You’ve written your book and now it’s time to look at publishing. One way or another, you’re considering working with an indie book publisher, only to discover that you don’t have three or four options, you have dozens. (During the research for this article alone, we found more than a hundred indie book publishers).
So, how do you choose the right one for you and your book?
Well, we’ve collected some of the best indie book publishers for authors to work with in 2024, shared some of our most popular publisher reviews, and added a few tips and tricks to use on your path to publishing.
Our list of the best indie book publishers includes:
18 best indie book publishers for authors in 2024
First, a question: How do indie authors publish their books?
Small authors often work with small, specialist publishers to take their books to print without making any major changes to their creative vision. Independent – or “indie” – book publishers are publishing companies that aren’t part of a major or multi-national conglomerate.
But indie publishers are often the way to go if you want to work with a publisher without a literary agent. Most indie book publishers will accept direct submissions from writers, at least from time to time. So, how do you pick a publisher to work with?
Here are our thoughts on just a few of the options out there.
18. Graywolf Press
Graywolf Press publishes works of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, specifically focusing on stories from underrepresented authors. They’re non-profit indie book publishers, and only release around 30 books annually. Graywolf Press is typically only open to unsolicited submissions during their prize submission periods. The next scheduled submission is for The Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and opens in February of 2024.
Check out our full Graywolf Press review for more details on working with this publisher.
17. Feminist Press
Feminist Press publishes (as you might guess) books that are distinctly feminist, specifically intersectional social justice works. They publish 12-15 books a year, but they do have open submission periods. They also accept simultaneous submissions, so you can submit your work to Feminist Press alongside other indie book publishers.
They’re currently looking for activist non-fiction, hybrid memoirs, and fiction from BIPOC, queer, and trans writers. Their next open submission period starts December 13 and closes January 3, but you’ll want to monitor their site for future periods since they don’t have a published schedule.
16. Forest Avenue Press
Forest Avenue Press also highlights BIPOC and queer authors, as well as neurodivergent authors. They primarily publish fiction that playfully blends genres. Their tagline sums up what Forest Avenue Press is all about perfectly: “Literary fiction on a joyride”.
Forest Avenue Press is open for un-agented submissions once a year and their next submission period opens in January of 2024. Authors who are just starting to explore publishing might not be ready to submit during this period, but in the meantime, Forest Avenue Press offers consultations with several members of their team for authors at any point in their careers.
Consulting with different authors and indie book publishers can allow authors to explore their publishing options more deeply. We couldn’t recommend anything more strongly than booking a few different consult calls with different publishers so you can get a feel for the different people you might be working with.
15. City Lights Booksellers & Publishers
City Lights Booksellers & Publishers is most famous for publishing the Pocket Poets series – which included Allen Ginsberg’s famous Howl and Other Poems. One of the oldest and best indie book publishers to work with, City Lights proudly publishes fiction, poetry, and memoirs that contain beautifully expressed progressive ideals.
Unfortunately, City Lights Publishers closed “indefinitely” for unsolicited submissions in 2022. For authors who consider hiring a well-connected literary agent part of the cost to publish a book, though, City Lights may be one of the indie publishers on your wishlist.
14. Catapult Books
Part publisher and part teacher, Catapult Books thrives on creating a space for writers to connect. They publish primarily fiction, along with some playful narrative non-fiction. Catapult is one of the few indie book publishers that lives in the magazine space, as well, with their daily digital magazine receiving multiple awards over the past few years.
Catapult Books is not open for submissions at the time of this article, and there is no indication of when they’ll reopen.
13. Kensington Publishing
Kensington Publishing releases more than 300 fiction and non-fiction books annually and is currently open for submissions. Each of the editors at Kensington Publishing has their own specialty, reviewing a specific genre or niche.
They’re strongly focused on the humanity of publishing and are proudly family-owned and operated.
Read our Kensington Publishing review, where we dive into what makes it stand out from other indie book publishers.
12. Beacon Press
The first strictly non-fiction publisher on our list, Beacon Press is dedicated to “igniting hearts and minds” with their work. Beacon Press holds a particularly unique place among indie book publishers – in addition to having NYT Bestsellers and Pulitzer Prize finalists among their catalog, they also published The Pentagon Papers. This title was so controversial that Beacon Press was subpoenaed by President Nixon during the author’s trial.
Beacon Press is still publishing provocative works of non-fiction that challenge prevalent political, religious, and racial beliefs. And they are currently open for submissions.
Our Beacon Press review has more details on whether this might be the press for you.
11. Tupelo Press
One of the youngest indie book publishers on our list, Tupelo Press published its first book in 2001. Since its founding, Tupelo Press has published a variety of poetry, literary fiction, and creative non-fiction. Their books are powerful and expressive, and they put enormous care and attention into the aesthetics of the finalized book.
Tupelo Press is currently accepting submissions, but some categories will be closing shortly, so check their website for additional details.
Llewellyn is an indie publisher with more than a century of experience in publishing metaphysical works. They’re among the best indie book publishers for authors in wellness, earth-based spirituality, and magic spaces. Llewellyn focuses on the practical side of these topics, with plenty of how-to books gracing their catalog.
They are currently open for submissions and only accept works that have not been previously published.
