7 Mystery Publishers That Don’t Require Agents

Yes, it’s great to have a literary agent. But if you don’t have one, or don’t want one, there are still a number of great publishers out there that are open to your work. Here are seven of them.

  1. Camel Press is the genre imprint of Epicenter Press, based in Kenmore, Washington. “We publish popular and genre fiction, mysteries, cozy mysteries, mystery thrillers, romantic suspense, romance (historical and contemporary), westerns and select historical fiction.  Our submission page provides information on submitting manuscripts to the press.”

2. Crooked Lane: Founded in 2014, Crooked Lane has published a number of award-winning mysteries, among them books by several of the Miss Demeanors. They are a competitive market, but they are open to unagented work. You can contact them here.

3. Hard Case Crime “brings you the best in hardboiled crime fiction, ranging from lost noir masterpieces to new novels by today’s most powerful writers, featuring stunning original cover art in the grand pulp style.” They’ve published authors from Stephen King to Donald E. Westlake and they’re open to new writers. Their mission is to “bring back the look and excitement of the pulp paperback era.” You can submit here

4. Blind Eye Books is “dedicated to publishing the best science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and romance featuring LGBTQ protagonists.” Submission guidelines here.

5. Lyrical Press, an imprint of Kensington Books, is “a digital first imprint that offers readers a prolific catalog of titles ranging from sweeping historical romances and edgy erotic titles to chilling thrillers and cozy mysteries.” Submit here:

6. Level Best Books “is committed to publishing quality crime fiction and bringing new voices and stories to a wide audience of readers. Our focus is to partner with our authors to create stories that entertain and inspire as many readers as possible.” To submit.

7. Joffe Books “is one of the UK’s leading independent publishers of excellent commercial fiction, especially crime and mystery fiction. We accept submissions from agents, previously published authors (including self-published authors) with long backlists, first-time writers with only one book under their belt, and anyone in between.” Submission info.

How about you? Have you had any luck with these presses? Comment and join the conversation!

Susan Breen is the author of the Maggie Dove mystery series. Her stories have been published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. The MWA anthology, Crime Hits Home, in which she has a story, just won an Anthony Award. She teaches novel-writing at Gotham Writers and is on the staff of the New York Write to Pitch Conference. www.susanjbreen.com


  1. This is unbelievably timely! I am just finishing up my last edit after having gotten feed-back from Beta readers and have been collecting a list of publishers AND agents. Not surprisingly Joffee and Camel Pub. are already on my list, but this opens the field way up. Thanks so much!

  2. Great list, Susan. You’ve provided a super service to our author readers looking to go the traditional publishing route.

  3. Ms Breen. Do any of these publishers distribute via book stores? Are they glorified printers who require authors’ subsidized relationships? For example I have a book series in progress that could be an excellent tv series. Hollywood scorns these little vanity pressers. Are any of these publishers legit from an entertainment industry perspective?

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