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Blog > Understanding Publishing – Posted on Oct 07, 2020

20 LGBT Publishers Flying the Rainbow Flag with Pride

The LGBTQ+ community has been historically underrepresented in publishing. But with the growth of online books sales and a greater mainstream appetite for diverse characters and stories, there has been a resulting boom in LGBTQ+ books and publishers specializing in this blossoming niche.

To help you find the right home for your book, we’ve gathered together a list of LGBT publishers on the lookout for exciting new voices. And there’s more good news: all, but one, accept unsolicited submissions!

1. Arsenal Pulp Press

LGBT Publisher🌈 Looking for: a range of titles, with a keen interest in LGBTQ+ literature
📝 Accepts unagented submissions?: Yes, view guidelines here

Though this press publishes books that fall outside of the queer spectrum, it has a keen interest in LGBTQ+ titles. Founded in 1971 (the grandad of the list), Arsenal Pulp Press is based in Vancouver, and is known for establishing the Three-Day Novel Contest — a time-honoured literary marathon. For those of you who like to crunch numbers, they have a backlist of over 400 titles and publish 15-20 new titles each year.

2. Bella Books

LGBT publisher🌈 Looking for: general or genre fiction about women-loving-women
📝 Accepts unagented submissions?: Yes, view guidelines here

Bella Books is the largest press devoted to “fiction for and about women-loving-women.” Their goal is to amplify voices that “celebrate the diversity of our lesbian, queer, bisexual, and gender non-conforming community — in all our glorious shapes, sizes and colors.” So, if you’ve written a vibrant work of fiction featuring women-loving-women, in any genre from romance to science fiction, Bella Books could be a fit. Among their award-winning catalog, you’ll find Rising Above by Genevieve Fortin and Brace for Impact by Beck Harmon.

3. Blind Eye Books

LGBT publisher🌈 Looking for: LGBTQ+ fiction in a few named genres
📝 Accepts unagented submissions?: Yes, view guidelines here

Blind Eye Books exclusively publishes novels that feature LGBTQ+ protagonists, which makes them one of the best choices for writers of LGBTQ+ fiction. However, while they’ll lap up stories in the mystery, science fiction, romance and fantasy genres, they’re not interested in much else. The editor at Blind Eye Books has also said she values novelty — so it might be worth checking out this handy list of tropes she's tired of seeing before you submit.

4. Bold Strokes Books

LGBT publisher🌈 Looking for: LGBTQ+ fiction (considers previously published works)
📝 Accepts unagented submissions?: Yes, view guidelines here

Bold Strokes Books is one of the larger LGBTQ+ publishers on this list. Established in 2004, they’ve published over 1,000 works from a diverse range of authors in paperback, ebook, and audiobook formats. Among their titles are LGBTQ+ novels in a variety of genres, including speculative fiction and young adult fiction. If you want to get to know their backlist a little better, check out In Too Deep by Ronica Black or Light by Nathan Burgoine.

5. Bywater Books

LGBT publisher🌈 Looking for: lesbian and feminist-themed fiction or narrative nonfiction
📝 Accepts unagented submissions?: Yes, view guidelines here

Found in Michigan, Bywater Books is a queer literature imprint publishing “lesbian and feminist-themed fiction and narrative nonfiction.” The list of categories that they’re interested in is pretty all-encompassing — everything from memoirs, to new adult, to cross-genre fiction — but if you’re partial to verse or you’re wielding a raunchy erotica, you’ll need to look elsewhere (don’t worry, this list has got you covered).

Its imprint Amble Press is the place to look if you’re writing across the broader queer spectrum, or if you’re a queer writer of color.

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6. Carnation Books

LGBT publisher🌈 Looking for: fanfiction or original fiction featuring LGBTQ+ romance
📝 Accepts unagented submissions?: Yes, view guidelines here

Carnation Books is an independent publisher that exclusively prints stories celebrating LGBTQ+ lives, with a soft spot for genre fiction containing queer romance. This is great news for LGBTQ+ authors! However, as a digital-first publisher, Carnation may not be your first choice if your ultimate dream is to see your book in brick-and-mortar stores.

Fun fact about the name: it was chosen because of the green carnation that came to be associated with gay men in the Victorian era — famously sported by Oscar Wilde!

