The prospect of finding fantasy novel publishers can sometimes feel tougher than defeating the Balrog with nothing but a teaspoon.
Long waits between submission responses can be wearisome. The rejection letters can be heartbreaking. It may put you off book publishing for good. But when you finally land that deal and find someone excited to publish your fantasy novel, the feeling’s greater than any drug.
But looking for book publishing companies, book publishers online or in a writing handbook is a tedious task. It takes time too, and for most of us, time is a luxury we just don’t enjoy.
You may also wonder whether going straight for a publisher is the best thing to do. Should you send your book out to literary agents first? Or should you just skip the hunt altogether, giving up on the likes of Harper Collins and Penguin Books, and just self-publish with the likes of Amazon Kindle (KDP) or Ingramspark?
Self-publishing has changed massively in the last few years, and the negative stigma attached to it is waning. You can search the web for some of the best self-publishing companies to help you in the same way a traditional publisher would, thereby levelling the playing field to a certain extent.
There really is no right answer. Whatever you feel most comfortable and happy with is the best path for you. You might not want to wait for months to hear back from a literary agent or fantasy publisher.
How To Get A Book Published
The first consideration is word count. If you’re looking to get your novel published it’s important to meet a publisher’s guidelines. One of the biggest hurdles to overcome is wordcount.
It’s recognised in the industry that publishers seek shorter works from debut novelists, say between 80,000 and 100,000 words. However, it all depends on the quality of the book and the publisher’s belief in its ability to sell it. From their perspective, a reader is less likely to fork out their hard-earned cash on a weighty tome, but they may take a chance on a shorter one. Printing costs are also a factor. Longer books cost more to print. Publishers are all about weighing up risks and rewards.
Another thing to consider is where the publisher is based. UK fantasy publishers may have different guidelines and preferences to US fantasy publishers, for instance. You could have differences over dictionary usage and whatnot.
Spending some time to research each publisher is also imperative. Before working on your cover letter and submission pack, you’re going to want to check to see if this particular publisher appreciates your kind of story. It might be worthwhile shortlisting suitable publishers, such as dark fantasy publishers, urban fantasy publishers or epic fantasy publishers. Take a targeted approach.
Another thing to do is to familiarise yourself with the terminology used. Most fantasy novel publishers on the list below are open to submissions from everyone, referred to as unsolicited submissions. A few of the major book publishing companies require you to have a literary agent, with submissions made through the agent. This is known as solicited submissions.
How Much Do Publishers Pay For Fantasy Books?
You may have heard of what major book publishing companies offer to writers when they read a book of theirs they like. 6-way bidding wars with astronomical figures and the like. You’ll see this with the likes of Tor Books, Orbit Books, the Hachette Book Group and MacMillan Publishing.
However, not every publisher has such financial weight to throw about.
Each publisher offers different payments depending on their stature. Most on the list offer royalties. From what I’ve read on their websites, none ask you to contribute financially toward publication, though you may have to do more self-promotion. I advise against working with a publisher who asks you to front your own cash.
From reading the submission guidelines of all of these publishers, the same rules crop up. The best advice I can give is to stick to them. It can be a pain in the arse having to re-format your manuscript each and every time, but it’s worth it.
A Guide to Cover Letters – a guide on how to write cover letters, with details on letters for short stories and fantasy novels.
A Guide to Formatting A Manuscript – a comprehensive guide on formatting your manuscripts prior to submission.
List of Fantasy Magazines – short stories can be a great way to get your name out there and build your writing resume. This list of fantasy magazines will help you achieve that.
List of Book Reviewers – once your novel is out it’ll need reviews. This will help you on that front.
Good luck with the subs!
