Submitting Your Manuscript to the Big 5 US Publishers

Here’s a list of the Big 5 US Publishing Houses, their submission requirements and links to submission details. I’ve also included at the end of the list two smaller US Publishers that I have submitted to in the past (received real feedback!) I thought they would serve as good examples of what’s out there if you decide to try the smaller publishers.

The Big 5 US publishers are represented in Australia, which means aussies need to submit to the Australian Houses if you live in the land down under. I have noticed while researching the Big 5 in the US that the options for submitting unsolicited manuscripts are incredibly limited. The Australian Big 5 on the other hand, appear to have a far friendlier approach to unsolicited manuscripts by inviting submissions on certain days of the week with events such as The Wednesday Post, Manuscript Mondays and The Friday Pitch… see here.

While it’s looking good being an Australian, no matter where you live, romance writing appears to be the way to go!


Hachette Book Group

Publisher Index

Imprint that accepts unsolicited manuscripts:

Forever Yours (romance)

Submit via email

Attach query letter, detailed 3-5 page synopsis (eek!), a completed MS in RTF format

Response time: 6-8 weeks

You should receive a response, even if rejected


HarperCollins Publishers

Submission details

Imprints that accept unsolicited manuscripts:

Avon Impulse (romance)

Submit online here

Input query letter, brief synopsis, best scene or first 1,000 words

Upload manuscript (unsure if must be completed MS)

Response time: 3 months

You should receive a response, even if negative

Witness Impulse (mystery, suspense, thriller)

Submit online here

Input query letter, brief synopsis, best scene or first 1,000 words

Upload manuscript (unsure if must be completed MS, there is an option to say incomplete)

Response time: guessing 3 months (same as Avon Impulse)

HarperLegend (visionary & transformational)

Submit online here

Input query letter, brief synopsis, best scene or first 1,000 words

Will accept completed manuscripts only

Response time: 3 months

No response if rejected


Macmillan Publishers

Publisher Index

Imprint that accepts unsolicited manuscripts:

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Submit via mail

Rules: Include a cover letter describing submission & first 50 pages of MS

If you wish to hear back include a self-addressed stamped envelope in submission

Response time: 3 – 5 months of receipt of submission


Penguin Random House

Submission Details

Imprints that accept unsolicited manuscripts:

DAW (science fiction & fantasy)

Submit via mail

Rules: Mail hard copy of entire MS with cover letter to DAW, (see link for more rules & details, there are a few!)

Response time: 3+ months

No response = rejection (my best guess)

Schwartz & Wade

Accepts picture books, middle grade, young adult, non-traditional non-fiction & graphic novels

Submit via mail


Simon & Schuster

Submission details

Does not accept unsolicited manuscripts

Provides a self- publishing service as a condolence prize for those who can’t get an agent: Archway Publishing

Links to agents provided: AUS or US



The Small Publishers


Publishing details and Submission details

Accepts unsolicited manuscripts

Accepts only certain genres (see publishing details)

Submit via email

In the body of email include a query letter and a few chapters of your MS. Do not send attachments

Response time: 2 weeks

No response = rejection



P.s Big thank you to Amanda at Mind the Dog Writing Blog for giving me the idea to write a US themed post for all my lovely US followers.


53 thoughts

  1. Thanks for the follow – one thing about WordPress I love is making contact with others of like mind from half way ’round the world – when you’re in Australia like I am, that’s most people. Follow the dream…


  2. You have made some good points there. I checked on the web for more information about
    the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this website.


  3. Thanks so much for your informative post. After being accepted for a position with, I will still pursue these. I appreciate so much your willingness to share. I hope I can be of help to people as well:)


  4. (Haha!) A condolence prize (hahaha!) — as if someone had died? (Haha!) How peculiar. (Hahaha!) I could understand a consolation prize (haha!) — as if you hadn’t won the big prize on The Price is Right, (hahahahaha!) but a condolence prize? (Hahahahahaha!) That’s hilarious! (Hahahahahahaha!) Oh, help! I. Can’t. Breathe! Hahahahahahahaha!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh this is just golden!!! You noticed!! I thought no one had hahaha consolation just didn’t quite seem to fit the severity of my disappointment in Simon & Schuster offering a self-publishing service straight after declaring they don’t take unsolicited manuscripts

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You did an admirable job of subtle placement — making it that much funnier! So what they’re saying is that they don’t want to invest any effort or money in something they haven’t asked to see, but they’re happy to offer you a way to pay them something if you do all the work. smh

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have mixed feelings about the self-publishing. In one way it seems to say your work is not good enough. In another it provides opportunities for some books that are truly creditable, but just don’t make it through the publishing world hoops. With computers and the Internet it seems more people are writing and publishing these days. There is so much to read, but if you try to stay up on the reading, how do you find the time to write? Your post will be helpful to those beginning the process?


  5. This is actually a common tactic in the US a lot of authors who have difficulty getting published here will try to publish overseas then if they are lucky the US imprints will pick up and sell the book here in the US thank you so much for the comprehensive list I’m actually very interested to hear about a picture book publisher who will take unsolicited manuscripts thank you very much!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you clicked through!! I was just looking at your poems, they’re wonderful, a few struck a cord with me. I usually don’t click the ‘poetry’ tag, as I can’t really write poetry that well, very impressed with those who can!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This was so helpful and informative! Thanks for the shout-out, too–you didn’t have to do that (but I’m glad you did!). Especially encouraging is that you got real feedback from the smaller publishers. Also, it’s very helpful that you included whether or not writers receive responses if their work is not accepted. Thank you again! Phenomenal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks again for the idea!! It was very interesting researching the US publishers. The smaller ones are amazing. My first ever feedback was from one of them, ramram publishing, they’re great!! The feeling of getting a ‘real’ reply was so exciting, I’m so thankful to them. And yes I think it’s important to know if you’re going to get a response (accepted or not) I’d just go insane otherwise if I didn’t know 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s