How to Find Publishers

how to find publishers and agents

The following post was first published in 2011 and is regularly updated to include new resources.

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 easily spend hours going down the rabbit hole of available information.

For years (since 1920), the most comprehensive resource in the United States was the annual Writer’s Market. It used to be accessible and searchable online via paid subscription, but no more. The most recent print edition came out in fall 2021 and it’s no longer released annually. Currently, the best online database for researching publishers is Duotrope.

Some of the resources I mention below offer useful features such as submission trackers, community message boards, and stats generated by users—which can be just as useful as the listings themselves.

Here’s a summary of the most well-known and popular places to find publishers and agents. If I’m missing an important resource, contact me.

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).

  • Jeff Herman’s guide. This is a well-established print-only competitor to Writer’s Market, assembled by a literary agent and updated every so often.
  • Duotrope ($). You’ll find thousands of listings in this online database, with an emphasis on literary journals, magazines, and online publications, many of which don’t pay. (E.g., they have more than 2,000 listings for markets that accept flash fiction, but fewer markets for full-length novels.) But they do include a sizable number of agents, publishers, contests, and anthologies.
  • QueryTracker. Free to start, with premium ($) levels—but more agent listings than publisher listings.
  • The Association of University Presses publishes an annual subject grid of university presses and the subjects they publish. This is an essential resource for finding an academic publisher. Thanks to John Warren for the tip.
  • Manuscript Wish List. Editors and agents often post on social media what kind of books they’re actively seeking. This site aggregates those mentions. (However, this site is not endorsed by the agent who started Manuscript Wish List; the official site is here.)
  • Submission Grindr. Free, focused on science fiction & fantasy.
  • Ralan. Free, focused on science fiction & fantasy.
  • Poets & Writers. Free database of small presses that are best for literary novelists, poets, short story writers, and so on. Use with caution; many of the listings are out of date.
  • 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

Many of the same resources that offer publisher listings also list agents. But there are a couple of resources that are unique and irreplaceable when conducting an agent search.

  • PublishersMarketplace. Pricey ($25/month), but if you search the deals database at this website, you can study what books agents have sold going back to 2001, by category and keyword.
  • AALA (Association of American Literary Agents). This is the official membership organization for literary agents. Not all agents are members of the AALA, but it’s not a bad place to check if you want some reassurance on the professionalism of your agent.
  • Duotrope ($). See above.
  • Manuscript Wish List. See above.
  • Jeff Herman’s guide. See above.
  • QueryTracker. See above.

Other helpful listings

For more information

Want someone to research agents and publishers for you?

Share on:
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments