Nothing says a broken dream like an unpublished novel.
Every day millions of stories get published, printed or read. But there’s a bigger pile of stories, poems, novels and short stories being rejected.
Is it because they are written poorly? Or is it because they don’t have anything new to say? It could also be because they are predictable.
One of the major reasons books go into the reject pile is writers end up choosing the wrong publisher. By wrong we don’t necessarily mean the publisher is at fault, but it’s like any relationship- the publisher and the writer have to complete each other.
If you have a story specific to the millennial generation, you are better off choosing a publisher who is aware of the marketing strategies and knows how to target them effectively.
Often writers with the best stories and ideas get neglected because they approach a publisher who doesn’t know what to do with them.
To make things easier for you, we have compiled a list of 21 top UK publishers accepting unsolicited manuscripts.
Recently launched in 2017, this newly minted publishing house is focused on finding good, fresh, and quality fiction for readers. The founder Louise Boland is new to the publishing industry but brings a certain unseen and unheard of perspective to the business. Based in Oxford, the team at Fairlight is committed to creating a community of engaged readers and brilliant authors. Knowing that it can be difficult for even the most passionate reader to keep buying novels or books, they have come up with an innovative solution. Through Fairlight Shorts, readers can access some of the best, intriguing, and interesting short stories written by talented authors. The stories are available for free on their portal and are a way to promote the revival of short stories in literature. They are presently seeking short stories, novels, and novellas. Writers of short stories do not get paid as they are offered free of cost to readers and viewers. Authors of novellas and novels get paid since they are published and sold traditionally. You can read the submission guidelines and find the contact details on this page.
Chris McVeigh has been in the publishing industry for almost 25 years. He felt it was time to start his own company and founded Fahrenheit Press. Standing out from the conventional and traditional presses, this company is definitely not for your typical author. Popularly known as ‘hot punk’ publishers, they have managed to combine their irreverence with smart business ideas. The press knows the importance of giving beginners and new authors a fighting chance. That’s why their submission policy is open to everybody. They only publish crime and thrillers. You can read their submission guidelines before sending a manuscript. You will have to send them your material via email.
In 1976, Klaus Flugge, an experienced publisher and director, established Andersen Press. He named it as homage to Hans Christian Andersen. Keeping in the tradition of their namesake, the publisher exclusively prints children’s books. Their name became synonymous with positive writing, strong visuals, and interesting storylines. They gave children’s books a makeover by providing valuable, educational stories in a fun yet intelligent package. Andersen also uses reinvention as a tool by taking classics and modernizing them for children and young adults. With over 2000 titles in their list, there is something for children of all ages to choose from. Some of their award winning authors includes names such as Ruth Brown, Tony Ross, Sandra Glover, Melvin Burgess, Colin McNaughton, and David McKee. The London based publisher is currently accepting unsolicited manuscripts. You can find the submission guidelines and contact details on this page.
A small publisher in London, Strange Attractor is a publisher of the strange, the unique and the unpopular (their word). By small, we mean it is only a 2 person team who believe and champion the works by innovative authors. Started in 2003 by Mark Pilkington and Jamie Sutcliffe, this company believes in collaborating with authors to help share their story. Focusing only on groundbreaking works, research that has never been published before, they are distributed via MIT Press. While they do not print fiction, if your story is surreal or strange and deals with the supernatural, they may be interested. Read the submission guidelines here before submitting your manuscript.
5. Seren Books
One of Wales’ most famous and experienced publishers accepting unsolicited manuscripts, Seren Books was started in 1981 in Bridgend. Aiming to reach international audiences with local stories, they have managed to find and publish interesting stories by first time authors. The genres they print include fiction, poems, short story collections, travel, classics, history, memoirs, drama and sport. While they accept unsolicited manuscripts for poetry and non-fiction, there are certain stipulations.
