If you’ve toiled over a manuscript, polished it and made it the best it can be, you might be on the search for a suitable home for your precious words. You might be daunted by this prospect – so many publishers, where to begin?

Finding a publisher for your manuscript requires a targeted approach – just like submitting to agents. Careful consideration must be taken to ensure manuscript and publisher are as compatible as possible. Fear not – we have taken away the heavy lifting for you by collating a list of 15 top historical fiction publishers. But before we get to the list, here are some top tips to bear in mind before you submit your manuscript:

1. Check whether the publisher accepts unagented submissions.

Don’t waste time and energy preparing a submission package for a publisher that doesn’t accept unagented submissions. (If you’re looking to secure an agent, see our blog post on 30 top historical fiction literary agents, which also includes a guide on how to write a query letter). It’s worth noting that if you get a publishing deal via an agent, the publisher will typically pay you an advance, then royalties once you’ve earned out the advance. Your agent will take a commission (typically 15–20%). Going through the publisher directly (without an agent) will typically result in a higher royalty rate in lieu of an advance.

2. Evaluate the publisher.

Put your research skills to use and review the publisher’s website and their output over the past two years. Has the publisher released a similar title to yours, or can you identify a gap in their catalogue which your manuscript might fill? Do they publish stories in your particular subgenre? Some publishers are eBook only, others offer eBook and print. Make sure you know what you’d be happy with before you submit. Use this information to target your submission. And watch out for vanity presses: reputable publishers won’t ever demand money from authors to secure publication.

3. Check the publisher’s submission guidelines.

Just like agents, publishers will have specific submission guidelines that you should follow. You wouldn’t want to submit a partial manuscript, for example, if the publisher requests a full one.

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The publishers below are listed in no particular order. At the time of writing, they all accept unagented submissions.

Publishers based in the UK

1. Bookouture

Bookouture is a digital publishing company of commercial fiction. Part of Hachette, they are open to historical fiction submissions. They accept various subgenres of historical fiction, including historical thriller, adventure and romance. Authors published by Bookouture include Lizzie Page, Renita D’Silva, Suzanne Kelman, Liz Trenow, Debbie Rix, Catherine Hokin, and Ella Carey. Find all the details about how to submit to Bookouture on their website.

2. Joffe Books

Joffe Books is a publisher of commercial fiction, heavily focused on crime and mystery. Their historical fiction authors include Grace Thompson, John Pilkington, Kerry Tombs, Carole Llewellyn, Bill Kitson, Hilary Green, and David Wiltshire. To find more about how to submit your manuscript, head over to the Joffe Books website.

3. Canelo

Canelo is a print and digital publisher of commercial fiction. They accept a variety of different historical fiction subgenres, including saga, action and adventure. Authors include Paul Doherty, Michael Jecks, Maggie Ford, Rosie Meddon, Freda Lightfoot, June Francis and S.J.A. Turney. You can find submission details on Canelo’s website.

4. Sharpe Books

Sharpe Books is a publisher of commercial fiction. Historical fiction authors include John Pilkington, Michael Arnold, Sarah Grist, Jemahl Evans, David Pilling, Fiona Forsyth, Philip Gooden, and Michael Ward. For submission details, see their website.

5. Hera Books

Hera Books is a sister company of Canelo. They publish commercial fiction, particularly crime and thriller, romance, saga and general fiction. Historical fiction authors published by Hera include Lynn Johnson, Rosemary Goodacre, Francesca Capaldi, and Lynn Shepherd. Take a look at their submission guidelines for more information.

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6. Head of Zeus

Head of Zeus is a digital and print publisher of fiction, narrative non-fiction and children’s books. They accept submissions of sweeping historical romances, sagas and adventure. Authors include Matthew Harffy, Michelle Paver and Lesley Eames. Notable titles include The Bermondsey Bookshop by Mary Gibson and The Master of War series by David Gilman. Head of Zeus’s website has all you need to know about how to submit.

7. Orion Dash

Orion Dash is a digital-first imprint of Hachette Book Group. They accept commercial historical fiction in a variety of subgenres. Their authors include Jane Holland, Suzie Hull, Ellie Curzon, and Jen Gilroy. For submission information, head to the Orion Dash website.

8. Atlantic Books

Atlantic Books is an independent publisher currently accepting literary fiction submissions. Notable authors published by imprints of Atlantic Books include S.W. Perry, Elisabeth Gifford, Nicola Pryce, Robert Fabbri, C.S. Quinn, Theodore Brun, Minette Walters and Jean Fullerton. Find out more about submitting to Atlantic Books on their website.

9. Sapere Books

Sapere Books is a publisher of commercial fiction and non-fiction with a focus on crime, historical, adventure and history. Historical fiction subgenres include saga, mysteries, thrillers and romance. They’ve published Deborah Swift, Alexandra Walsh, Graham Brack, J.C. Briggs, Elizabeth Bailey, and Marilyn Todd. Find out more about submitting to Sapere Books on their website.

Publishers based in the US and Canada

10. Crooked Lane Books

Founded in 2014 and based in the US, Crooked Lane Books publishes historical crime, mystery and suspense fiction. Historical authors include Kate Belli, Nicola Upsen, Karen Odden, Laura Joh Rowland, D. M. Quincy, Katharine Schellman, and Frances Brody. Take a look at their submission guidelines here.

11. Kensington Books

Based in the US, Kensington Books is an imprint of Kensington Publishing. They focus on commercial fiction, including historical romance, western, thriller and mystery. Authors include Ella Joy Olsen, Vanessa Riley, William W. Johnstone and Anna Lee Huber. Find all the details on how to submit your manuscript on Kensington Books’ website.

12. Sourcebooks Landmark

Based in the US, Sourcebooks Landmark is a publisher of commercial and literary fiction. They release print and digital titles. Publishing historical epics, crime and mystery, the authors Marie Benedict, Susanna Kearsley, Gloria Goldreich, Kristina McMorris, Heather Webb and Kim Michele Richardson have all found homes for their novels with Sourcebooks Landmark. For submission details, see their website.

13. Sunbury Press

Based in the US, Sunbury Press, is open to historical fiction submissions. Their authors include Nancy Hayes Kilgore, Virginia Raffety, and Mark Carlson. You can find submission information on the Sunbury Press website.

14. McClelland & Stewart

Based in Canada, McClelland & Stewart is an imprint of Penguin Random House. They are keen to amplify the voices of writers from traditionally underrepresented communities. They publish literary fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Historical fiction authors include Kurt Palka and Tsering Yangzom Lama. See the submission guidelines on the McClelland & Stewart website.

15. Carina Press

Based in Canada, Carina Press is the digital-first imprint of romance publisher Harlequin. They publish historical romance, including Viking, Medieval, Renaissance, Tudor, Regency, Victorian, and Edwardian. Their authors include Susanna Fraser, Laura Navarre, and Felicia Grossman. Find submission guidelines on the Carina Press website.

Karen Bryony Rose is a guest contributor to The History Quill. An English Literature and History graduate and qualified archivist, Karen has always been fascinated by the past. She balances her time as an information professional, writer and journalist. She’s currently working on her historical dual timeframe novel and uses her love of walking to daydream and plot. She procrastinates on Twitter @SunSparks4.

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