How to Find Publishers

how to find publishers and agents

This post was first published in 2011 and is regularly updated.


If you have a book idea or a manuscript, one of your first questions is probably:

How do I find a publisher?

Or, if you’re more advanced in your knowledge of book publishing, you may ask:

How do I find a literary agent?

The good news: there’s no shortage of resources for researching publishers and agents. The bad news: you can really get lost going down the rabbit hole of available information!

In the United States, the most comprehensive resource (published since 1920) is the annual Writer’s Market directory, which is also available and searchable online at WritersMarket.com. It features more than 8,000 listings of where you can get published and includes literary agents. While it does cost to purchase the guide (or subscribe online), you can often find it at your local library or bookstore.

Alternatively, you can find a range of free and paid resources online. Some of the sites and tools listed below offer submission trackers, community message boards, and interesting statistics gathered from official site members.

Here’s a summary of the most well-known and popular places to find publishers and agents.

Where to Find Publishers

Be aware that most New York book publishers do not accept unagented submissions, so sometimes “searching for a publisher” really means finding an agent (see next list).

  • QueryTracker. Free to start, with premium ($) levels.
  • Manuscript Wish List. Editors and publishers often post on social media what projects they’re actively seeking. This site aggregates those mentions.
  • Ralan. Free, focused on science fiction & fantasy.
  • Poets & Writers. Free, but serves the more literary side of the writing community.
  • Duotrope ($). Its strength is in detailing markets related to poetry, short fiction, and essays, but it also has book publisher listings.
  • New Pages. This is a curated list of markets popular with creative writing programs and instructors; it’s a good place to go if you’re publishing short stories, poems, and essays.

Where to Find Agents

Before you begin a search in earnest, be sure to read my post: How to Find a Literary Agent

  • PublishersMarketplace. Pricey ($25/month), but if you search the Deals Database at this website, you can study what books agents have sold going back to 2001, by category and keyword.
  • Manuscript Wish List. Agents often post on social media what projects they’re actively seeking. This site aggregates those mentions.
  • AgentQuery. Free, with excellent community message boards.
  • QueryTracker. Free to start, with premium ($) levels.
  • AAR Online. This is the official membership organization for literary agents. Not all agents are member of AAR.

For more information

Know of other resources? Let us know in the comments.


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Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the co-founder and editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. She also has a book forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, The Business of Being a Writer (2017).

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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54 Comments on "How to Find Publishers"

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Yvonne

Thanks for posting all this. I have passed it on to http://www.bksp.org/ I have been a member of this site for years.
Yvonne Oots

Writerific

Thanks for the wonderful information. I hope you don’t mind, I’m posting some of the links on my own blog at http://writerific.blogspot.com/p/writing-resources.html. 🙂

David Mark Brown

Thanks, Jane, for another great resource.

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Links: Hello, October 2011 Edition

[…] Where to Find Free Market Listings. An alternative to the awesome Writer’s Market. […]

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[…] “Where to Find Free Market Listings,” Jane Friedman: Sure, the former Writer’s Digest editor links to Writer’s Market, but would her former employer enjoy all of these links to free listings? That’s not our problem. […]

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[…] Jane Friedman: Where to Find Free Market Listings. […]

Martin Shone

Bloomin ‘eck there’s loads of them, thanks Jane.

Academyofbengalipoetry
Academyofbengalipoetry

Interested to listing with your website. Thank you. Our website http://www.academyofbengalipoetry.com

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[…] note: For those of you looking for practical advice on how to begin an agent search, see this post. It focuses on evaluating the agents you’ve identified as being (at least on the surface) […]

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[…] Where to Find Free Marketing Listings. A resource guide on how to find agents and publishers for your work. […]

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[…] Researching the appropriate agents or publishers for your work. (Here’s a list of free resources.) […]

John Wiswell

Thanks for sharing the resources, Jane.

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[…] Tip for the digital age: Check out free resources I recommend for researching markets. […]

Abel Mathew

I really want be one of the youngest writers in the world. Don’t worry My story isn’t full of fantasy, it contains humor and has a serious storyline and suspense. The narrator is a kid himself. I just don’t know whom to contact to publish this book.(its not complete though)Please help me. I don’t know who to turn to.My name is Abel Mathew Francis Please help me,this my email address: speedracer.no1@gmail.com

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[…] Where to Find Free Market Listings – From Jane Friedman. Includes publishers, agents, journals. […]

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[…] Check submission guidelines of the agent or publisher. Sometimes you have to query before sending the proposal; often you can send the book proposal on first contact. The submission guidelines will also indicate any mandatory information that must be included in the proposal. Wondering how to find an agent or publisher to submit to? Check this post. […]

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[…] Here’s my Amazon list of favorite guides on getting published • Here I made a list of the best free resources for market listings (lists of agents & publishers) • Here’s my Twitter list of favorite follows for writers […]

Raena Storm

My mom wrote an amazing book when I was younger, I would like her to publish it.. it’s really good, but she doesn’t think it will go anywhere. What should I do to get her book published? Thank you Jane.

pinkybob

I write all kinds of work, from murder mysteries to childrens fantasy, anyone that reads my work loves it but i can never seem to find a publisher that doesnt need me to invest thousands into my work to be published. How can the poor creative writers still get published?

