Written By Alexandra Romanov

The Top 5 Publishers for New Authors

If you want to publish your creative writing, this article is for you. Especially if you dream of publishing a book.  Today I am going to focus on a handful of top-notch publishing companies that don’t require you to submit via an agent.

These companies vary widely in what they publish, how fast the respond to submissions and how they accept those submissions. The goal here is to give you the information necessary for you to take the next step in getting your book published by a publishing house.

While in most cases there are exceptions to every rule, in the publishing business the rules are carved in granite. The top publishing houses will not accept unsolicited manuscripts. For those you have no choice but submit through an agent. Sending your book to them yourself is pointless as they flatly refuse to consider anything unsolicited and simply throw them away.

The Crossroad Publishing Company

This publishing company is focused on religious thought and spiritual living. This company is the oldest on this list which means that it has a historic track record of success. They don’t offer advances but they do offer a larger share of the profits than other companies so that should be taken into consideration.

Company History

This is a rare publishing company that has an incredible history and yet still welcomes unsolicited manuscripts. The roots of the company go back to 1798 and the Herder family. In 1980 Crossroads was formed with the Herder Book Company booklists. With a history spanning centuries and not just decades you know that this company is capable of handling your manuscript and your book with great care and consideration.


What they publish

This company focuses primarily on books with a religious basis to them. The popular Bad Catholic humor series is published through them as well as notable works on Christian theology. While many of the books have a Catholic frame of reference, all Christian works are considered in both fiction and nonfiction categories. There are also books on families, relationships, children’s books and everyday living.

Notable Authors

This is a rather notable list of the top personalities in Christianity including Pope Benedict and Mother Theresa. Robert Barron is also published here as is of course John Zmirak, the writer of the previously mentioned Bad Catholic Guides


What you need to know before submitting your manuscript

Take a few minutes before submitting your manuscript and look over the submission guidelines on their website. They are fairly standard but you should note a few things are requested. Please see their website at crossroadpublishing.com for a more detailed list:

  • Proposal Title
  • A brief pitch of the project
  • A few paragraphs describing the project
  • Intended format for the book
  • A table of contents
  • Approximate word length
  • A mostly finished book
  • Intended audience
  • Your bibliography and resume

Crossroads Publishing will only accept e-mail submissions of manuscripts. Additionally, while they try to respond within 6-8 weeks, they cannot guarantee that this will happen or that you will receive a response at all.


Witness Impulse Publishers

Does your heart race at the thought of a corpse in a toolshed? Perhaps you prefer a man vanishing without a trace in a locked room? If so I really hope you’re a mystery writer! If you are then Witness Impulse Publishers might be just the publishing company for you.

Just so you know in advance, Witness Impulse authors get 25% royalties for the first 10,000 copies sold and 50% after that.

Company History

This is as close to getting involved with one of the big house publishing companies as you can get without an agent. The good news is that the company in question is HarperCollins.

What they publish

Violence, murder and mayhem! This is the HarperCollins division dedicated to all things mysterious. From historical mysteries to modern police procedurals (Think CSI or Law and Order) and psychological thrillers, if it’s mysterious then it might find a home here. They love a good mystery series so consider this when creating your proposal.

Notable Authors

Witness Impulse puts out some heart stoppers thanks to numerous outstanding authors including, James Hayman author of The Cutting and The Chill of Night, Margie Orford, Gallows Hill and Daddy’s Girl, and Stephen Booth Dying to Sin and Scared to Live.

What you need to know before submitting your manuscript

Witness Impulse makes it insanely easy to submit your work to them for consideration. Go to their website at wmmorrow.hc.com/witnessimpulse and click on the “Submit Your Writing” link. You get a form page where you fill out the form, including the title, whether or not it’s finished and approximate length.

Don’t let the informality fool you. There are three text boxes that ask for:

  • Brief synopsis
  • Best scene
  • Your query letter

You need to impress them enough to get them to read your submission so don’t take this lightly. Be sure to double and triple check what you write. I recommend writing it in Word or some other word processor and copy/pasting it into the text boxes. When you are finished you will have a chance to upload your manuscript to them. That’s it and you’re done.


Avon Impulse Publishers

Many people, including many writers, joke about romance novels. When you consider that romance novels are a multi-billion dollar share of the publishing then you might consider that this is a genre you don’t want to dismiss.

Avon Impulse is the Romance publishing arm of HarperCollins. Like The previously mentioned Witness Impulse, you don’t need an agent to break into this extremely lucrative area of writing with a top publishing house. The same royalties apply here as with Witness Impulse: 25% of the first 10,000 and 50% of everything after that.

Company History

This division of HarperCollins is focused on churning out as many new romance novels as possible. They created this unit several years ago with the specific goal of meeting the demands of their readers. Since then they have grown rapidly and anyone who writes for them has the HarperCollins name backing their work.