Fiction is not being accepted unless you’ve been published by Seren Books before. For poets, you can only submit manuscripts if you have been previously published in literary journals. They are accepting short stories from all writers and authors. If your short story gets selected, you will receive a fee for the same and it gets published on their website. You can read the guidelines here.
It is so important to cultivate the habit of reading at a young age. With fun, engaging books such as the ones published by Piccadilly Press, it becomes easier. For children aged 5-12, it can be so vital to grasp and absorb everything they can. Hence the books at Piccadilly provoke and challenge them. Whether it’s through visuals or writing, these books leave an impression on the children. Piccadilly Press is an imprint of Bonnier Books UK. One of the world’s leading publishers, it has over 20 imprints. They are looking for new authors and writers. Please familiarize yourself with their catalogue before sending a manuscript proposal. Send a Word or PDF file via email to them.
Formed in 1976, this is a part of the Quarto Publishing Group, a popular publishing group in many countries. Writers can expect experience, confidence and the best of marketing, distributing and promoting services if they choose Quarto. They only print non-fiction, lifestyle, sports, health and children’s books. Five Imprints fall under Quarto UK namely- Aurum Press, Frances Lincoln, Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, Jacqui Small and Wide-Eyed Editions. Based in London, they accept unsolicited manuscripts from new writers and authors. You can read the extensive submission guidelines here.
Decisively staying away from mainstream stories and ideas, Ayebia is an independent publisher started in 2003 by Becky Nana Ayebia Clarke. She was later awarded the Honorary MBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in 2011 for publishing. Writers looking to reach bigger audiences and get an experienced independent publisher to support them can approach Ayebia in Oxfordshire. Ayebia also seeks to publish stories about the African and Caribbean way of life. Feminism, fiction, literature, essays and memoirs are some genres they prefer. Writers can find submission and contact details here.
An independent publisher with nearly three decades of publishing experience, Woodfield Publishing is a small but committed company. They have a very specific niche of military, military fiction, military history, books about aircraft and aviation, Africa, Scotland and military humor. Located in West Sussex, you can send your manuscript for appraisal to them. Read the guidelines carefully before sending your proposal.
Nine Arches Press was started in 2008 to seek new authors to write poems and short fiction. They have different submission periods for different genres so read the guidelines here before deciding to submit. Or you can submit to their magazine Under the Radar if you are interested. The magazine prints poems and articles mostly. Based in Rugby, Nine Arches Press will only work with authors who have previously been published elsewhere.
One of Britain’s most successful publishers of political and current affairs books, Biteback Publishing is located in London. Witty, challenging thought provoking and debate worthy books are preferred by them. While they print fiction, its politics and non-fiction they prefer usually. Some of the genres they print include Brexit, Cold War, Crime, Autobiography, Culture, Economics, Feminism, European Union, History, Politics, Lifestyle, Religion, Women, and Policy. They have really specific submission guidelines and instructions. Please read them carefully before sending a manuscript.
12. Hurst Publishers
Having been in the publishing business for 50 years, Hurst Publishers have become a name to reckon with. Printing 90 books annually, they accept a wide range of genres from art, travel, sport to war. Started by Christopher Hurst in London in 1969, the aim of Hurst Publishers was to find diverse writing and they remain committed to it even today. They accept unsolicited manuscripts in non-fiction and you can find the contact details here.
An imprint of HarperCollins, an established universal publisher, HarperImpulse was established in 2013. Helmed by Charlotte Ledger, this imprint under the hugely popular publisher only publishes romance and romantic fiction. It has also won the Festival of Romance’s Publisher Innovation Award. They already have 100 titles and are one of the few imprints of HarperCollins who accepts unsolicited manuscripts. Read more about the submission guidelines on this page.
14. Boldwood Books
The latest entrant in UK publishing industry, this company was formed in February 2019. Their first books are yet to hit the market which makes them a perfect collaborator for new and upcoming authors. They are searching for edgy, out of the box, and unconventional fiction. The entire team has combined publishing experience of half a decade and are eager to bring their minds together creatively. Amanda Ridout is the founder of Boldwood. She was former CEO at Head of Zeus. Under her leadership, the publisher won several awards. The London based publisher is accepting manuscripts from authors and writers. You can send your materials via email to them.
