If you’re an African American author who has written a book for an African American audience, there are a number of relevant publishers in the United States who might be interested in your manuscript.
Below are 16 top African American book publishing companies that publish everything from children’s books, poetry, history to academic titles:
Since 1941, Wayne State University Press has been a distinctive urban publisher of exceptional journals and books. The Michigan based publisher is committed to creating and advancing knowledge, positively impacting global and local communities, and preparing the diverse student body to excel while expanding the reputation of the university and the press internationally. Their publications, whether digital or print, inspire and educate. The publisher actively promotes uncommon voices, written word and the culture and arts scene in the community. Some of their books include Solitude of Five Black Moons, Home Sweet Sanctuary and Ascension.
Wayne State University Press is currently accepting books in African American studies, fairy tale studies, media studies, citizenship studies, Jewish Studies and regional studies. The press does not publish novels, festschriften, or unrevised dissertations. Their website has more information on submissions.
2. Urban Books
Urban Books is a well-known, mainstream indie book publisher that specializes in urban novels that focus on African American themes. The New York-based publishing company was established by Carl Weber in 2002 and features Urban Renaissance Books, Urban Soul, and Urban Christian Books. Featured books include The Black Diamond Trilogy, Trapped Between Heaven and Hell and Testify.
This urban books publisher specializes in African-American topics. Submissions are allowed for fiction and non-fiction topics except science fiction, poetry, plays or fantasy. They should be typed, paginated, double-spaced and readable. Pages should not be bound together. For more submission details, visit their submission page.
Streetlife Publishers is a small publisher that polishes and publishes successful street fiction novels. Established by Derrick Johnson, the publisher has a passion for delivering the best to its readership and writers. The Minneapolis based urban fiction is a specialty for this publisher who is keen on novels that expose the underbelly of the city by exploring crime and gangs. Its works include Omerta, Cut Throat Mafia and Jealousy Breeds Envy.
Streetlife Publishers currently accepts manuscripts for review. Serious consideration is given to authors who will meet their publishing standards. The manuscripts should be typed and double-spaced, and submitted as an entire novel accompanied by a cover letter, synopsis and chapter outline. Visit their website for more guidelines on submissions.
Founded in 1974, Kensington Publishing Corp is a commercial publishing house that publishes almost all kinds of genre. Whether the forte is science fiction, humor or romance, real crime, western, or mystery titles, there’s always a niche for the author at the New York-based Kensington. The publisher has a whole subsection for African American writers and is also home to imprints such as Urban Soul and Urban Books, Urban Soul Zebra, Dafina, Pinnacle, just to mention a few. Kensington is the publisher of that urban author that wants to make a dent in the market and needs a real shot at it. Right now the publisher is led by Steven Zacharias after taking over from his father.
Kensington Publishing Corp accepts submissions as word documents typed in 12-point font, paginated and double-spaced. Currently, the publisher does not accept Middle Grade, Children’s, Young Adult or Poetry submissions. More submission guidelines can be found on this page.
Chicago Review Press is a publishing company that was founded in 1973. Currently, they have six imprints including Lawrence Hill Books, Ball Publishing, Chicago Review Press, Zephyr Press, Parenting Press and Academy Chicago.
Chicago Review Press is interested in publishing high-quality non-fiction. They are looking for African American non-fiction, autobiography/biography, food and drink (but not cookbooks), DIY, history, film, and more as specified on their website. Before sending a proposal, an email with a brief query to one of the editors is mandatory. Lawrence Hill Books is known to publish nonfiction topics on progressive politics, African American related topics and more. Ball Publishing focuses on gardening topics, and Zephyr Press deals with titles on professional development. On the other hand, Academy Chicago usually publishes mysteries, memoirs and more. The guidelines for proposals and submissions can be retrieved from here.
This is one of the oldest publishing companies in Chicago and is still in operation. Third World Press was founded by Haki R. Madhubuti in 1967 and offers a range of fiction and poetry, nonfiction, criticism and young adult and children books. Their publications include The Classroom and the Cell, By Any Necessary Means, and The Magic of Juju. Their quality literature focuses primarily on critique, issues, and themes related to the African American public. The publisher has a mission to avail this literature to many individuals including African American readers who are the primary target.
Third World Press accepts manuscripts that are sent in original work with a one-page synopsis, an introduction letter and an outline of the target market intended. Submissions can be mailed to Acquisitions, c/o Third World Press Foundation, P.O. Box 19730, Chicago, IL 60619. Response will be after four to six months in writing. For submission guidelines please check on their website.
Lee & Low Books was founded in 1991 with Baseball Saved Us as one of its first debut lists. The New York-based company publishes books for young adults and children with a multicultural theme. They aim to address teens and children of color with titles that all readers will enjoy, from chapter books, picture books, and early readers. They have products such as In Daddy’s Arms I am Tall, The Pot that Juan Built and Parrots over Puerto Rico.
Lee & Low Books accepts submissions from agented and unagented artists and writers. They consider art samples and unsolicited manuscripts from writers of all levels and cultural backgrounds. They also encourage new voices and new visions. All manuscripts should be about children of color with an authentic voice. Submissions should be made through regulars snail mail to Submissions Editor, LEE & LOW BOOKS, 95 Madison Avenue, Suite 1205, New York, NY 10016 and not email. Their submission guidelines can be found here.