7. Cleis Press

LGBT publisher🌈 Looking for: a large range of titles including LGBTQ+ fiction and nonfiction
📝 Accepts unagented submissions?: Yes, view guidelines here

One of the earliest LGBT publishers in America (back before the acronym acquired a few extra letters), Cleis Press specializes in LGBTQ+ literature, romance, and erotica — and has quite a few awards under its belt, including several Lambda Literary Awards.

Over the years, they’ve published hundreds of nonfiction books by experts, activists, and public figures, on topics including sexuality and same-sex love, as well as plenty of classic fiction. Cleis now also boasts a human rights imprint, and has published several influential transgender studies.

8. Desert Palm Press

LGBT publisher🌈 Looking for: fiction featuring LGBTQ+ protagonists
📝 Accepts unagented submissions?: Yes, view guidelines here

Six years young, California-based Desert Palm Press remains committed to its goal: “publishing quality stories that accurately and respectfully reflect the diverse lives of the lesbian and LGBTQ+ community.” It’s worth noting that while they review nonfiction manuscripts on a case-by-case basis, their backlist doesn't currently feature any nonfiction titles. But if you’re sitting on fresh, engaging fiction that features LGBTQ+ protagonists, then you’re definitely in with a chance of getting published! Something in their guidelines to note: Desert Palm Press prefers ‘happily ever after’ endings. But then again, don’t we all?

9. Dreamspinner Press

LGBT publisher🌈 Looking for: gay romantic fiction in all genres
📝 Accepts unagented submissions?: Temporarily closed, see here

Dreamspinner Press is an international publisher that prints quality gay romantic fiction in print, ebook, and audiobook formats. Their guidelines say that while they’re looking for a strong romantic plot line between two or more male characters, your manuscript doesn’t need to be graphic. If it is, you certainly won’t be turned away, unless you’re wanting to publish through their teen and new adult fiction imprint, Harmony Ink Press — where it’s best to keep things PG!

10. Harrington Park Press

LGBT publisher🌈 Looking for: nonfiction on LGBTQ+ topics
📝 Accepts unagented submissions?: Yes, view guidelines here

Originally an imprint of The Howarth Press, Harrington Park Press is an academic publisher “devoted to emerging topics in LGBTQ+ diversity, equality, and inclusivity.” They’re seeking manuscripts in major fields of study and professional practice, which makes them a little different to the other publishers on this list. But, if you’re looking to publish a work of LGBTQ+ scholarship, Harrington Park Press can distribute your book to institutional, academic, and retail markets worldwide.

11. Interlude Press

LGBT publisher🌈 Looking for: LGBTQ+ fiction
📝 Accepts unagented submissions?: Yes, view guidelines here

A boutique publisher of LGBTQ+ fiction, Interlude Press has garnered numerous awards since its foundation in 2014. Other than insisting upon LGBTQ+ protagonists, they have very few requirements: they encourage authors from all backgrounds, and welcome novels, novellas, and short stories. Together with their young adult imprint Duet Books, Interlude’s back catalog features over 70 titles – including Absolutely, Almost, Perfect by Lissa Reed and Go Your Own Way by Zane Riley – and they are always on the lookout for original new voices to amplify.

12. Lethe Press

LGBT publisher🌈 Looking for: LGBTQ+-themed fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and anthology titles
📝 Accepts unagented submissions?: Temporarily closed, see here

Launched by Steve Berman, who once worked in the famous Giovanni’s Room Bookstore, Lethe Press is named after the Greek deity of forgetfulness and oblivion, reflecting its devotion to themes often neglected by mainstream publishers.

Initially founded as an LGBT publisher (in the days before the acronym expanded towards inclusivity), they have recently broadened their interests to include a wide range of speculative fiction — though many of their titles are still queer-themed. They also have an imprint called Tincture, devoted to LGBTQ+ authors of color.

13. Literary Wanderlust

LGBT publisher🌈 Looking for: actively seeking LGBTQ+ fiction
📝 Accepts unagented submissions?: Yes, view guidelines here

Literary Wanderlust is one of the few publishers on this list that doesn’t exclusively publish queer titles. This small (but steadily growing) publisher is simply looking for well-written works with killer character development and powerful plots. However, that doesn’t mean they’re a write-off for LGBTQ+ authors! Among other genres — including women’s romance and young adult fantasy — Literary Wanderlust is actively seeking manuscripts that will expand their LGBTQ+ catalog. Not to mention, they encourage unsolicited manuscripts and first-time authors!