15. Dream Catcher
Paul Sutherland formed Dream Catcher in 1996 as a literary journal to share poetry, prose and a mix of writing styles. Based in York, they select intriguing, edgy works of writing for every issue of their journal. Writers of short stories, poems and interviews can consider submitting a story idea or a proposal. Read the submission guidelines here.
16. Joffe Books
Jasper Joffe is a writer, which has enabled him to have a unique perspective as a publisher. Aware of the expectations of a first time writer, Jasper Joffe has created Joffe Books to work closely with the writer in a creative partnership. They sell a book nearly every 12 seconds which is really impressive considering they started off as a micro publisher few years ago. Using digital books to expand readership and titles, Joffe Books combines innovation with creative storytelling. They prefer fiction, crime, thriller and mystery genre wise. First time authors can consider sending their manuscript to the London based publisher after reading the instructions here.
17. Carcanet Press
Carcanet was established as a literary magazine in 1962. The goal was to bring together some of the best pieces of poetry, fiction, or short stories in one place. Situated in Oxford, they were at the hub of literary and creative community. Over the years, they continued to commit to their mission to find, print, and promote English literature. Carcanet is looking for poets and poetry from 1st-31st July. You can find their instructions and guidelines available here.
Another new entrant in the publishing world, Dancing Bear is here to fill a niche we desperately needed to be filled. Kristel Buckley and Lucy Rose started this company with one specific goal. They wanted to address the lack of diversity in fantasy and fairytales. It is wonderful that minority writers and authors from all backgrounds can finally have a platform to share their stories. The publisher is seeking books in fairytale, fantasy, legends, and myths from writers of diverse backgrounds. Read about the submission guidelines and contact details on this page.
19. Handheld Press
Kate Macdonald has been a writer, editor, reviewer, lecturer, and historian. Through her career she has worked with several authors and writers. Her experience as an editor gave her the skills to become a publisher. She launched Handheld Press to publish and print the unique, empowering, and layered books she’s always wanted to work on. She gets to work on stories from the get go and take them to their final stage. It allows her to nurture and guide new, promising, and debut writers. If you wish to submit a manuscript, read their guidelines here.
An independent publisher printing books in education, learning, management and skills, Crown House Publishing in Carmarthen has won awards for its commitment to publishing. Using books to provide teaching aids and educational tools for teachers, kids and parents, they won the Independent Publishing Gold Education Publisher of the Year Award in 2014. Writers need to send a proposal before submitting a manuscript. Find contact details on this page.
A part of the Scottish publishing industry since 1999, Black & White Publishing has become a leader in its field. Campbell Brown and Alison McBride started Black &White Publishing with the intent of providing great literature and sharing stories with readers across the world. The topics they prefer are fiction, children’s books, young adult and non-fiction. They operate two Imprints- Itchy Coo and Broons Books. They don’t accept poetry or short stories. Send your manuscripts to this Edinburgh based publisher after reading the guidelines on this page.
That’s our list of 21 top UK publishers accepting unsolicited manuscripts. Writers should remember to be persistent and do your research before choosing a publisher. Know your audience, evaluate your competition and send a well-crafted pitch letter to stand out from the crowd. You may get rejected but the key is to believe in yourself and your work. There is a publisher in the list for you and we are certain you will find them.
Are you a book publisher in the UK that accepts unsolicited manuscripts? Please introduce your organisation in the comments box below.
Are you an author who knows of other UK publishing companies that accept unsolicited manuscripts? Please let us know who they are!
If you found this post useful, you may also like the following:
21 Top UK Publishers that accept Unsolicited Manuscripts is an article from Writing Tips Oasis.
Copyright © 2014-2019 Writing Tips Oasis All Rights Reserved
Shikha Pandey is a creative, content and script writer based in Mumbai, India.