Independent publishing is the keeper of literature’s soul. Indie presses take chances on new voices and innovative writing that large houses would never consider, pursuing great literature instead of profit. When looking for something to read, purchasing a book from one of the presses below means supporting the editors, staff, and volunteers that are putting it on the line to share great writing that would otherwise never be seen. To that end, this list of independent publishers with descriptions is (by all accounts) the largest on the internet, with 185 entries and counting.
I had a vague notion of the misconceptions that some in the general public had about independent publishers, but couldn’t really articulate it until I overheard it in a conversation: “Doesn’t indie presses just publish weird stuff?”
I am confident that the breadth and diversity of this (always growing) list of independent publishers proves that there are no adjectives that could group a majority of the entries below, other those that point out that these presses tend to be where the most exciting publishing happens. Groundbreaking books get discovered that would otherwise never see the light of day, and it’s where many of the best writers in the world get their start.
My own education in the value of independent publishing did not come cheap. To get a submission read by one of the large presses takes an agent. I spent over a year trying to attract representation for my novel The Beasts They Turned Away. Most of the agents who responded, however, had the same thing to say: They really liked the novel and thought it was singular and unique in what it accomplished. However, because of those same qualities they knew it would be more difficult to sell, and because of that they had to respectfully decline.
Eventually, the The Beasts They Turned Away was picked up by époque press, which was a stroke of fortune not just because the book would see print, but because of the great experience that followed. Instead of seeing it in terms of a profit margin, they genuinely believed in the book. They put their back into their editorial commitment and made it a better piece of literature, which is all any serious author could hope for.
In short, it was the type of experience probably had by most authors from the presses below, and one that any reader would be happy to support. With that said, here’s the internet’s largest list of independent book publishers (with descriptions included).
(If you are an indie publisher and not on the list—or know of one—simply send me an email.)
11:11 Press. Headed by Andrew and Megan Wilt, this press began in 2018 with the desire to “share the artist’s vision with the world.” Many of their titles include scholarly work or a pension for the avant garde.
1913 Press. Both the journal and press are dedicated to “publishing the baddest in poetry, poetics, prose, and their intersections with the arts of all forms,” producing their work in book-as-art-object fashion.
39 West Press. Authors including José Faus (The Life and Times of José Calderon) and Sheri Purpose Hall (Black Girl Shattered), 39 West Press looks to increase the critical discourse on some of the most pressing issues in the United States.
7.13 Books. Not afraid to take on first-time authors, 7.13 runs its press to create “beautiful works of literary fiction” and create an environment of respect for writers.
The 87 Press. Founded in 2018 by South London based poets Kashif Sharma-Patel, Azad Ashim Sharma, and architect Devin Maisuria, this press focuses on experimental writing in all its forms and wants to be a platform for discussion.
8th House Publishing. Operating out of Montreal and New York, 8th House Publishing looks for the following in their submissions: “modern, radical, enduring, insightful, [and] inventive.”
Action Books. Action Books publishes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, Women’s Studies, LGBT Studies, Japan Studies, Translation, as well as Latin, Korean, and Scandinavian Literature. They also publish a journal called Action Yes.
Against the Grain Poetry Press. Focusing on printing “high quality books and pamphlets with high production value and edgy appeal,” they typically publish four poets a year.
Akashic Books. In their own words, they are a “Brooklyn-based independent company dedicated to publishing urban literary fiction and political nonfiction by authors who are either ignored by the mainstream, or who have no interest in working within the ever-consolidating ranks of the major corporate publishers.”
Algonquin Books. Originally started in a woodshed, some of the notable titles from Algonquin Books include including Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, B. A. Shapiro’s The Art Forger, and Robert Goolrick’s A Reliable Wife—and nonfiction, including Amy Stewart’s The Drunken Botanist and Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods.
Allen and Unwin. Honored as “Publisher of the Year” in Australia 14 times, Allen and Unwin bills itself as the leading indie publishers down under.
Alternating Current Press. In addition to publishing all forms of writing, Alternating Current Press also offers a variety of services to writers, from editorial services to promotion for books that have already been published. Footnote is their annual literary journal with contemporary views on history.
Alternative Book Press. According to them: “Alternative Book Press is a publishing company established in October 2012 by Columbia University and Cornell University graduates with the following aims in view: To identify and publish genuine and pathbreaking works that stand out on the book shelf.” They publish fiction and nonfiction.
Anomalous Press. I don’t know what happened at Drunken Boat, but apparently all the editorial staff left that press and started Anomalous Press. Their books, as well as their journal Anomaly, especially focuses on experimental literature and arts.
Arlen House. Based in Galway, Ireland, Arlen House is a one-man publishing outfit that gave a start to Irish writers like Alan McMonagle and Nuala O’Connor.
