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DIRECTORY

Best Independent Publishers in 2024

Showing 37 indie publishers that match your search.

Publisher of: Fiction, Nonfiction, and Short Fiction

Founded in 2014, this LA-based publisher is relatively young. But it’s already assembled a formidable stable of talent: rising star Esmé Weijun Wang shares shelf space with Booker, Pulitzer, and Philip K Dick Prize winners. Many of their titles are multicultural family dramas, full of complex relationships and pitch-perfect characterization. However, their catalogue ranges beyond literary fiction to embrace highbrow speculative fiction, collections of journalism, and even self-help books.

🔥 Hit title: The Border of Paradise by Esmé Weijun Wang

⭐️ Best known for: Literary Fiction

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? Yes, in the form of Queries. View guidelines →

Publisher of: Fiction and Nonfiction

This small, but mighty, indie press prides itself on publishing “strange and beautiful” work, both fiction and nonfiction. The resulting catalogue tends to send readers on a rollercoaster ride, jumping from chortling absurdity to heartbreaking tragedy, from ice-cold beer to Armageddon. And that’s within a single book! Common themes that cut across titles include music, magical realist hijinks, and darkly funny takes on the end of the world. No matter what the genre, Featherproof titles make their readers laugh — and think.

🔥 Hit title: The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic by Jessica Hopper

⭐️ Best known for: Literary Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? No

Publisher of: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Short Fiction

Founded in 2002, Noemi Press operates out of Blacksburg, Virginia, where it publishes both new and established writers — especially women, queer people, and people of color. Their titles are often described as part something, part something else, and you can fill in the blanks to build all kinds of fascinating, extremely high-brow combos: say “autofiction” and “sequential critical engagement”, or “family gothic” and “queer historiography”. Even books that don’t have this genre mashup quality feel pieced together, in the best way, mixing forms and textures to produce writing that feels wholly new.

🔥 Hit title: Her 37th Year, An Index by Suzanne Scanlon

⭐️ Best known for: Literary Fiction, Memoir

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? Yes, in the form of Contest Entries. View guidelines →

Publisher of: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Short Fiction

The publishing wing of San Francisco’s legendary City Lights Bookstore, this small press started off with a bang — or rather, an obscenity trial. Their decision to publish Allen Ginsberg’s (in)famous Beat Generation classsic mired them in legal turmoil back in 1957. These days, City Lights is still publishing groundbreaking poetry, alongside other titles in fiction and nonfiction. While the staff is no longer getting arrested, they’ve maintained their commitment to politically challenging, artistically incisive work.

🔥 Hit title: Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsburg

⭐️ Best known for: Essay Collections, Poetry Collections, Memoir

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? Yes, in the form of Book Proposals. View guidelines →

Publisher of: Fiction and Nonfiction

Named after the left-hand page, this left-leaning publisher has been furnishing reading material for prospective revolutionaries since 1970. No wonder Harper’s hailed it as “Anglo-America’s preeminent radical press.” They lean more literary theory than literary fiction, offering sharp, syllabus-ready books across the full slate of humanities and social science disciplines, from Anthropology to Race and Ethnicity. Though many of their writers belong to the professoriate, Verso Books isn’t a university press. Their nonfiction, though intellectually rigorous, tends to be snappier than your usual academic fare.

🔥 Hit title: Females: A Concern by Andrea Long Chu

⭐️ Best known for: Biography, History, Journalism

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? Yes, in the form of Book Proposals. View guidelines →

Publisher of: Fiction and Nonfiction

Brooklyn-based Akashic Books was founded by the post-hardcore bassist Johnny Temple in 1997. It still operates out of the borough’s trendy Old American Can Factory, putting out galleys in the same industrial complex where electronica acts jam and indie painters hang their canvases. But in the last decade, they’ve started selling books all over the country. Dedicated to “reverse-gentrification of the literary world,” they highlight marginalized and anti-establishment authors, giving them an outlet for work considered too niche (or too incendiary) for corporate publishing.

🔥 Hit title: A Tall History of Sugar by Curdella Forbes

⭐️ Best known for: Mysteries, Literary Fiction, Crime Fiction

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? Yes. View guidelines →

Publisher of: Fiction and Nonfiction

EnvelopeBooks is a new independent publishing house founded in the summer of 2020. An offshoot of Booklaunch, a quarterly books and publishing freesheet that makes its way to 50,000 homes per issue, the EnvelopeBooks imprint is dedicated to working with authors to produce high-quality books.

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? Yes, in the form of Full Manuscripts. View guidelines →

Publisher of: Nonfiction

The playful, punk-adjacent Microcosm Publishing considers itself the “most colorful, authentic, and empowering publishing house” in Portland's vibrant indie publishing scene. It’s a bold claim, but one borne out by the press’s DIY mindset, its centering of marginalized creators, and its exclusive use of recycled printing paper. Microcosm emerged as a zine distributor run out of founder Joe Biel’s bedroom, and it’s hung onto that sense of grit even after decades of expansion. Their strongest titles tend to be no-nonsense handbooks full of actionable instructions.