What they publish

These are more modern styled romance novels. You still have the romance and steam but Avon Impulse is open to characters that reflect the lives of modern women. There is plenty of room here for historical romance novels, of course but they are also welcoming of female characters with strong careers and even alternative lifestyles and non-traditional careers. They want moderate to super steamy here so if you can deliver that to the readers then be sure and submit your manuscript.

They absolutely love new book series! Keep that in mind when you craft your proposal and be sure to let them know if your book is part of a series.

Notable Authors

These authors are the Queens of Steam! You will find Monica Murphy, Lecia Cornwall, Cathy Maxwell and even Elizabeth Boyle on their booklist.

What you need to know before submitting your manuscript

The website here is avonromance.com/impulse and the form is exactly the same as it is for Witness Impulse. Again, those text boxes matter so consider writing your responses in a word processor and doing the copy/paste routine.

One slight difference with Avon Impulse is that their website will often put out a call for certain types of romance novels. If you are responding to one of these calls be sure to note it on the form in the space provided. These go to a specific editor and you want to be sure she gets it in a timely manner.

Harlequin Enterprises

Don’t laugh at the multi-billion dollar market share! Even people who have never read a romance novel in their lives know the name of this publisher. If you are looking to crank out a great living as a romance novelist then you should probably head to this company first.

Company History

Infamous for their so-called “bodice rippers,” Harlequin has been the leading publisher of romance novels for decades. They are considered to be the top company in the world for romance novel publication and they don’t require an agent.

What they publish

If I compiled a list of what they were looking for in new material we would be here for the next 5 years. More importantly for the new author, Harlequin has created genres within the genre. They are all romance but they focus on specific types of romance. This division has made it really handy for new writers to get their material to the right editors.

Visit the website at Harlequin.com and scroll down the list. Do you like to write romances about women in danger? Try the Romantic Suspense division. You prefer Lords, ladies and knights in not so shining armor? The historical division is where you want to be. They publish virtually any kind of romance you can think of and if you manage to come up with one that they haven’t considered, pitch it to them!

Notable Authors

This reads like a who’s who in publishing because many top authors got their start here. Authors like Mercedes Lackey, Nora Roberts, and Christopher Rice have all written for Harlequin at some point.

What you need to know before submitting your manuscript

This is something of a unique process. First you create an account. You only need one even if you submit several different manuscripts to several different divisions. Once you have created an account you will see a form. Just fill it out and upload your synopsis and then your manuscript. Interestingly, if your manuscript is not accepted within one division you can resubmit it to another to see if it would be a better fit.


Chronicle Books

This company is environmentally friendly, is always on the hunt for new authors and can spot a trend while it’s still forming. This is a great all around company to look into if you are a new author.

Company History

San Francisco based Chronicle Books was founded in 1967 and was once affiliated with the newspaper The San Francisco Chronicle. After nearly 50 years in the publishing business Chronicle books knows how to spot a best seller!

What they publish

If you were disappointed by the previous entries because your manuscript doesn’t fit in any of them then this is the one for you. Chronicle publishes a wide variety of genres including non-fiction, cookbooks, poetry, biographies and books for children of all ages.

Notable Authors

My favorite author, Grumpy Cat, is among the notable authors that have been published by Chronicle. If you tend to favor human authors you fill find E.C. Large, Barbara Boxer, and Ida Magntorn on the booklist here. Equally impressive is their list of New York Times Bestseller books including The Worst Case Survival Handbook and The Beetles Anthology.

What you need to know before submitting your manuscript

For adult trade books Chronicle prefers e-mail submissions on manuscripts. For children’s books they prefer that you mail them. Due to the large volume of submissions they will only contact you if they are interested in publishing your work.

Visit their website at Chroniclebooks.com for a detailed manuscript submission guideline as well as the e-mail and postal address of Chronicle books.

There are a couple of unusual points of note in their guidelines:

  • They want a one page cover letter detailing your project, what is included in your submission and why you think they should publish your book. I would really be interested in what Grumpy Cat had to say on that last part.
  • They want a market analysis of the potential readership of the book. This is rather unique but at least you will have a better understanding of who you are trying to reach through your book!


Those are the top publishing companies for new authors. I took into consideration their name recognition, payment to authors and their track record of publishing success. These are great places to get started if you want to move ahead without an agent. To break into the biggest publishing houses you will simply have to have an agent or become such a self-publishing success that they come to you. With any luck I’ll have my next article to you shortly on how to find a literary agent. Until then, happy writing!


We send you writing jobs.

Sign up and we'll send you 3 companies hiring writers now. Plus, we'll send more companies as we find and review them. All in our free email magazine.

We're the magazine for freelance writers.

We send you companies hiring writers.

Subscribe and we'll send you 3 companies hiring right now.

We'll also send you a guide that gets you started.

We're completely free.

Subscribe now. (It's free.)


About Us

We're dedicated to helping freelance writers succeed. We send you reviews of freelance writing companies, assignments, and articles to help build your writing career. You can view our privacy policy here, and our disclaimer. To get started, simply enter your email address in the form on this page.