Auston Macquley Publishers. This large London publisher offers one of the most diverse catalogues of fiction and nonfiction on this list of independent publishers. This includes everything from literary work to erotica, biography to cookery.
Autumn House Press. A non-profit press out of Pennsylvania, Autumn House focus on poetry and literature that is overlooked by commercial publishers. Originally focusing on only poetry, they have expanded to include fiction and nonfiction titles.
Black Patio Press. Founded by Cavin Bryce Gonzalez, he seeks any type of inventive prose–particularly if it is hard to categorize and looks at the gritty details of life.
Bellevue Literary Press. Placing themselves at the intersection of art and sciences, their authors include Normal Lock, Lisa Olstein, and Paul Harding (who won the Pulitzer Prize).
BHC Press. Focusing on only fiction, BHC Press is larger than most on this list of independent publishers. They’re looking for writing that is hard to put down, as well as genre-defying work.
Black Balloon Publishing. An imprint of the well-known Catapult, Black Balloon has this to say: “Black Balloon’s titles push the boundaries of what a book can be—from graphic novels to experimental writing to limited edition art books to digital projects and beyond. We champion the unconventional and believe in the meaningful above all.”
Black Lawrence Press. Their open reading period tends to be in June, but they offer a variety of contests that is also a way to get noticed by them. You can submit to them through Submittable.
Black Opal Books. Committed to returning more profits to the authors, they “handle all genres of romance, as well as women’s fiction, chick lit, historicals, mysteries, thrillers, YA, and limited non-fiction.”
Black Rose Writing. Including award-winning author Joe Barrett and bestselling authors Joe Siple and John Hunt, this publisher handles most types of writing except poetry.
Blackwater Press. Offering an editorial consultancy and story contest, this press has published two authors so far.
Black and White Publishing. In addition to being a large indie publisher based in Scotland, Black and White Publishing has also released a book from Milk House Contributor Lorna Sixsmith. This large press offers a wide variety of titles under their three imprints.
Blair. In addition to signing up for a yearly subscription to their books, Blair is a nonprofit press that focuses on voices traditionally overlooked, as well as those from southern US.
The Blasted Tree. The Blasted Tree is based in Canada and is especially interested in innovative work, including multimedia art. Much of what they publish is available online.
Bloof Books. In their own words: “Bloof Books is collective poetry press based in Central New Jersey, publishing perfect-bound paperbacks, limited-edition handmade chapbooks, broadsides, fine art prints, and ephemera. We were founded in 2007, and have just celebrated out tenth year. We hope to be doing this at least ten more.”
Bluemoose Books. Considered one of the heavy hitters on this list of independent publishers, Ronan Hession’s Leonard and Hungry Paul has recently helped cement Bluemoose’s reputation for award-winning writing.
BOA Editions. A nonprofit publisher, they were founded in 1976 by the late poet, editor, and translator A. Poulin, Jr. Since then, BOA has published more than 300 books of American poetry, poetry-in-translation, and short fiction.
Bone & Ink Press. They are a “very, very indie press, with small print runs, no ISBNs (as of yet), and no distribution through Amazon. We fund all our print runs through preorders and sales of digital copies, plus the occasional donation.”
Broadstone Books. Founded by Larry Moore and Stephanie Potter in Kentucky, Broadstone books specializes in poetry.
Bull City Press. Staffed by volunteers, Bull City Press publishes fiction and nonfiction chapbooks. They also run the Frost Place Chapbook Competition.
C&R Press. In the business since 2006, C&R Press is pushing into new media, while keeping the best of what always made books great. They look to produce thought-provoking works of fiction, nonfiction and poetry.
Catapult. In addition to offering online creative writing classes, Catapult has an extensive catalogue of fiction and nonfiction. Their authors have won or been finalist for many of the major literary awards, including the Booker and Costa Award.
Chicago Review Press. In addition to various imprints that offer academic or children’s material, this publisher’s main interest is in high-quality nonfiction. With more than 1,000 titles in print, Chicago Press is one of the largest on this list of independent publishers.
City of Light Publishing. Situated in Buffalo, NY, City of Light Publishing originally focused on local heritage. Now, however, its imprint Blacklight Press releases high quality fiction, nonfiction, children’s books, as well as regional material.
City Limits Publishing. In addition to fiction and nonfiction, this Tennessee publisher offers books on theatre and photography. Still young, City Limits presently has featured four authors.
Clash Books. Publishing books that are “too good to ignore” and that big publishers are too “risk adverse to take on,” this house out of Troy, New York seeks to defy genre and boundaries. Unlike many publishers, they also feature Sci-Fi and horror books in addition to literary works.
