The Big Book of Small Presses & Independent Publishers

Small Presses, book contests, university presses, and independent publishers for "unagented" authors

Non-Fiction - Writing/Publishing
412 Pages
Reviewed on 02/27/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

I love the feisty spirit of small presses, and for many years, I've been an informal "yenta" to authors who keep getting rejected by agents. I turned my database of presses who accept manuscripts from "unagented" authors into this book. I hope it can serve as a resource for writers who want the validation of an editor saying "yes."

On the personal side, I write a blog to help aspiring writers, and of course, I'm working on my own books. When I'm not writing, I'm working in my garden or taking a walk--the best time to get brilliant ideas.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lois J Wickstrom for Readers' Favorite

The Big Book of Small Presses & Independent Publishers, subtitled Small presses, book contests, university presses, and independent publishers for “unagented” authors by Marylee MacDonald, is a valuable tool for authors who have been ignored by the big presses and agents who sell to them. This book lists over 300 small and independent presses that read manuscripts from unagented authors. Sometimes these presses require a query letter before deciding if they want to see your manuscript. Sometimes they want you to enter a contest. Sometimes, their staff is open all year to look at their specific types of manuscripts.

The Big Book of Small Presses & Independent Publishers has all the instructions and appropriate websites for accessing each of the presses they list. Marylee has sold both fiction and non-fiction books. Here she has compiled a wide selection of presses, so that other authors may do the same. Since this is an ebook, it is easy to search for all the presses that might be of interest. I did a search for “graphic novels” and found two presses that publish books similar to what I’ve been writing, and one press that specifically does not want what I’m writing. This is all useful information. The press information not only lists the types of manuscripts each press seeks, but it also tells you which types they are looking for right now. So, if they sometimes print middle-grade novels, but don’t want them right now, you can save yourself the trouble of contacting them. Also, some presses have word length requirements. If your story is too long or too short, again you can save yourself the trouble. All of this information has two goals: to help authors find the right press for their books and help publishers avoid spending time looking at books that aren’t right for them. Marylee MacDonald has done a service to the publishing industry.

Liz Konkel

The Big Book of Small Presses & Independent Publishers: Small Presses, Book Contests, University Presses, and Independent Publishers for “Unagented” Authors by Marylee MacDonald is the go-to resource for every author. This book features a thorough list arranged in alphabetical order, which includes a vast variety of publishers such as 18th Wall Productions, Black Rose Writing, Red Empress Publishing, and Winter Goose Publishing. This guide is for writers that have a novel finished and waiting to be brought to life, for those that don’t have an agent, and for those struggling to determine what their next move is going to be. MacDonald provides this helpful resource that will hopefully help them towards their publishing dreams.

This valuable resource shows that Marylee MacDonald wishes to help every author achieve the dream that’s right for them by helping them take the first step. The presses and publishers range from contests to independent publishers to university presses. Authors can flip through the pages and find the right fit for them and their book, including links to the publisher’s website and guidelines. Several of these publishers accept a variety of genres and the paragraphs included allow you to get a feel for the tone of the press or publisher. Some have a vast amount of information provided such as Albert Whitman and Company which includes submissions for picture books and middle-grade fiction. Writing contests are also included with notable deadlines such as for Gival Press which has four deadlines for this year. For those seeking to get their plays out there, MacDonald includes Plays Inverse which is a publisher that seeks a variety of play formats. Essays, memoirs, fairy tales, and so much more will find the right fit with one of these publishers as The Big Book of Small Presses & Independent Publishers provides the resource that every author needs.

K.C. Finn

The Big Book of Small Presses & Independent Publishers is a work of non-fiction for budding writers looking to seek representation, is suitable for all ages and was written by author Marylee MacDonald. The book is designed to be an indispensable reference material for those at the early stages of taking their creative writing projects from their home computer all the way to becoming edited and published works. Comprehensively covering independent presses and publishers who position themselves as approachable for new talent, the book contains contact information for all of the outside input you need to get your manuscript published.

The work of author Marylee MacDonald speaks volumes about the dedication of the author to the subject, as this reference book provides such an extensive and informative overview for aspiring writers. Becoming a champion for the unagented writer in this day and age is a really uplifting spirit to witness, as the doors to traditional publishing grow ever smaller, and the indie world grows bigger. MacDonald’s confident prose and great summaries and organization give readers that same empowered feeling to go out and seek publication themselves, without having to rely on or feel judged by an old fashioned middle man. What results is a highly useful and easy reference guide to over 350 press opportunities for budding writers, and a font of relevant, current information that’s easy to keep at hand. Overall, I’d highly recommend The Big Book of Small Presses & Independent Publishers to indie writers all over the globe.

Stephen Fisher

The Big Book of Small Presses & Independent Publishers by Marylee MacDonald is a collection of small presses, book contests, and independent publishers for aspiring authors seeking to become traditionally published, but for some reason, just cannot land a literary agent that will represent them to the larger and more well-known book publishers. Here is a wealth of publishers where you don't need a literary agent to represent you. This book will give you the physical and email addresses of these lower-profile companies. They will cover the cost of printing and the distribution of your books.

Marylee MacDonald has assembled 359 companies at your fingertips. They include email links to their submission guidelines, as well as when they are open to submissions, and when they are closed to submissions. The author has also included the genres that each company is interested in and is accepting queries for. This book gives the unpublished author a huge advantage in having the correct knowledge of which companies are a better match for you and your work. Many of these companies are located all over the world, including some colleges and universities. Depending on what country you are currently in, there is a publishing company for you. All I can say is that when I finished reading how Marylee MacDonald put this masterpiece of information together, I was impressed. From front to back, The Big Book of Small Presses & Independent Publishers is a complete guide to everything you can expect in taking this course of action.

Christian Sia

The Big Book of Small Presses & Independent Publishers: Small Presses, Book Contests, University Presses, and Independent Publishers for "Unagented" Authors by Marylee MacDonald is an invaluable reference tool for unagented authors. In this book, the author features a collection of 350 Small Presses and Independent Publishers. Along with each listing, the author provides invaluable information for readers. They will get details like what each publisher is looking for in terms of genre, find the categories of books they publish, their submission guidelines, website, and email address. Readers also get critical information on how to query the publisher or how to submit their manuscript. There are some presses like Allen & Unwin that run a special program for authors not represented by a literary agent. For this publisher, they have Friday Pitch, which offers a huge opportunity for writers to have an in-house editor consider their work.

Marylee MacDonald has done a wonderful job in researching and providing information that writers need in one place. The author notes that the publishers and independent presses featured in this reference book are those that don’t ask for upfront fees from authors to get published. No, they are not vanity presses. The Big Book of Small Presses & Independent Publishers is a great tool for finding the right publisher. It is very informative and gives readers the essential things they need to properly pitch and get noticed by an independent publisher. Arranged in alphabetical order and exhaustive in the information it provides on the listings, this is the book writers need before considering submissions to any publisher.