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List of Fantasy Novel Publishers
|Name||Payment||Words||Response time||Unsolicited Submissions|
|Tor Books||Industry standard and royalties||95,000-150,000||Up to 6 months||During specified periods|
|Harper Collins/Harper Voyager||Industry standard and royalties||Not stated||Not stated||During specified periods|
|Orbit Books||Industry standard and royalties||Not stated||Not stated||No|
|Gollancz Books||Industry standard and royalties||Not stated||Not stated||During specified periods|
|Baen Books||Competitive||100,000-130,000||9-12 months||Yes|
|Penguin Books||Industry standard and royalties||80,000||Not stated||No|
|Angry Robot||Industry standard and royalties||Not stated||10 weeks||No|
|Azure Spider Publications||Royalties||90,000 plus||3 weeks||Yes|
|Barking Rain Press||Royalties||20,000||4 weeks||Yes|
|Class Act Books||Royalties||20,000-125,000||10 days||Yes|
|Dancing Star Press||Royalties||17,500-40,000||6 weeks||Yes|
|Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Books||Small advance and royalties||75,000-100,000||3 months||Yes|
|Eraserhead Press||Royalties||20,000-100,000||Within 2 months after end of reading period||Yes|
|eTreasures Publishing||Royalties||10,000-100,000||60 days||Yes|
|Fablecroft Publishing||Advance and royalties||20,000-60,000||3 months||Yes|
|Freedom Forge Press||Royalties||25,000-100,000||8 weeks||Yes|
|Gypsy Shadow||Royalties||10,000-50,000+||3 months||Yes|
|Mundania Press||Royalties||40,000-100,000||3 months||Yes|
|IFWG||Royalties||60,000-90,000||A few months||Yes|
|Dead Ink||Royalties||100,000||A few months||Yes|
|Ink Smith Publishing||Royalties||30000 upwards||8 weeks||Yes|
|JournalStone||Royalties||50,000 upwards||6 months||Yes|
|Twilight Times Books||Small advance and royalties||Not stated||4 weeks||Yes|
|St Martin’s Press (MacMillan)||Industry standard and royalties||Not stated||Not stated||No|
|Reliquary Press||Royalties||60,000 upwards||2 weeks||Yes|
|Pink Narcissus Press||Small advance and royalties||50,000 upwards||6 weeks||Yes|
|Founders House Publishing||Royalties||Not stated||Not stated||Yes|
|Quirk Books||Royalties||Not stated||Not stated||Yes|
|DAW Books||Advance and royalties||80,000 upwards||3 months||Yes|
|Literary Wanderlust||Royalties||65,000-100,000||4 to 6 weeks||Yes|
|Kensington Books||Royalties||20,000 upwards||3 months||Yes|
|Mirror World Publishing||Royalties||130,000 maximum||6 to 8 weeks||Yes|
|Mocha Memoir Press||Royalties||30,000 to 80,000||6 to 8 weeks||Yes|
|Montag Press||Royalties||70,000 at least||Several months||Yes|
|Muse It Up Publishing||Royalties||20,000 upwards||16 to 18 weeks||Yes|
|Parvus Press||Advance and royalties||60,000 upwards||90 days||Yes|
|Priestess and Hierophant Press||Royalties||Up to 60 pages||Up to 6 months||Yes|
|Pyr||Not stated||Up to 130,000||Not stated||No|
|Resurrection House||Advance and royalties||40,000-100,000||6 weeks||Yes|
|Silver Leaf Books||Royalties||No limit||6 months||Yes|
|Soul Fire Press||Royalties||65,000 to 120,000||4 weeks||Yes|
|4RV Publishing||Royalties||Not stated (standard short story length)||3 months||Yes|
|Amphorae Publishing Group||Not stated||Up to 120,000||Up to 12 months||Yes|
|Bitingduck Press||Royalties||Not stated||Not stated||Yes|
|Black Bed Sheet||Not stated||Not stated||6 months||Yes|
|Candlemark & Gleam||Royalties||65,000 upwards||3 months||Yes|
|Cuil Press||Royalties||120,000||Not stated||Yes|
|Divertir Publishing||Royalties||60,000 to 80,000||6 weeks||Yes|
|Elder Signs Press||Royalties||80,000 upwards||Not stated||Yes|
|Falstaff Book||Royalties||110,000||60 days||Yes|
|Castrum Press||Royalties||Not stated (novella and novel length)||Not stated||Yes|
|Crystal Peake Publisher Ltd||Royalties||10,000-100,000||Not stated||Yes|
|Loose Leaves Publishing||Royalties||Not stated||Not stated||Yes|
|Nexxis Fantasy||Royalties||50,000 upwards||Not stated||Yes|
|Orbannin Books||Royalties||40,000-80,000||Not stated||Yes|
If you’re a publisher and would like to be added to the list, or if you know of any publishers who should be on here, please drop me an email.
Thanks for checking out my list of fantasy novel publishers. I hope you’ve found it useful.
If you’d like exclusive access to a live version of this list, why not join my Community of Writers? You’ll also receive other writing tools, like a list of book reviewers, and Thoughts on Writing, my free book on the craft of writing. Just fill out the form below.