Coffee House Press. Coffee House Press is one of the more well known players on this independent publisher list.
Comma Press. A not-for-profit organization, in 2017 they won Northern Soul’s ‘Northern Publisher of the Year’ award, and in 2019 and 2020 they were shortlisted by The British Book Awards for ‘Small Press of the Year’ (North of England). They mostly publish short stories and novels, with an emphasis on translation.
Copper Canyon Press. A nonprofit publishers that helps disseminate high quality poetry.
Dalkey Archive Press. With offices in the US, UK and Ireland, Dalkey is one of biggest indie presses on this list. As such, they offer an extensive catalogue.
Damaged Goods Press. Damaged Goods Press publishes poetry and prose by queer & trans writers. Currently, they have 29 titles.
Dead Ink Books. As their website says, “You don’t simply buy a Dead Ink book, you invest in the authors and the books you love.” Based in Liverpool, this publisher concentrates on experimental literature.
Dedalus Press. Recognized as “one of the most outward-looking poetry presses in Ireland and the UK” by UNESCO.org, Dedalus Press has become a brand name in Irish poetry. Founded in 1985 by poet John F Deane, they publish 8-10 titles per year.
Digging Press. Digging Press publishes the literary and arts journal, Digging Through The Fat, and a chapbook series., as well as a podcast and host a reading series. They’re interested in experimentation and cultural inclusion.
Dodo Ink. According to them: “Dodo Ink will publish original fiction and non-fiction, with a focus on risk-taking, imaginative novels and innovative, thought-provoking non-fiction…Our publications include Seraphina Madsen’s psychedelic road trip Dodge and Burn, Monique Roffey’s literary erotic novella The Tryst, Sean Rabin’s award-nominated Wood Green, and Neil Griffith’s magnificient As A God Might Be.”
Doire Press. Based in the West of Ireland, Doire Press began publishing Irish writers in 2007. Run by Lisa Frank and John Walsh, they publish books of poetry and literary fiction.
Dorothy, a publishing project. This is a feminist press that simultaneously brings out two new books each fall. They seek to explore all the possibilities of literature through fiction written by women.
Dostoyevsky Wannabe. In addition to books that feature writing found within a single city, the press publishes experimental work from authors like Andrew Hodgson and Colin Herd, and have had one book shortlisted for a national award.
Dzanc Books. Dzanc Books is one of the more recognized on this list of independent publishers. In addition to publishing award-winning fiction, they look to promote literary readership, offering workshops and readings across the United States.
Enchanted Lion Press. An independent children’s book publisher out of Brooklynn, these guys look to inspire awareness, curiosity and wonder in kids across the globe.
époque press. Based in the UK, époque press publishes high quality literary fiction, including both novels and short story collections. They look to disseminate work with distinctive voices and strong story-telling, as well as prose that often challenges form. They also publish an é-zine that combines writing and art to “to encourage and inspire new perspectives on specific themes.”
Equinox. Based in the UK, Equinox publishes books on a variety of topics in the subjects of humanities and social sciences.
equus press. No one can put equus’ mission statement as well as they did, stating they were established with: “the objective of publishing new writing that is innovative & conscious of being doubly marginalised: outside the literary establishment defined by the Anglo-American publishing industry, & outside the confines of nationalism, pursuing a broadly cosmopolitan “agenda.”
Europa Editions. Publishing 35 titles a year, this house is one of the largest to be found on this big list of independent publishers. Currently one of their best seller authors include Italian writer Elena Ferrante.
Featherproof Books. Founded by Zach Dodson, “Featherproof Books publishes strange and beautiful fiction and nonfiction and post-, trans-, and inter-genre tragicomedy.” You’ll have to check out their titles to see what they mean by that.
The Feminist Press. Housed at the City University of New York, The Feminist Press publishes twelve to fifteen books a year and specializes in an array of genres including cutting-edge fiction, activist nonfiction, literature in translation, hybrid memoirs, children’s books, and more. They seek to publish work that invokes social change.
Fence Books. Being a nonprofit, Fence can make decisions of what to publish outside of the forces of the market. They also have a literary journal by the same name.
Feral House. “Feral House has been publishing innovative and celebrated non-fiction books since 1989. Movies have been made, cultural trends influenced and political crimes exposed by our small, independent press.” They tend to steer away from the highbrow.
Fiction Attic. These guys publish short stories, flash fiction, creative nonfiction, and novellas, both in print and on their website.
Fiction Collective Two. Run by authors themselves, this non-profit collective has grown from a group of six to over one hundred since it was established in 1974. They publish artistically-adventurous fiction, as well as hold several writing contests.