9. Persea Books
Persea Books is named after a tree native to Egypt and the surrounding areas. In Egyptian mythology, the goddess of writing and learning sat at the tree's base and wrote on its leaves the names and deeds of mortals who achieved an eternal place in history. Today, Persea Books publishes a wide variety of work, including fiction, memoirs, and poetry.
Persea Books is one of the indie book publishers on our list that is currently accepting submissions, although their space for poetry submissions is limited.
Our Persea Books review dives into their history and current work, as well as what you need to know before working with them.
8. Coffee House Press
Coffee House Press has been expanding its focus over the years to be an overall supporter of the arts, with numerous events and programs in visual and performing arts. How did a company with a strong place among indie book publishers get into performing arts?
Well, Coffee House Press sees themselves as collaborators and catalysts for bringing art into the world.
They only accept unsolicited submissions during their open reading period, but they do not currently have any information on whether one will open in 2024. In the meantime, refine your manuscript and find answers to any gaps in your knowledge about publishing.
Knowing how much an author can make per book or how long a manuscript review and editing process takes is key to a smooth process. Not only will it make choosing which indie book publisher to work with easier, but learning more about the publishing process will prevent unpleasant surprises down the road.
7. Tin House
Specializing in debut novels, Tin House is a publisher dedicated to expanding boundaries. They work with writers who express experiences artfully in literary fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Tin House’s submission structure is particularly unique among indie book publishers.
Submitting your work is free, but you have to work on a tight timeline. Tin House has three open submission periods of two days each every year. During that time, you can submit work that has not been submitted anywhere else, provided you also don’t have any works published or self-published. The 2024 submission periods are currently not posted, so keep an eye on their website for more details.
6. Dove Christian Press
Authors who are looking to publish Christian fiction and non-fiction works may want to consider Dove Christian Press. There are surprisingly few Christian publishing companies, with many presses specializing in Bible editions rather than original work.
Dove Christian Press, however, is one exception, publishing Christian fiction, self-help, devotionals, and memoirs. Dove Christian Press is currently accepting submissions through its website.
5. Bellevue Literary Press
Bellevue Literary Press publishes literary fiction and non-fiction “at the intersection of art and science”. Like many indie book publishers, they want to take risks and explore new ideas through art, fostering dialogue about the human experience.
Bellevue Literary Press is not currently accepting unsolicited submissions, and they do not have any indication of when they’ll be open for submissions again.
As you’re moving through your search for the best indie book publishers to submit your manuscript to, remember that your work isn’t necessarily done after publishing.
You may want to use a book royalties calculator to determine how much your book will bring in for you, and adjust your marketing plan accordingly! There can be some costs associated with moving your book towards publishing, after all, and you at least want to recoup those.
4. Akashic Books
Occupying the unique niche of urban literary fiction and political non-fiction, Akashic Books has published a little of everything – from children’s books to online serials to sports memoirs. Akashic Books describes themselves as the “reverse-gentrification of the literary world”.
They work with authors who struggle to find a foothold in mainstream publishing houses, as well as authors who don’t want to work with large corporations. Unfortunately, Akashic Books is one of the indie book publishers on our list that is not accepting unsolicited submissions at this time.
3. Europa Editions
Europa Editions publishes fiction across a wide range of genres and topics. They’re captivated by literature’s ability to expand cultural knowledge while surprising and delighting readers. Europa Editions was founded as an offshoot of Italian indie book publishers Edizioni E/O, and work with authors across the US and Britain.
Europa Editions is not currently accepting unsolicited submissions, but interestingly, they are looking for an intern to join their team in 2024, who will have the opportunity to submit work for review.
2. House of Anansi Press
One of two interlinked indie book publishers, House of Anansi Press publishes works of literary fiction, commercial fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, and poetry. House of Anansi published some of Margaret Atwood’s work, and she worked there as an editor, as well!
House of Anansi is open for unsolicited submissions twice a year, beginning on the first of February and the first of August. The open submission period lasts for one month, and they prioritize Canadian writers, particularly Indigenous Peoples from Turtle Island.
Ok, you got us. We’re technically not indie book publishers.
Rather, selfpublishing.com is a service-based company that provides coaching, education, community, and some done-for-you book marketing services to help you successfully self-publish your book and become a bestseller in your category. We also keep all the rights, royalties, and book revenue in your hands. You don’t have to worry about negotiating a contract or wondering if the other authors going to print are making more or less than you are from their work.
There are a few significant changes between self-publishing vs. traditional publishing, and one of them is that the submission period for self-publishing is never closed. You can self-publish whenever your book is ready for the world. In fact, we publish an average of two books each day – and we're always excited to work with more aspiring authors in any genre.
We'll even help you write your book. Most of our authors come to us with an idea – or ten – and our fantastic book coaches help turn it into one great manuscript, while our production team provides professional book formatting and book cover designs to bring your work to life.
Self-publishing is about your book and only your book. You might consider it to be the most independent publishing option there is. We sure do!
Exploring your publishing options
When you’re ready to publish, you have plenty of choices. The choices can be overwhelming, so remember one thing as you start looking: this is your book. No matter what kind of publisher you want to work with, you’ll want to find someone who aligns with your values, timeline, financial outlook, and the story you want to tell.
Working with an indie book publisher can be a wonderful way to publish an authentic, powerful book, but it’s not the only way. When submissions and research for publishers start to get overwhelming, maybe it’s time to consider self-publishing – the most independent way for an author to publish.