14. NineStar Press

LGBT publisher🌈 Looking for: LGBTQ+ romance, erotica & literary fiction (considers previously published works)
📝 Accepts unagented submissions?: Yes, view guidelines here

This LGBTQ+-owned and managed publisher, NineStar Press, is a big lover of LGBTQ+ romance in all its shapes and sizes. However, they’re also interested in showcasing works of literary fiction that feature underrepresented voices — including nonbinary, genderfluid, and pansexual characters (to name a few) — as well as “stories that don’t quite fit into a particular genre or category.” NineStar Press opens its doors to everyone — even authors with orphaned books!

15. Pride Publishing

LGBT publisher🌈 Looking for: LGBTQ+ fiction
📝 Accepts unagented submissions?: Yes, view guidelines here

When Pride Publishing was founded in 2006, as an imprint of romance publisher Totally Entwined, it exclusively published LGBTQ+ romance and erotica. But over the years, it has expanded to encompass fiction in a wide range of genres, from spine-chilling paranormal thrillers to futuristic space sci-fi. As long as your story is entertaining (and features a LGBTQ+ protagonist) you’re in with a shot! If you want to check out something from their backlist, try Two for the Road by Alexa Milne.

16. Redbone Press

LGBT publisher🌈 Looking for: literature (including poetry) by queer writers of color
📝 Accepts unagented submissions?: Yes, view guidelines here

Redbone Press is all about creating space for queer writers of color. The press was founded in 1997 by Lisa Moore, after her encounters with white feminist publishers who insisted that there was ‘no market’ for Does Your Mama Know?, her anthology of Black lesbian coming-out stories. For over twenty years, they have taken pride in showcasing literature “celebrating the cultures of black lesbians and gay men, and work that further promotes understanding between black gays and lesbians and the black mainstream.”

17. Riptide Publishing

LGBT publisher🌈 Looking for: LGBTQ+ fiction
📝 Accepts unagented submissions?: No, view guidelines here

Though this small independent publisher of LGBTQ+ fiction is known for its expansive romance category, your manuscript might find a home at one of its imprints. While Riptide Publishing handles fiction with a romantic or erotic focus — all heat levels welcome — imprint Triton Books accepts young adult fiction, and Anglerfish Press deals with works of literary or genre fiction that steers clear of romance. Any innovative writer with “a rich, plotty, queer-positive story” is welcome!

18. Sapphire Books

LGBT publisher🌈 Looking for: lesbian fiction and nonfiction
📝 Accepts unagented submissions?: Yes, view guidelines here

Sapphire Books strives to cultivate a strong sense of community among readers and writers of lesbian literature. They publish and promote any story that reflects and celebrates the diverse experiences of this community — whether it’s fiction, nonfiction, or biographical — and are able to reach worldwide audiences through retailers including Amazon and Barnes and Noble. If you’re a lesbian writer of romance, mystery, or young adult, then you’re in luck — Sapphire Books is on the hunt!

19. Supposed Crimes

LGBT publisher🌈 Looking for: queer genre fiction
📝 Accepts unagented submissions?: Closed until 2021, see here

Sporting a name that refers to the once criminal nature of homosexuality, Supposed Crimes encourages authors to challenge stereotypes: though times are changing, the idea of a man writing lesbian fiction, for example, is sometimes still considered subversive. This independent press has published books in a range of genres, from westerns to horrors. Unlike several LGBTQ+ publishers, the focus isn’t on romance — so, if you’ve got a female protagonist that kicks ass and happens to love women, this might be the press for you.

20. Ylva Publishing

LGBT publisher🌈 Looking for: fiction about women-loving-women
📝 Accepts unagented submissions?: Closed until 2021, see here

Our final entry, Ylva Publishing is all about shattering boundaries and celebrating diversity. This independent press is always on the lookout for talented new queer authors of all colors, cultures and nationalities, who will fill their ever-growing ebook catalog with quality queer books. With names like Cheyenne Blue, A. L. Brooks, and Alison Grey to boast of, their shelves are filled with award-winning titles in all genres — from steamy lesbian erotica to queer dystopian tales.


A few of these publishers caught your eye? Check out this post on how to submit a manuscript to make sure you find the perfect fit and blow their socks off with your submission.