Fledgling Press. One of Scotland’s main independent presses, their books include historical fiction, life stories, crime fiction, literary fiction and young adult fiction, including award-winning authors Helen Grant, Philip Caveney and Alex Nye.
Forrest Avenue Press. Coming out of Portland, this press publishes “literary fiction on a joyride and the occasional memoir.” They are proud of a pro-author approach and seek to celebrate the success of all writers and presses.
Four Way Books. In addition to publishing poetry and short fiction, Four Way Books also conduct their “Pay a Book Forward” program, which gives free books to students who attend their readings.
Future Tense Books. This micropress has been in business since the 90s. Here are some of their most noted authors: Gary Lutz, Chelsea Hodson, Jamie Iredell, Zoe Trope, Susannah Breslin, Aaron Gilbreath, Wendy C. Ortiz, Myriam Gurba, Jay Ponteri, Sarah Grace McCandless, Shane Allison, Mike Topp, Elizabeth Ellen, May-Lan Tan, and Chelsea Martin.
Galley Beggar Press. Most recently noted for the success of Eimer McBride’s A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing (2013), this UK press has established itself as one of the most respected indie publishers. They also hold a yearly short story contest.
George Braziller. The oldest on this list of independent literary presses, George and Marsha Braziller began publishing in 1955, with the likes of Nathalie Sarraute, Claude Simon, Jean-Paul Sartre, Charles Simic, Frank Bidart, Janet Frame, Buchi Emecheta, and the pioneering art historian, Meyer Shapiro. Although they have passed, this epic press lives on.
gnOme. A novelty in the publishing game, this press publishes work anonymously. Authors are paid, but not identified to the reader. The press describes itself as “acephalic,” which apparently means without a distinct head or leader.
Gold Wake Press. Publishing 4-6 titles per year, Gold Wake looks to promote authors who take particular notice to form. They print fiction, poetry, and nonfiction.
Gray Wolf Press. Graywolf is one of the most recognized on this list of small and independent presses. Founded in 1974, they have a large and impressive back catalogue of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.
Greying Ghost. This publisher offers over 150 chapbooks, pamphlets and “ephemera” on the following: short travelogues, radical/experimental poetry, manifestos, translations, unique nonfiction, cultural critiques, essays, essays on art and design, and essays on architecture.
Grub Street. Grub Street is a niche independent publisher that focuses only on…wait for it…cooking books and military aviation history. Why not?
Hadley Rille Books. Hadley Rille publishes Fantasy, Science Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Archaeological Fiction, often with female protagonists. It all started in 2004, when Eric T. Reynolds recruited 17 award-winning science fiction authors to contribute to a new anthology.
Happen Stance Press. “It’s an independent poetry press originated and run by Helena Nelson and based in Fife, Scotland. It specialises in poetry pamphlets, though books have now crept into the picture.”
Hawthorne Books. This Portland press concentrates on “literary fiction and nonfiction with innovative and varied approaches to the relationships between essay, memoir, and narrative.” Presently, they have published more than 40 authors and counting.
Headpress. Their story: “Headpress was founded in Manchester, England, in 1991, ostensibly to release a film by cult German director Jörg Buttgereit on VHS. With revenue from the sales of that film (Der Todesking, limited to 500 copies), the publication of a magazine soon followed.” They began publishing books in 1992.
Homebound Publications. Started in 2011 and based in Connecticut, this house now contains several imprints that produce literary fiction, nonfiction and poetry. They currently have over 100 titles in their library.
House of Anansi. Founded in 1967, this press showcases Canadian authors and work related to the country. They also have this to say: “We respectfully acknowledge that the land on which we operate is the traditional territory of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples.”
Ig Publishing. Ig publishes original literary fiction and progressive political nonfiction. They’ve built up a slew of awards, and had their books reviewed in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, Oprah Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, NPR, among many other places.
Inside the Castle. “Books are not places apart from this world. They are impossible places within it.” Inside the Castle seeks to publish books that are “incantatory,” pushing the boundaries of the world as we know it.
Inspired Quill. With diversity as a virtue, this press releases speculative fiction titles (horror, sci-fi, etc), as well as LGBT-centered titles. They are participate in community involvement in a variety of ways.
Jacar Press. In addition to publishing poetry chapbooks, Jacar Press sponsors the Eaven Boland Mentor Award, which will pair an up-and-coming female Irish poet with an established female poet in America.
JCS Press. Based in Brooklynn, JCS is “here to present fully-formed new writing. Art operating on the highest level is one of the best remedies for human despair, and since the other remedy is a highly rare love potion / telekinesis enabler, and we can’t find any of that, we’re devoted to publishing life affirming work.”
