by Michael Bedford
Published at 2020-09-29
Independent Canadian publishers help define the Canadian literary scene. In 2019, we published the first listing of 5 such publishers for emerging authors. In this post, we are introducing another 5 publishers.
Much like Invisible Publishing, founded in 2007, some of these publishers have been publishing for a decade or more, broadening their mandates periodically by launching new imprints. But, whether brand-new or well-established, all of the publishers mentioned here continue to accept unsolicited manuscripts. So, if you’re looking for a home for your manuscript in progress, be sure to check out these 5 Canadian publishing houses.
The origins of TouchWood Editions go back to 1984 with the formation of BC-based Horsdal & Schubart. In 2000, H&S was renamed TouchWood Editions when Pat Touchie purchased the company from Marlyn Horsdal and Michael Schubart. Since then, and with the 2013 launch of their imprint Brindle & Glass, TouchWood Editions has developed a broad mandate, publishing inclusive and award-winning fiction and non-fiction.
If you’re interested in submitting a complete or partial manuscript to TouchWood, make sure you check out their submission guidelines first.
Rebel Mountain Press is a relatively new Canadian publishing house, founded in 2015 by Lori Shwydky and Cheryl Ann Kelly. Publishing poetry, anthologies, fiction, non-fiction, and books for young people, Rebel Mountain Press publishes books that promote social change. Their four core values, diversity, equality, tolerance, and female empowerment inform the types of titles they publish. Emerging and established authors interested in submitting work to Rebel Mountain Press for publication, should first take a look at their submission guidelines, which include information about what type of material Rebel Mountain is currently looking for.
An imprint of Caitlin Press, which was founded in 1977, Dagger Editions launched in 2016, giving more publishing power to Caitlin Press’s already progressive and inclusive mandate. With their particular focus on poetry by and about queer women, Dagger Editions provides a voice to this historically underrepresented group. Take a look at their submission guidelines to determine if your work fits with Dagger’s progressive mandate. If not, consider submitting your work to Caitlin Press, which also accepts unsolicited manuscripts.
Founded in Montreal in 1986 as Nuage Editions, this press has the honour of being Quebec’s first desktop publisher. After more than a decade operating in Montreal, Nuage Editions moved to Winnipeg in 2000 and Karen Haughian, then Nuage’s sole proprietor, changed the house’s name to Signature Editions. Karen Haughian continues to play an active role at Signature Editions as the house’s Owner, Publisher, and Editor of Fiction and Non-fiction with Doug Whiteway acting as Signature Editions’ Mystery Editor.
Since Signature Editions regularly publishes work by first-time authors, interested authors should review Signature’s submission guidelines. Recent publications include Vanessa Farnsworth’s novel The Haweaters as well as Marion Agnew’s Reverberations: A Daughter’s Meditations on Alzheimer’s.
The youngest publishing house on this list, entering the Canadian publishing scene in 2019, Radiant Press continues the publishing tradition of fellow Saskatchewan-publisher Coteau Books. Radiant Press publishes a variety of material, including fiction, poetry, and, in their own words, authors who “defy genre.” Radiant Press is particularly dedicated to promoting authors from their native Saskatchewan but, Saskatchewanian or not, interested authors can read up on Radiant’s submission guidelines here.
These are just a few of the many independent Canadian publishers currently accepting unsolicited manuscripts. Emerging authors never know where they might find the right publishing fit for their literary debut but with independent publishers from coast to coast to coast seeking submissions of all kinds, there are plenty of doors to knock on. And, because more and more Canadian publishers now accept electronic submissions, Canada’s vast geographical size, which at one time would have made submitting a manuscript a near impossibility for many, is no longer an issue for most authors.
So, whether you’ve submitted to publishers in the past with no luck or if you’re still preparing your initial submission package, consider the houses and imprints above. And good luck!
Michael Bedford is a freelance editor, copywriter, and performer living in Mount Hope, Ontario. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking for more content that can help new authors? Check out our blogs on creating a great hook to catch the eye of a publisher, or how you can put together a great manuscript submission package.