Fur-Lined Ghettos, their print magazine.
If you are interested in submitting a chapbook, you can check out their guidelines here. For submissions to their print journal, the guidelines are posted here. You can also contact them via email should you have any additional questions.
Penned in the Margins is a London-based independent publisher that publishes poetry, experimental fiction, creative non-fiction, and literary criticism. Their most recent titles include Darling, It’s Me by Alison Winch, After the Formalities by Anthony Anaxagorou, Reckless Paper Birds by John McCullough, and Witch by Rebecca Tamas.
Penned in the Margins is currently closed for submissions, but they do plan on announcing an open call within the year. In the meantime, you can get familiar with their submissions guidelines here. For general inquiries, you can send Penned in the Margins an email.
Headquartered in Ontario, Coach House Books is a Canadian publisher that specializes in experimental works of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and drama. Originally founded as Coach House Press in 1965, they are known for publishing the early works of some of Canada’s most renowned writers, including Margaret Atwood, George Bowering, Fred Wah, Daphne Marlatt, Ann-Marie MacDonald, and Nicole Brossard.
Coach House Books welcomes submissions from Canadian writers. For fiction submissions, send them your completed manuscript, along with a cover letter. You can read their full submission guidelines here. If you have any general inquiries, you can contact Coach House Books here.
16. Laksa Media
Laksa Media is an independent publisher that produces narrative non-fiction books and experimental fiction books. They are part of the Independent Book Publishers Association and the Book Publishers Association of Alberta. As part of their company’s commitment to giving back, a portion of their net revenue goes to charitable organizations and projects, particularly those related to literacy, elder care, mental health, education, and affordable housing.
At the moment, Laksa Media only accepts submissions from Canadian and American authors, or those with an Asian ancestry. For fiction, they welcome novels under 100,000 words, and they are most interested in experimental, genre-bending works. Check out their submission guidelines for more details. All submissions must be sent through their submission form.
17. The Lifted Brow
The Lifted Brow is a non-profit publishing organization based in Melbourne. Through their imprint Brow Books, they publish innovative works of fiction and non-fiction. They currently welcome submissions from Australian writers, and they are particularly interested in experimental writing that defies boundaries. Submissions from LGBTQ writers, writers with disabilities, and writers from demographic margins are encouraged.
If you are interested in submitting, you can check out their guidelines here. Even if you haven’t finished writing your manuscript yet, feel free to send them your idea. For questions about submitting your work, you can send Brow Books an email.
Are there any other publishers of experimental fiction that should be on this list? Please tell us about them in the comments box below.
Hiten Vyas is the Founder and Managing Editor of Writing Tips Oasis.