Kaya Press. Kaya is a collective that concentrates on Asian and Pacific Island diasporas. Their authors have been the recipients of numerous awards, including the Gregory Kolovakas Prize for Outstanding New Literary Press, the American Book Award, the Association for Asian American Studies Book Award, the PEN Beyond Margins Open Book Prize, the Asian American Writers’ Workshop Award, and the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Prize.
Kensington Publishing Corp. A multi-generational family business, these guys are not only by far one of the largest on this list of independent book publishers, but with over 500 titles each year among its different imprints, starts to get numbers closer to one of the “big five” houses. Many of the books they publish include genre fiction and nonfiction.
Kernpunkt. Kernpunkt publishes literary fiction, valuing art over entertainment. To date, they have 17 and counting titles of experimental fiction.
Lilliput Press. One of the most well known Irish independent publishers, their long history includes James Joyce, John Moriarty, J.P. Donleavy and many others. In particular, they specialize in biography, historical non-fiction and memoir, but have also uncovered Irish writers such as Donal Ryan, Rob Doyle and Elske Rahill.
Line Rider Press. The press of working class poetry. Class conscious and counter-cultural, this house looks to put the reader at the center of the human experience. Their website also offers a new poem every week, which in itself is worth checking out.
Mad Creek Books. An imprint of Ohio State University Press specialized in writing that pushes the boundaries, book series on the imprint include Machete, 21st Century Essays (which includes the annual Gournay Prize), Latinographix, and The Journal Non/Fiction and Poetry annual prize series.
Mason Jar Press. In their words: “Mason Jar Press has been publishing handmade, limited-run chapbooks and full-length books since 2014. The Press is dedicated to finding new and exciting work by writers that push the bounds of literary norms. While the work Mason Jar seeks to publish is meant to challenge status quos, both literary and culturally, it must also have significant merit in both those realms.”
McSweeney’s. If there’s one press from this list of independent publishers that don’t need an introduction, it’s these guys. Hence, I won’t give one, other than to say that they print books in addition to their magazine.
Melville House. “Melville House is also well-known for its fiction, with two Nobel Prize winners on its list: Imre Kertesz and Heinrich Boll. In particular, the company has developed a world-wide reputation for its rediscovery of forgotten international writers — its translation of a forgotten work by Hans Fallada, Every Man Dies Alone, launched a world-wide phenomenon.”
Mercier Press. Ireland’s oldest independent publishing house and based in Cork, Mercier Press began during the Second World War. Since then, they have published many Irish interest titles, including the memoir Falling for a Farmer by Maura McElhone, a Milk House Contributor.
Microcosm Publishing. This zany press is simply fun, bringing their counterculture spirit to the publishing world.
Milkweed Edition. With a commitment for taking risks on debut and experimental writers, they’ve published over 350 books of literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry and now have over four million copies in circulation. In 2020 they celebrated 30 years in the business.
Moon City Press. As a joint venture of the Missouri State University Departments of English and Art and Design, Moon City Press concentrates on writing about the Ozarks and surrounding areas, publishing stories, scholarship and histories.
Neon Books. With a preference for the magical realist and the extremely odd, Neon and books also publishes the journal Neon Literary Magazine (a surreal and haunting collection of weird fiction and poetry which shows its face two or three times a year) and Battery Pack (an annual anthology of the best micro-fiction they can find).
New Michigan Press. These guys mostly focus on chapbooks, but also offer swag–which is apparently the cool name for merchandise.
The New Press. The New Press offers a broad range of nonfiction titles of public interest, with a particular interest in social justice.
New Rivers Press. Coming out of Minnesota State University Moorhead, this press publishes fiction, nonfiction and poetry of any topic.
New Village Press. “New Village publishes transdisciplinary books that animate emerging movements in societal transformation. In conjunction, the Press also sponsors lectures, forums, and exhibitions for the public, especially for those communities that are underserved.”
Nightboat Books. Since being founded in 2004 by Kazim Ali and Jennifer Chapis, this nonprofit organization has published over 130 titles of work that is nonconventional and doesn’t fit neatly into categories.
Nightscape Press. Focused on horror writing, Nightscape publishes both anthologies of short stories as well as novels that have won the Bram Stoker Award.
Nine Arches Press. Nine Arches Press has been publishing contemporary poetry since 2008. In addition to putting out Under the Radar magazine, they also run regular creative writing workshops, and offer workshops and masterclasses at a variety of festivals.
Noemi Press. You can purchase a subscription with Noemi Press, which will provide you with an entire year of “the most innovative and diverse books being published in the U.S.” In addition to fiction and poetry, they also feature several imprints including Akrilica, a series of vanguard Latinx writing, and Infidel Poetics, short works of contemporary poetics, which you can now buy via series bundles.
