The novella (generally defined as between 20,000 to 40,000 words give or take) is a tricky beast. Most commercial publishers won’t touch them unless they’re by already famous authors. If you aren’t up for self-publishing but would still like to see your work in print, check out these small presses that embrace novellas and accept submissions direct from writers. Many of the publishers on our list also accept novels, book-length creative nonfiction, and story and poetry chapbooks and collections (see description below).
Pay attention to their guidelines – some want you to query first, others prefer you to send your complete manuscript at the outset. Wait times vary widely, but a year is pretty common. So before sending, it’s always a good idea to check out their catalogue to guage if your manuscript would be a good fit. While you’re there, support small presses – buy a book!
You may also want to check out our list of journals that publish long short stories – a number of them also accept novellas.
Note: We are a creative writing school and compile these lists for the benefit of our students. We’re happy to answer questions about our courses, but please don’t send us your publishing queries or submissions :). Instead, click on the green links to go to the publisher’s website and look for their submissions page. If you find their information has changed, we appreciate it if you drop a note in the comments. For more great places to submit as well as our best tips on getting published, check out our other lists and resources.
Black Lawrence Press is a US-based publisher of contemporary fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. They have two annual reading periods per year in June and November as well as a number of contests. You can submit work in the following categories: novella, novel, short story collection (full-length and chapbook), poetry (full-length and chapbook), biography & cultural studies, translation (from the German), creative nonfiction and hybrid works. They don’t charge a submissions fee per se but ask that writers taking advantage of their open submissions windows purchase a Black Lawrence Press publication at a discounted price ($12, including shipping for print editions) – a win-win in our opinion. Their current submissions window is open through 30 June 2022.
Mason Jar Press is a US-based, nationally- and internationally-focused publisher of handmade, limited-run chapbooks and full-length books. They are “dedicated to finding new and exciting work by writers that push the bounds of literary norms”. They generally accept fiction and nonfiction from 10K words to book-length, including story and essay collections, poetry collections and chapbooks. Currently, they are only accepting submissions for their 1729 Prize in Prose. Deadline: 15 July 2022. No submissions fee.
Galileo Press publishes novels, novellas, memoirs, as well as full-length collections and chapbooks of poems, essays, stories and hybrids. They also publish the journal Free State Review. They prefer novellas that build to one crescendo and lean towards the experimental. According to the editors, “A narrative thread is OK. Associative is more exciting to us than linear thinking, but a walking bass helps. Plot is a suggestion. We want texture.” Their current general submissions reading period ends 1 September 2022. They do not charge fees for manuscript submissions.
Split/Lip Press publishes “boundary-breaking” fiction, nonfiction, and hybrid books. They accept novels, novellas, memoirs and collections of short stories, flash fiction and creative nonfiction. Their next submission period for novellas and novels opens 1 July 2022 and runs through 1 September 2022. They usually charge a $15 reading fee for general submissions but if the fee is prohibitive, you can write to them for a waiver.
Red Hen Press publishes about twenty books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry per year. They are looking for novels, memoirs, creative nonfiction, hybrid works, and story, essay, and poetry collections “of exceptional literary merit that demonstrate a high level of mastery.” They are open to general submissions and also hold a number of annual contests that offer cash prizes as well as publication, including contests especially for Black and queer writers. Their annual fiction contest, for which the minimum word count is 25K, is open until 30 September 2022. Fees range from free to $25, depending on the contest. General submissions are $20.
Stalking Horse Press is committed to “radical voices in fiction, poetry, and non-fiction”. They are open to general fiction submissions for novellas of approximately 30-40k words and novels not longer than 85k words. Also short story collections, lyric essay works, memoirs within the 50-80k word range, and poetry collections of 30 – 45 poems. They do not publish fantasy, YA, or gore-dependent horror, slash/mash material. Their current general fiction and poetry submissions windows close 1 January 2023. They charge a $3 submission fee.
Fairlight Books is a UK-based publisher focussing on literary fiction. You can send them your novellas (between 25,000 and 50,000 words) and novels for consideration. They also publish short stories of up to 10K on their website. They don’t charge a fee and try to respond within 3 months.
Harvard Square Editions publishes novellas and novel-length literary fiction of “environmental and social value”. They’re looking for well-crafted prose with constructive social or political content, and have a low tolerance for profanity and graphic violence. They don’t charge a fee.
KERNPUNKT Press publishes novella and book-length literary fiction, creative nonfiction, hybrid, historical fiction, science fiction and poetry chapbooks. They enjoy “symbolism, non-traditional plots, unique characters, taboo, and experimentation”. The reading fee for novella and book-length manuscripts is $10 and they read year-round.
REaDLips Press specializes in the novella, which they define as 20K to 60K words. They will also consider creative nonfiction, memoir, and story and poetry collections. They don’t charge a fee.
Slant Books specializes in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, philosophy, and belles lettres. They look for “meticulous craft and passion for language”. You can send them your fiction (novels, novellas, short story collections), poetry collections, and creative nonfiction (memoirs, essay collections, and beyond). They charge a $3 submission fee.
Whiskey Tit proudly publishes “books that are too long or too short, books in which the authors insist upon no back cover blurbs, books whose best genre descriptions might be ‘comedy of terror,’ ‘memnoir,’ ‘randy seafaring misadventure,’ or ‘low-tech noir’….We prefer experimental, sui generis, impossible to categorize texts.” They primarily publish fiction and memoir but are open to poetry. They don’t charge a fee.