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Is it possible to contact USA publishers directly? If so, can I find publishers by genre, like I can find literary agents by genre?

Or do publishers have no interest in genre? If so, what's the best way to search for USA publishers online?

If I can find USA publishers online, do they have submission guidelines? If not, do I send them a query letter? If so, do I send the letter to a certain person or to the publishing company? Do I send them a proposal / sample chapter as well?

It may be better to contact a literary agent, but I want to maximize my chance to publish a book.

I've asked a question before about literary agents in the USA, see here How to find the right literary agent in the USA?.

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Yes, you can contact publishers directly. They DO care about genre, but most publishers publish in a wide range of genres. Your best bet to find what genres they cover is to purchase an up-to-date copy of "Writer's Market." Yes, they will typically list submission guidelines online. Query first, unless the submission guidelines say otherwise. Address it to a specific person if at all possible.

In my experience, agents are most interested in mainstream, highly marketable books --and while that describes most publishers as well, there are some smaller, niche or quirky publishers (and/or imprints) that may be interested in books that wouldn't be popular enough to snag an agent.

  • What do I do if a publisher asks for a $10 administration fee? – user38951 Apr 29 at 20:13
  • That's not a request that legitimate publishers make. – Chris Sunami Apr 29 at 20:16
  • Is it worth it to buy 'Writer's Market'? According to this article firstwriter.com/articles/… from 2013, it has ten pages for contact details. – user38951 Apr 29 at 20:22
  • Writer's Market is how I sold my book. I wouldn't recommend it for finding agents (AgentQuery is better), but if there's a better resource for contacting publishers, I don't know it. That article you linked is an advertorial... – Chris Sunami Apr 29 at 20:33
  • You contacted agents before you had a deal with a publisher? – user38951 Apr 29 at 20:35
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You may also be interested in looking at Publishers Global. They have listings of publishers and you can search or filter on what kinds of subjects they publish. Keep in mind that some publishers, especially larger ones, may have multiple imprints to keep different genres separate (e.g., one imprint for sci-fi and another for mystery). I used this to get a list of possible publishers in my area, but then have to go to their websites and look for info. With the big publishers, you are going to need an agent, but for mid-smaller it seems like many are willing to take submissions directly from the author. Read their submission guidelines, they will tell you if they want a query or a sample chapter or whatever.

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