The O’Brien Press. One of Ireland’s busiest presses, O’Brien produces many popular children’s and sports books.
Ooligan Press. Run by students pursuing master’s degrees in the Department of English at Portland State University (PSU), this press highlights work based on the Pacific Northwest in the US.
Open Letter. Releasing ten titles in translation each year and running an online literary website called Three Percent, Open Letter is the University of Rochester‘s nonprofit, literary translation press. They are only one of a handful of houses dedicated to increasing access to World Literature in the English language.
The Operating System. Perhaps the most intriguing entry on this list of independent publishers, this organization is devoted to providing creative material free and in an open-source format, as well as explore the nature of creating and producing art. It’s well worth taking a moment to check out their project.
Orenda Books. Boasting such titles as the English translations of popular Nordic crime writers Gunnar Staalsen and Ragnar Jónasson, this London-based publisher has brought out many recognizable titles.
Overcup Press. This independent house publishes non-fiction titles on these subjects: literary nonfiction, art, travel, design, architecture, music, and epicurean titles.
Paloma Press. In addition to publishing fiction and poetry, Paloma Press is involved in various community-based fundraisers. They have released fundraising chapbooks such as MARAWI, in support of relief efforts in the Southern Philippines; and AFTER IRMA AFTER HARVEY, in support of hurricane-displaced animals in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.
Pamenar Press. Here’s their byline: Pamenar Press is an independent cross-cultural, multilingual, experimental publisher, based in the UK, Canada and Iran.
Panther Publishing. Based in Wales, Panther Publishing publishes the genres of mystery, crime, paranormal, thriller and horror, mostly from Welsh authors. Their goal is to help promote Welsh writing and shine a light on work that might otherwise be forgotten.
Parthian. Parthian is a well-respected Welsh publishing house that often produces some of the bigger names in indie publishing.
Peepal Tree Press. If you have been keeping up with the best in Caribbean and Black British writing, you’re probably already family with these guys.
Peirene Press. About Peirine: “Peirene Press is an award-winning boutique publishing house, specialising in high-quality first-translations of contemporary European novellas. We only publish books of less than 200 pages that can be read in the same time it takes to watch a film.”
Penned in the Margins. One of the most familiar presses on this list of indie book publishers, they have produced books for over 15 years that get talked about in literary circles.
The Permanent Press. Started in 1978, these guys are most known for releasing thrillers, although recently their catalogue has included more LGBT+-interest work.
Plump Press. This small press publishes entertaining fiction, one of its titles being The Sushi Prophecies by August Hill.
Press 53. Boasting over 240 titles and 80 awards, this publisher keeps busy. (You can also purchase shirts and mugs, if you’re so inclined.)
Publishing Genius. Poetry and literary fiction being its jam, this house has produced dozens of books in each category so far. The Baltimore City Paper named it Best Publishing House in 2009 and 2013.
Quirke Books. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Boom.
Rabbit Catastrophe Press. In addition to having one of the coolest names on this independent publishers list, Rabbit Catastrophe publishes chapbooks of poetry, as well as an annual journal.
Rare Bird Books. Coming out of LA, Rare Bird publishes over 50 titles a year, including digital formats and audio books.
Red Hen Press. With more than 25 years of publishing experience, Red Hen also supports local communities with programs like Writing in the Schools (WITS), which has served over 4,000 underserved students by placing published authors into fourth through twelfth-grade classrooms. WITS provides free creative writing workshops and books to low-income students and at the end of the school year students receive a professionally bound anthology of their work.
Red Mountain Press. These guys publish poetry, memoirs and literary fiction, and also hold an annual poetry competition. Their website also offers a “poem of the week.”
Renard Press. One of the newest presses on this list of independent publishers, Renard Press values both strong writing in their books, and meets it with high value production. They began operations in June 2020, but their catalogue is already extensive.
Rhythm & Bones Press. Focusing on the darker side of literature, this is their byline: “We aim to help turn Trauma into Art.” They look to provide an outlet for people who have experienced life-changing traumatic events who seek to express this in the written form.
Rose Metal Press. Rose Metal Press specializes in hybrid genres that include innovation in their writing. This not-for-profit was founded by Kathleen Rooney and Abigail Beckel.
Running Wild Press. This press, in addition to offering a variety of titles, also participates in Bookshop, which allows readers to buy books online, but have the proceeds go to their local bookstore. The program has already raised more than $10 million for local bookstores.
Santa Fe Writer’s Project. In addition to publishing all types of fiction and nonfiction, the organization also runs the SFWP Book Awards.
