I have a confession to make: I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing. The vast open sea of book publishing is a world alien to me. I was spared—through a stroke of luck—the agonizing learning curve of it with my debut book. But now, as my second book nears ‘completion’ and thoughts of publishing swirl around in my depleted brainstuffs, I find myself with decisions to make.
Do I submit to the same publisher that accepted my debut? Or do I explore my options, if indeed options exist? To make an informed decision, I figure, this time I should do more than the bare minimum of research.
So here we are, trudging through lists of publishers that accept M/M fiction and trying to make sense of shit. Will my 70k of spit-shined word vomit fit their brand? Are there ways to spot vanity presses and scam artists short of contacting them and finding out the hard way? Are there unwritten rules to navigate? Maybe! I have no answers to any of these questions. Yet. Baby steps.
Most will be write offs for me, as my writing features explicit sex and violence. Seriously, some day I am going to write a standard, feel good, love story. I can do it! Probably… maybe. Realtalk, though: how many characters can I kill off before it ceases to be ‘feel good’?
Keep in mind that if you write standard romance without anything too explicit or controversial, you will likely fit with MOST of these publishers’ criteria, so feel free to ignore my personal notes at the bottom of each listing.
If you’re interested in more detailed info, such as royalty rate, whether they’re full service, or accept simultaneous submissions, I encourage you to check out their submission guidelines pages. If you can’t find anything titled ‘submissions’ in their main menu, check on the bottom of their site, in the footer links, or check their “about” or “contact” pages.
Categories: (Couldn’t find specifics)
First Impressions: Not currently accepting Submissions. Active social media presence. Rebellious ambiance.
Worth checking back with later.
Arsenal Pulp Press
Categories: BIPOC authors, LGBT+ Fiction and non-fiction, Literary fiction, Graphic Novels, Children’s fiction
First Impressions: Canadian. Professional site. Only accepts submissions via actual physical mail. Active social media presence, and website seems up-to-date.
Printing out and mailing a manuscript isn’t cheap. I respect that they do it old school, it’s simply not feasible for me.
Blind Eye Books
Categories: Science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance. 70k and up.
First Impressions: I already see gorgeous covers and a couple authors I love. Really, the only thing that gives me pause with this publisher is that they specify they prefer books without rape. I don’t do rape fantasy, but I do tend to have implied or some uncomfortable almost-there moments. Not super active on twitter.
A worthy option. If I go that route, I’d have to contact them first to clarify the sexual violence thingy.
Bold Strokes Books
Categories: Pretty much anything LGBT+ (Non-fiction books require queries.)
First Impressions: Professional site. They don’t have a list of content they will not accept, which is either really good or I totally missed something. Decent cover work, and I see quite a few spec fics that don’t look like standard Harlequin style romances, and that is hella promising to me. Their twitter, however, seems quite for the last week or so.
My favourite so far, based on a shallow, cursory stroll through their site.
Categories: Anthologies, Mircrofiction
First Impressions: Site’s not secure. This always makes me suspect it’s a small budget deal. The site looks like a blog. Their submission calls haven’t been updated since 2018, and their twitter was last updated in 2020.
As they seem to be more of a platform for microfiction, I don’t think they apply to me, anyway.
Categories: Romance primarily
First Impressions: Site’s not secure. They have multi-authored book series with shared worlds/characters. It’s a neat concept. I like it. However, they consider some shape-shifter stuff bestiality and I worry that would put my Space Opera’s interspecies xenophilia stuff into a weird, uncertain grey area. Decent social media presence, though!
Might be worth considering, though I would definitely contact them for elaboration first.
Categories: positive representation of minorities in gay romance, paranormal, young adult
First Impressions: Every time I’ve looked at them in the past 3 years, they’ve been closed for submissions. I must have terrible timing! Nice, professional site. They’re on all the submission lists. They seem to have imprints that accept submissions? Though the ones I’ve clicked on have been closed too. There may be some recent legal issues? I do not know the details, just saw an article about it during a google search when I was trying to figure out when they’d be open for submissions. Decent online presence.
If I could find them with open submissions, I’d totally consider them an option.
Categories: Primarily romance
First Impressions: I love their site. But their guidelines against physical damage during sex rules out my happy little masochists. They look like an awesome publisher with very fair rates, though! And an active social media presence.
Will consider if I write any less violent romances.
Categories: (Couldn’t find this laid out anywhere)
First Impressions: Closed for Submissions, so no information. Social media’s still being updated, though, so maybe I’ll get a chance to update this later!
Green Candy Press
Categories: Drugs, S&M, Erotica?
First Impressions: Site’s not secure. But it is a cute site: rough around the edges but teeming with personality. I’m definitely intrigued, because the titles and book covers are interesting as all hell. Their submission guidelines don’t provide a lot of information about what they’re looking for, however. Their twitter is not very active, but it exists.
I’m not sure my work is wild enough for these peeps.
Categories: Literary and Genre fiction, with an emphasis on literary
First impressions: Fancy site! Royalty rates depend on how much you sell. They are nicely specific about what they will not publish, which I appreciate! Their twitter seems mostly active as well.
I don’t write literature; my genre fiction is very genre-fictiony. But might be worth giving this press a shot, anyway!
That’s enough for one post, and a few hours of research. I shall continue later. Unless I forget. For those of you interested in continuing your own research without me, I’ll link you to the list I’ve been working off of below.
If any of the information I provided is wrong, or you can fill in some of the blanks I left, don’t hesitate to correct me! The last thing I want to do is misrepresent peeps. If you are a publisher that accepts M/M fiction, and you’d like to be added to this list, my twitter DMs are open! Good luck with your thing, whatever that thing may be!
References for this article: http://www.lorillake.com/glbt_pub.html
To Be Continued…
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Sam Clover is an author of M/M speculative fiction. Though she dabbles in a variety of genres, dark themes always find ways to permeate her work. She is a prairie girl from east of the Canadian Rockies, and a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community. Her debut book “Cold Snap” was released by Ninestar Press in December of 2020.