Embrystical

I know this probably sounds really silly, but do you know anyplace that will give you good advice about publishing in the UK, because it seems as if most of who seem like my dream agents (I write fantasy) are in America.

Obay

Thanks Jane for this informing article. I live in Damascus, Syria. I’ve been working on a fictional material and due to the raging civil war, I’ve been unlucky in submitting my work to publishing agencies. What do you recommend me to do ?

ron dailey

I write time travels, romance suspense/thrillers, ww2 romances, poetry, etc. I just want a publisher or a good agent to read just one of my chapters. Everybody tells me how great my novels are, and I have placed in 3 of the RWA contests in the past, but getting someone to read it that’s in a position to make things happen is too difficult. Ron

Heather
Thank you so much for all of this information. I have questions about finding the right agent. There are SO many to choose from. How do you know who to pick? Even in breaking it down by genre, there are 100’s. I would like to find a successful one, obviously. Do the sites share that kind of information? Or can you look up agents by whom they have gotten published? I have a similar writing style to a couple of authors and if I can find who their agents are then maybe that could give me some sort of idea?… Read more »
Derek

Hi,
Is there any chance you know of any agents or websites in Australia? I have an interest in producing a unique set of travel books in the mold of “Lonely Planet”.
Also, I am curious about what can be done to protect my intellectual property rights when pitching this idea to a publisher.

Kar-Leigh Kelso

This is so helpful, thank you! :]

Glenn Cayes

Thanks for all your excellent advice. I just completed my first novel and haven’t sent out any query letters yet. I have an offer to do a book signing at someone’s store here in NH. It is in a tourist area and summer would be a perfect time to do it. Your thoughts on me self-publishing the book and doing a book signing this summer versus waiting to see if I can get an agent?

Glenn Cayes

Thank you for your response.

Glenn Cayes

I just sent out a first wave of query emails, carefully following each agent’s submission guidlines. In doing research for the second wave, I’ve come across agents who specifically ask for a synopsis of the book. In the initial wave I did like a book jacket type tease and a writing sample. Should I send the first wave agents a reminder email with the synopsis or just let it be? And in the future should I include a synopsis even if the agent doesn’t ask for one?

sean

I have been working on a few fiction pieces for a while now. I have not published anything in the past. I have one project that I would really like to see put on the shelves, and initially taken down to be purchased. I have no idea where to start, except for Google, which lead me here. Thank you for writing this article. I have a lot to learn it seems, and a lot more to keep writing..

Tami Hansmann Kruzel

I lost my teenage daughter recently and I have had the opportunity to meet many parents going through many stages of the grieving process. I have been told to write a book or a blog. I truly want to put together stories and advice from those that have lost children. I want to provide something to grieving parents to let them know that they are not alone. Any advice on where to start with this?

Esmeralda
I’ve always loved to write long stories and I really want to write a book ( chapter book.) Though I have started one and in my thought the series is called “Dark Savannah” with the title “Back to the Wild”. Here is a short paragraph of what its about, ” After many Blue Moons of being held in a zoo for No-Pelts a prophecy is told to the healer from Stormpride that a cub will lead their pride to a forever home. But will they be safe, or will they find trouble?” Its of course about a pride of lions… Read more »
Kiara
Hello, I am a thirteen year old girl with a huge dream. I am currently writing a book and I have written already 70,000 words. It’s slightly romance, slightly fantasy and throughout the whole book there’s so many beautiful quotes that I hope will inspire people. If the book actually comes out, that is. For example: I was bleeding in the dark and you have shown me the light. The world is a cruel, dark place and I am here to make it brighter for those who fear the dark. I have done my first draft and now I am… Read more »
Kiara

Thank you so much. I am so desperate to write my bleeding heart out. Writing isn’t just my specialty… it’s my life. I will try my best. Again, thank you.

Aneta

Thank you Jane so much for your great articles. They are such a big help!

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[…] find agents who specialize in your subject area, check out publishing expert Jane Friedman’s site for links to databases for searching agents. Once you identify agents who are a good fit, visit […]

Erika Dreifus

Hi, Jane–Both as a writer and as someone who works for a publishing company (Fig Tree Books LLC, linked below), I appreciate this post. Another resource that you and your readers might want to check out is Entropy’s regularly updated “Where to Submit” list (http://entropymag.org/category/where-to-submit/). See also Entropy’s collection of interviews with Small Press Publishers on the same website.

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[…] If you’re headed traditional, Jane Friedman tells us how to find publishers and agents. […]

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