Sarabande Books. Sarabande publishes ten to twelve books each year, including selections for the Mary McCarthy prize in fiction, the Kathryn A. Morton prize in poetry, and the Linda Bruckheimer Series in Kentucky Literature. Sarabande authors have won or been short-listed for, among many others, the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award.
Schism. Schism Press publishes works of philosophy/theory, while their imprint Schism2 produces antithetical literary works.
Selcouth Station. According to their site, Selcouth means “strange, unusual, rare; unfamiliar; marvelous, wondrous.” That pretty much sums up the ethos of the small indie, who looks to create a positive experience for its authors. They publish chapbooks and eBooks.
September Publishing. September Publishing looks to produce books where you can “lose yourself and find yourself again.” Once only publishing nonfiction, they have expanded into fiction and children’s literature. They were also a regional finalist for Small Press of the Year for the British Book Awards in 2019.
SFK Press. Coming from the Deep South, they have this to say: “Authors have dumped the askew pastorals on their asses. We recognize that cultivating new voices requires broadening the definition of Southern writing.”
Small Beer Press. “We publish literary fiction, innovative fantastic fiction, and classic authors whom you just may have missed the first time around. In our catalog, you’ll find first novels, collections both satisfying and surreal, critically acclaimed, award-winning writers, and exciting talents whose names you may never have heard, but whose work you’ll never be able to forget. ”
Soho Press. Publishing 80-90 books a year (including with its two imprints: Soho Teen and Soho Crime), this Manhattan indie stays busy.
Solid Objects. Editors Lisa Lubasch and Max Winter publish fiction, poetry, drama, and nonfiction. The press was founded in 2010 and is based in New York City.
Split Lip Press. This independent press prizes experimental work that questions what we thought we know. Their most recent book is An Inventory of Abandoned Things by Kelly Ann Jacobson.
Stalking Horse Press. The press is committed to radical voices in fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. They ask each of our authors to select a humanitarian or charitable organization to receive a percentage of proceeds from the sale of each book that they publish.
Stark Raven Press. Starting off with the journal Macabre Cadaver, this house publishes fantasy and the speculative genres of horror, sci-fi and dark fantasy.
Stillhouse Press. Producing fiction, nonfiction and poetry, Stillhouse seeks to forge lasting relationships and foster the growth of the greater literary community. They are based in Northern Virginia.
Swan River Press. This new Irish press publishes elegant-looking books, and is rumored to have the rights to a Joyce Carol Oates novel for 2021.
Tachyon Publications. The darling of many hardcore sci-fi fans, Tachyon has been publishing thought-provoking speculative fiction since the mid 1990s. It hails from San Fran.
Tavern Books. Tavern Books are “dedicated to publishing poetry in translation from around the world, republishing poetry collections that have fallen out of print, and championing the work of young female poets.”
thi wurd. These guys have published magazines and anthologies of new writing since 2012, and since 2019 has been publishing new work by James Kelman.
Three Rooms Press. Originating in 1994 (apparently the golden year of independent publisher, given how often it pops up on this list of independent publishers), Three Rooms distributes diverse, cut-the-edge books, including fiction, memoir, biography, young adult, LGBTQ fiction and nonfiction, and fiction and nonfiction by underrepresented voices in the literary world.
Tin House. In addition to being a well known in the indie publishing world, Tin House also produces an influential podcast called Between the Covers, broadcast online and on a Portland radio station.
Tiny Fox Press. Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Young Adult. They also have a book in the Steam Punk category, which is already getting my to type in “steam punk” into Google.
Tirgearr Publishing. Tirgearr publishes commercial adult fiction, including many digital books. Under their “City Nights and City Knights” series they produce erotic fiction as well.
Tortoise Books. With 26 authors since 2012 and growing, this Chicago-based press is looking to steadily offer cutting edge fiction to its readers.
Tough Poets Press. “Tough Poets Press is a one-person independent publisher of new and rediscovered offbeat and experimental literary fiction, poetry, and non-fiction.” It was founded in 2014 specifically to publish The Whole Shot: Collected Interviews with Gregory Corso, but now includes various titles.
Tramp Press. Tramp Press quickly grew to become one of the premiere Irish presses, particularly after the success of Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones, which won the Goldsmith and Dublin Impact Award. Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ní Ghríofa is one of their talked about 2020 titles.
Transit Books. As they describe themselves: “Transit Books publishes a carefully curated list (6-8 titles per year) of award-winning literary fiction, narrative nonfiction, essay, and prose that falls somewhere in between. Transit authors have received or been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Booker International Prize, the National Translation Award, the Windham-Campbell Prize, and more.”
Tree Light Books. This publisher is especially attracted to books that have energy, ambition, playfulness, and a unique sense of language about them, and that is what they aim to produce. In short, they publish books that take risks.