Wisehouse Publishing is a Swedish publishing company that takes care of authors of all genres from the early stage to the final stage of publication. Founded in 2006 by Sam Vaseghi, the publishing company helps to promote and develop authors from diverse languages and nations, including African American issues. Wisehouse publishes books in many languages and to many regions offering a unique experience to authors all over the world. Some of their products include Accidental Brownie, The Sunshine Boy, and The Man from the Turkey.
Their email for manuscript and project submission is firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions for manuscript can be made directly to this email, and they accept online submissions and unsolicited subscriptions. The company will get back to the author in a short time after the submission. For queries email email@example.com. Find out more about their submission guidelines here.
Founded in 2011, Malachite Quills Publishing helps in developing quality works as it operates under an evolving industry with changing realities. The publishing company promotes quality innovation in publishing and helps foster the writing career for all writers by availing them with resources for making them, great writers. Their books include Wicked Sanctimony, The Blight, and Mia, the descendant of monsters.
The company accepts online and unsolicited submissions of unpublished completed works of between 40,000 and 90,000 words and short stories of between 10,000 and 20,000 words. You need to include your name, word count of your work, a brief summary of the plot and any publication credits or links you have. The editor’s name is Kayla Frost. Visit here for submission guidelines. Email your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Afrocentric Books publishes fiction books that feature characters of African descent. The publishing company aims to change the racial status quo in literature’s speculative fiction.They want to see modern day literature reflecting the world’s diversity. One of their novels is titled Afromyth.
Afrocentric Books welcomes authors with great published stories of African diaspora diversity. They’re looking for novels with 70,000 or 140,000 words and occasional short stories for themed anthologies. They accept online submissions and unsolicited submissions of fiction and short stories in both e-book and print. For submission guidelines, go to their website or contact them at email@example.com.
Black Classic Press was founded in 1978 with devotion to publishing significant and obscure works by and about people of African descent. The press specializes in republishing works that are out of memory and print like the republished original edition known as ‘Introduction to African Civilizations.’ They want to extend the memory of significant books that have aided in shaping black diasporic experience and their understanding of the world.
Black Classic Press currently accepts manuscripts from authors in college/university classrooms – those using their books to teach college/university classrooms and would want their book to be considered for publication by the press. They should send a synopsis, first chapter, table of contents, the best chapter, the academic institution’s name, department, address and class frequency and size to firstname.lastname@example.org. Unsolicited hard copy manuscripts can only be returned if a self-addressed stamped envelope is provided. Check out their submission details on this page.
Owned by an African American woman, and founded in 2010, InnerLight Publishing publishes books by women, LGBT authors, and black people. The publisher involves the author in the process of publishing to establish a lasting relationship beyond the book. Alice Walker, Nikky Finney, and Carol Gee have worked with InnerLight Publishing.
The company is currently accepting submissions for literary novels, essays, metaphysical nonfiction, short story collections and poetry collections, you can send your submissions here.
13. BearManor Media
BearManor Media was established in 2001 by Ben Ohmart, its founder. Located in Albany, BearManor Media is a publishing house that focuses on a unique genre, publishing books about theater, films, TV, historical, radio and animation. Their catalog features over 900 subjects.
Some of the rare autobiographies that BearManor Media publishes include showbiz legends, famous voice actors, writers, directors and African American showbiz legends. The publishing house has received content from known authors such as Kathy Gaver, Christopher Knoph, and Tom Sawyer. The company accepts submissions from fiction and nonfiction authors. To find out how to submit, click this link.
University of Georgia Press was founded in 1938. They publish a variety of titles including African American history, American literature, environmental studies and international literature, southern studies, creative and literary works, and regional books that focus on history, poetry and local culture. The press is also a founding partner to New Georgia Encyclopedia which is Georgia’s award-winning online multi-media reference.
Authors who would like to submit their content can visit this page to find out the requirements for submissions.
15. Just Us Books
Just Us Books publishes multi-cultural children’s books which reflect the diversity of the United States. It is currently accepting submissions for chapter books and titles for middle readers, and you can get submission guidelines here.
Life Changing Books was founded by Azarel in 2003 and offers African-American literature that includes women’s fiction, urban/street literature, contemporary fiction and other fiction categories. Azarel launched Life Changing Books (LCB) with her self-published title known as A Life to Remember. Today LCB has over twenty authors. Some of their books include Millionaire Mistress, The Dirty Divorce Series and Secrets of a Housewife.
LCB is accepting all submissions at this time, with requirements of a synopsis and the first five chapters. Email submissions to email@example.com. You can find more information on submission on their website.
Many publishing companies have a genre specialization they excel in, and it is imperative that you research well to find one that suits your niche before approaching them. Once you have submitted your manuscript, be patient and give them time to come back to you. Getting a book published takes time, and you should remember that. Most publishers specify on the time it will take them to give you feedback. You should also know that traditional publishing works differently from self-publishing regarding timeline, you cannot, therefore, compare the two.
Kevinson Libama is a full-time non-fiction writer, proofreader, and editor. He’s currently accepting new clients who need help with their eBook proofreading and editing as well as blog writing.