Here and there, I’ve mentioned or linked to publishers that are open to considering science fiction romance submissions. Then the proverbial light bulb went off, and I realized I needed to do a post about it. (Thanks to TGE passenger Ozambersand who pitched me the same idea and got my butt in gear.)
This post concerns major, mainstream print publishers if that is your goal. Obviously, with a genre as niche as SFR, you have an edge if you’re agented. With the exception of Dorchester’s (now defunct) Shomi Writing Contest, I haven’t heard (recently) about unagented authors landing a contract for an SFR with a mainstream print publisher. From anecdotes I’ve read, it helps to schmooze with editors at conferences and wow them with your manuscript—sometimes that connection leads to an agent.
Needless to say, the competition right now is fierce. The stats are staggering: Jessica Faust of BookEnds Literary Agency blogged that in 2009 she signed six clients “out of roughly 1,500 queries.” Yikes.
Regardless, it certainly helps to know which publishers to target.
The list I compiled below represents the print publishers I know about who have recently released SFR titles, and who seem committed to doing so in the future. It's not meant to be comprehensive, but even so, there may be more of note. Do please let me know—if you’re in the know—so I can update the list. For those publishers who accept unagented submissions, I’ve linked to their submission guidelines.
(Be aware, this list serves as a guide, not an endorsement.)
Heavyweight Ace/Roc primarily publishes traditional SF/F, but on occasion will release romantic SF.
Editor: Anne Sowards. Wants steampunk. (Follow her on Twitter.)
Publishes work by: Ann Aguirre, Kristin Landon
You probably are better off trying to get an agent first, but if you can’t wait, here are the submission guidelines.
According to the FAQ, Baen publishes “only science fiction and fantasy.” Yet they’ve got an impressive roster of authors who include romantic elements in their books.
Publishes works by: Catherine Asaro, Lois McMaster Bujold, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller, Wen Spencer
Submission guidelines. (While they accept electronic submissions (!), read them VERY carefully. They have very specific requirements.)
Bantam Dell (A division of Random House)
Another player in the Big League SF/F publishers. You need an agent.
Editor: Anne Groell
Publishes work by: Linnea Sinclair.
Berkeley/Jove (A division of Penguin)
Yada, yada, big-time publisher. You need an agent.
Publishes work by Jess Granger, Jayne Castle, Sharon Shinn, Meljean Brook, Lauren Dane, J.D. Robb, Nalini Singh, S.L. Viehl
As the oldest independent mass market publisher in the U.S., Dorchester has a long history of publishing SFR/futuristic romances. While their SHOMI imprint is now defunct, they are still considering the genre. This is an ideal place to start for aspiring authors looking to break into print.
Editors: Chris Keeslar, Leah Hultenschmidt (For more information, visit their editorial blog, Romantic Reads.)
Publishes works by Eve Kenin, Colby Hodge, Gayle Ann Williams
Submission guidelines (They’re now accepting general submissions via email!)
EOS (an imprint of Harper Collins)
You need an agent.
Publishes work by: Katherine Allred
Grand Central Publishing
You need an agent.
Publishes works by: Susan Kearney
HQN (An imprint of Harlequin)
You need an agent.
Publishes work by: Susan Grant
SFR would be released in Medallion's Jewel Imprints (Amethyst)
"we consider all subgenres"
Editor Heather Osborn has mentioned her interest in acquiring futuristic romance. You can follow her on Twitter.
Publishes work by: Claire Delaroix, Sandra McDonald, Jordan Summers, Gail Dayton
I hope this is helpful to you. In my next post, I’ll provide a handy-dandy list of digital/small press publishers seeking science fiction romance. Join me then!