Trio House Press. Trio House Press is an independent literary press publishing three or more collections of poems annually. They host two annual poetry awards: the Trio Award for First of Second Book for emerging poets, and the Louise Bogan Award for Artistic Merit and Excellence for a book of poems contributing in an innovative and distinct way to American poetry.
Tupelo Press. Among independent literary presses, Tupelo Press particularly prides itself on its production standards. As a non-profit press, Tupelo runs the 30/30 project as a funraiser. Each month, volunteer poets host the equivalent of a “poetry marathon,” writing 30 poems in 30 days, while others “sponsor” and encourage them.
Turtle Point Press. One of the oldest presses on this list of independent publishers, leadings authors published by Turtle Point include: Richard Howard, David Trinidad, Benjamin Taylor, Devin Johnston, Edward J. Delaney and Brian O’Doherty.
Two Dollar Radio. Started by a young couple in 2005, they have expanded to include a film division and coffee shop. Their books have been honored by the National Book Foundation, finalists for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, picked as “Editors’ Choice” selections by The New York Times Book Review, and made year-end best-of lists at O, The Oprah Magazine, National Public Radio, Slate, Salon, The Believer, and others.
Ugly Ducking Presse. UDP favors emerging, international, and “forgotten” writers, and its books, chapbooks, artist’s books, broadsides, and periodicals often contain handmade elements, calling attention to the labor and history of bookmaking. Starting off as a simple zine, they now have over 300 titles.
Underground Voices. Like many successful independent literary houses, they started small with an online journal, made an annual print edition, and finally expanded into small press publishing. They release 1-5 titles a year.
University of Hell Press. Perhaps the top motto on this list of independent book publishers: “Denting the world with words, one incendiary book at a time.” University of Hell Press promotes artists who are creating irreverent and thought-provoking works, and are way too hip to care about genres.
Unnamed Press. Unnamed Press want to “challenge conventional perspectives while appealing to a broad general audience.” They have published Phillip K. Dick in the past, so there’s that too.
Unsolicited Press. “Solicited manuscripts only” are three of the most grating words to a beginning writer. These guys, however, want writers of all levels to submit their work to them. They want to reject the bureaucracy of mainstream conglomerates.
Vagabond Voices. Based in Glasgow, this publisher “seeks to serve the small but significant camp of readers that are being let down in these times dominated by the economies of scale.” They describe themselves as both Scottish and fervently European in their motivations.
Valley Press. Publishing poetry, fiction and nonfiction (including memoirs and travel writing), they currently have over 44 titles on their lost.
Verso Books. They claimed to be “the largest independent, radical publishing house in the English-speaking world, publishing one hundred books a year.” Enough said.
Vine Leaves Press. This press is for readers whose tastes are a little different than the norm. If you subscribe to their newsletter you get a free review copy of their upcoming releases.
Wakefield Press. Their offerings include the Wakefield Handbooks series (the guidebook as imagined through literature), the Imagining Architecture series (architecture as imagined through literature), and the Imagining Science series (science as imagined through literature), as well as forays into classic experimental fiction (literature as imagined through literature). Authors range from literary giants to those underrepresented (or unknown) in English.
Wave Books. From publisher Charlie Wright, Wave publishes contemporary poetry. Authors thus far include John Beer, Laynie Browne, and Robert Bononno.
Whisk(e)y Tit. Up for nomination as one of the best names on this list of independent publishers, these guys publish books that don’t make any sacrifices to expectations and consider publishing such books as an act of civil disobedience.
Whitepoint Press. Lisa De Niscia started this indie publisher by publishing her own books, and then expanded out to include the work of others.
Write Bloody Publishing. A poetry publishing house out of Portland, Write Bloody Publishing believes that authors should be able to make a living from their work, and in turn works hard to promote their writing.
WTAW Press. “As a publisher, our main mission is, quite simply, to publish the best, most vital books we can find, books that might otherwise be overlooked in mainstream corporate publishing.” They publish literary prose.
YesYes Books. Rounding off this list of independent publishers, YesYes Books has been publishing provocative collections of poetry, fiction, and experimental art since 2011. Their books have gone on to win numerous awards, including Norma Farber First Book Award, CLMP Firecracker Award, Julie Suk Award, Publisher’s Weekly Best Debuts of the Year, Boston Globe Best Poetry Books of the Year.
Z Publishing. Z publishing produces anthologies centered on single topics, both from contemporary writers and from classic works. They also offer every novel published before 1923 on their website for free. Their goal is to “foster a community of readers and writers, bringing all sides of the industry closer together.”
Ryan Dennis is the author of the novel The Beasts They Turned Away, available now for pre-order here.