🔥 Hit title: Making Stuff and Doing Things by Kyle Bravo (editor)

⭐️ Best known for: How-To Guides

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? Yes, in the form of Queries. View guidelines →

Publisher of: Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry

This Minneapolis-based press takes inspiration from its botanical namesake. Just as milkweed feeds the transformation of caterpillars into monarch butterflies, Milkweed Editions supports emerging and experimental writers, giving them a home for their work to flourish. Its catalogue is an exercise in artistic risk-taking: full of intricately textured novels, cerebral and raw memoirs, and some of the finest verse by young poets.

🔥 Hit title: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

⭐️ Best known for: Poetry Collections

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? Yes, in the form of Contest Entries . View guidelines →

Publisher of: Fiction and Nonfiction

This Portland-based indie press is highly literary without being pretentious. Their wheelhouse is fairly broad, focusing on fiction and narrative nonfiction that puts vivid storytelling on display. In practice, that often means character-driven contemporary novels and emotionally rich memoirs that pull you into all the complexities of real-life relationships. You don’t have to write within spitting distance of Forest Park to be published by Hawthorne: they work with authors from all over the country. But, true to their geographic roots, Hawthorne Books has quite a few Oregon-centered titles on their list.

🔥 Hit title: California Calling by Natalie Singer

⭐️ Best known for: How-To Guides

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? No

Publisher of: Fiction and Nonfiction

Forest Avenue Press focuses on literary fiction, occasionally dipping their toes into memoir as well. Regardless of genre, they aim to publish work animated by joy: not necessarily stories with happy endings, but work that shows off the author’s capacity for humor and freewheeling imagination. As a result, their catalogue abounds with oddball books, each with a broad palette of literary influences. An author-focused press with a relatively small stable of talent, Forest Avenue lavishes more time and money on marketing each title than your typical indie publisher.

🔥 Hit title: Queen of Spades by Michael Shou-Yung Shum

⭐️ Best known for: Literary Fiction

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? Yes, in the form of Full Manuscripts. View guidelines →

Publisher of: Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry

This storied Canadian publisher has been running out of Toronto since 1967. In that time, it’s grown from a one-man operation to a North American indie powerhouse, publishing prominent authors like Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje. As it makes headway into its sixth decade of operation, House of Anansi remains as committed as ever to promoting Canadian literature, including French-Canadian books in translation, and work by First Nations authors.

🔥 Hit title: How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti

⭐️ Best known for: Memoirs, Literary Fiction

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? Yes, in the form of Book Proposals, Full Manuscripts. View guidelines →

Publisher of: Fiction

Europa Editions' parent company, Edizione E/O, grew out of a failed venture by Italian couple Sandro Ferri and Sandra Ozzala : a bookstore where thinkers with opposing views could meet for peaceful dialogue. When the political discord proved too daunting for polite reading-room tête-à-têtes, the Ferris, now married, pivoted to publishing. Their American publishing house, Europa Editions, is one of the US’s top publishers of fiction in translation, and they’ve produced more than a few NYT bestsellers, including Elena Ferrante's celebrated Neapolitan Novels. (And yes, they've met the mysterious, pseudonymous author face to face.)

🔥 Hit title: My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

⭐️ Best known for: Literary Fiction

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? No

Publisher of: Nonfiction and Fiction

Independent presses tend to focus on fiction and poetry, but Feral House breaks the mold. Look through their list of publishing topics, and you’ll see post-apocalyptic survival guides under Self-Reliance and gutsy exposés of government corruption under Realpolitik. Needless to say, this isn’t the kind of small press that publishes highbrow short story collections or thoughtful, MFA-inflected novels. Their countercultural sensibility lends itself instead to bold nonfiction (or, occasionally, historical fiction) by unabashed firebrands.

🔥 Hit title: Nightmare of Ecstasy by Rudolph Grey

⭐️ Best known for: Biography, How-To Guides, Journalism

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? Yes, in the form of Manuscript Submission. View guidelines →

Publisher of: Nonfiction, Fiction, and Short Fiction

This micro-press releases no more than four books a year. But their tightly curated list has earned them a reputation for producing fiction and nonfiction that’s as accessible as it is groundbreaking. Future Tense Books’ catalogue might be boundary-pushing, but this publisher’s aesthetic is more DIY than avant-garde. They're equally at home with wry short story collections and raw, unprententious memoirs that delve into darkness head-on.

🔥 Hit title: Excavation by Wendy C. Ortiz

⭐️ Best known for: Literary Fiction, Memoirs

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? No

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