Out of my way gate-keeper, I want to get in!

gate 2

Hello Everyone

If you are an aspiring author, like most of us Write Romantics (except the lovely Helen P, who is already on her way), you will no doubt have heard that getting an agent is actually more difficult than getting a publisher in the current climate – perhaps you’ve even experienced it first hand?

So what’s a girl (or boy) to do when they know that they have written a fantastic book and can’t get past the gatekeepers, aka the agents?  After all, most of the publishers out there won’t accept unsolicited manuscripts, right?  The truth is, there are actually an awful lot of publishers who will look at your brilliant manuscript.

Inspired by the fantastically exciting news about the launch of Novelicious Books yesterday, I have started to compile a list of publishers who accept such submissions, in a range of romance sub-genres.  I thought I would share this with you and perhaps we can continue to grow the list – all suggestions welcome!  Just click on any of the links below to take you to the submissions page.  It is, of course, up to you to do the related research on how suitable any publisher on the list below is, in terms of their ability to meet your aspirations, and to double-check that they meet the RNA criteria, if that’s applicable to you.

Publishers taking un-agented submissions (digital and traditional)




Carina Press


Constable and Robinson

Crooked Cat (submissions temporarily closed)

Desert Breeze Publishing

Escape with a Book

Legend Press

Harlequin Mills and Boon

Muse It up

Myrmidon Books (submissions temporarily closed)

Novelicious Books

Pegasus Publishers

Safkhet Publishing


Sandstone Press

Sapphire Star

Source Books

Sparkling Books


Thornberry Press

There are also lots of other digital publishers and loads more non-UK publishers who take un-agented submissions and I will update the list with these (as I work my way through them!) and add suggestions that anyone else out there wants to put forward.

Another way to squeeze past the gatekeepers, or perhaps even get one to let you in, is to enter competitions.   There are lots out there, but one specifically for novel writers (and girls only this time I’m afraid fellas) can be found with Mslexia, at the link below:

Mslexia Women’s Novel Competition 2013

Again, if anyone else wants to add information about competitions, we can build up a bank of these too.

I have only tried five agents and two publishers, which I am told is a pitiful attempt at getting one.  However, if my novel doesn’t make it past the reading panel of the publisher it is currently with, strangers who are holding my dreams in their hands, then I intend to make an all out assault on the rest of this list of publishers.  Any gatekeeper who tries to get in my way had best beware!

Good luck to anyone else out there submitting and do add in your suggestions here too, so that we can build up and re-post the list on a regular basis.  I hope you find the links useful.

Jo x


28 thoughts on “Out of my way gate-keeper, I want to get in!

  1. Jo what an excellent and really helpful post! Watch out gatekeepers – we’re coming to get you! Lxx

  2. Hi,

    Thanks for this great post, Jo…really encouraging and a good list to work from when we are ready.


    • You are more than welcome, Helen, and I will keep a look out for publishers specifically seeking submissions from Down Under, which I found by accident before but didn’t need at the time! Hope all is going well. Did I imagine it or did you say you’ve got another ‘speed date’ event planned with agents and publishers?

      Jo x

  3. Brilliant post as usual Jo, but this is really helpful and yes unfortunately it is also very true. It is much harder to get an agent and it can also be soul destroying but it’s what I still aspire to and hope that I will get one eventually 🙂


    • Hi Helen

      When you have sold thousands of books with your new publisher, the agents will be begging to take you on. I was chatting online to a newly signed author (by an agent) the other day, who said she had received 120 rejections before finally getting accepted by someone who had previously rejected her. She laughed, virtually at least, at me having given up on getting an agent after only five attempts. Like you, I would still like an agent one day, but I do think getting some sales and books under your belt can only help. So, what better way to do it, than with a great indie publisher? Any news on that contact yet by the way?

      Jo x

  4. Great post Jo! Thanks for all your hard work in putting this list together. Fingers crossed that the publishers who’ve currently got your novel will love it and you wont need to refer back to the list!

    • Thanks, Alex, I hope so. Although I have just heard from a very talented author, who was waiting to hear from the same publishers and they have decided not to proceed with her book, so I am definitely keeping the list going and growing – as, sadly, I think I will probably need it! How are things with you? Is your ending now fixed to the rest of the WIP and on its way to the NWS?

      Jo x

  5. This SUCH a helpful article and has taken much of the mystique out of Indie Publishing. I have been picking up snippets from Twitter and elsewhere but this is SO helpful. Thank you.

  6. Hi Jo
    Thank you for sharing all your hard work putting this list together. I hope you hear good news from the publisher you’ve sent your book to.
    Elle 🙂

  7. Thanks so much for this, Jo. Didn’t realise there were so many. Made me think twice about targeting agents first and foremost. Novelicious sounds especially exciting. Hope it’s good news from Choclit for you.
    Deirdre x

    • Hi Deidre

      I’m glad you found it helpful. I’ve actually tracked a few more down in the last couple of days and so I think I will try and post an update of new links once a month. There are even some windows into direct submission with the big six, sometimes the windows are only open for a bit though, and so perhaps we really can achieve all of our dreams with or without those agents. Let me know if/when you are ready for some more submissions and I will get going on compiling the next lot of links!

      Jo x

  8. Great list – thanks! Do you think this works out better than self publishing? ie do they pay an advance? Do they do any publicity? Have just self-published and am waiting to see how it pans out!

    • Hi Margaret

      I am glad you found it useful and good luck with your self publlishing adventure! Some of the publishers offer a small advance, but most don’t – especially the e-publishers. However, they do generally have publicists, although all expect you to do some self promo too.

      For me, it is about confidence. I am not yet ready to go it alone and getting offered publication would also be some form of validation that I can actually write. I may reconsider this if I am at the bottom of the list with twenty more “thanks, but no thanks” responses. I might also reconsider when I am ready, as I keep hearing that self publishing authors are making more money than those who are traditionally published.

      It’s horses for course, I guess. What is great is that there are so many platforms out there for us to find ways of sharing our stories with readers. Please come back and tell us how the self publishing journey is going and to let us know if you woud like to post a blurb and links on our self publishing promo page. Good luck!


      • Hi Jo, thanks for the good wishes! Yes, I’d love to leave a link to my book if that’s Ok. And I will certainly let you know how my self-publishing venture. It’s been a sharp learning curve for me – I’m published in another field, so have been used to other people doing loads of stuff that I’ve had to sort out myself this time. This also stops me being in the RNA New Writer’s Scheme, but of course I can’t complain about being published! Especially as it gives me just enough money not to have to have another job. Yay!

      • Hi Margaret

        Yay indeed to not having another day job, I am very jealous! If you would like to send a short blurb and link to your self published work, I will include it on our promo page. If you would also like to be interviewed at some point for the blog, please let me know about that too. In either case, you can email us at thewriteromantics@hotmail.co.uk. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


    • Hi Susan

      Yes, keep at it! What are you writing at the moment and how long have you been working towards publication? I hope to update the list with additional links about once a month, so please visit us again and let us know how you are getting on. Good luck!


      • Hi Jo,
        I was on the shortlist in the RNA new talent awards for 2012 with the beginning chapters of Hats off to Love. So far I’m up to 25,000 words of the first draft. All good fun.

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