Who doesn’t enjoy a good cookbook? Especially one that flaunts mouth-watering photos, and waxes philosophical about the complex relationship between salt, sugar and leavening, explores the physics of meringue, or — and this is a clincher — chronicles how a disaster becomes the perfect method of baking brownies. (Turn off the oven before they are done, then rebake later!) And, honestly, who isn’t stirred by a pie chart!
Here are 22 cookbook publishers welcoming proposals from authors — no agent needed! And, as an added bonus, many of these publishers also accept nonfiction in other categories. (Remember, non-fiction publishers want proposals, not manuscripts.) Make sure to read the full submission guidelines before you submit.
Now go out and get cookin’!
Acadian House began in 1979 as a regional book publisher specializing primarily in Louisiana-related titles, with particular emphasis on the state’s history, food and culture.
Submissions: Send query letter summarizing the content of your book. The letter should also provide biographical data on you as an author, including educational background, experience in writing, qualifications to write the manuscript you hope to submit, and other information that establishes a connection between you and the subject of the manuscript. A description of the audience for the book is also welcome in this letter. You will be contacted if the editor is interested. Snail mail only. Read full guidelines here.
Artisan Books is an imprint of Workman Publishing Company. Founded in 1968, Workman is an independent publisher of adult and juvenile trade books.
Submissions: Please send a proposal including: a cover letter giving a short description of the project and what materials are included in the package, a proposal, which includes an outline, introduction, art list, and sample text/chapters, sample illustrations or photographs (duplicates, not originals), a market analysis of the potential readership for your book, including a comparison to similar books, author biography and credentials, a self-addressed, stamped envelope for the return of materials. Snail mail only. Read full guidelines here.
Burford Books is an independent book publisher based in Ithaca, NY. Their specialty is books on the outdoors, with titles on everything from golf to sailing. Their list includes military history, food and wine, gardening and outdoor living, adventure travel, and other topics. Worldwide distribution.
Submissions: Send a query letter to email@example.com, with the word “Query” in the subject line. In this email please briefly describe the book you have written or are planning to write, and give us an idea of who you are and why you feel you are qualified to write this book. Read full guidelines here.
Camino Books specializes in non-fiction books with a focus on the Middle Atlantic states. They currently publish about 6 to 10 books per year, and are always looking for new material and projects.
Submissions: Your proposal should include: a description of the subject of your book, as well as its format and length, an outline of the book or a sample table of contents, a sample chapter or two, your qualifications, the audience you hope to reach, your ideas for publicity and promotion. Please include SASE. Snail mail only. Read full guidelines here.
Chronicle Books “We’re always looking for the new and unusual.” Chronicle Books publishes 90 titles per year.
Submissions: Your proposal should include: a one-page cover letter giving a brief description of the project, why you think Chronicle should publish it, what’s included in the package, and your contact information, a market analysis, SASE. Electronic submissions preferred. Read full guidelines here.
Countryman Press became a division of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. in 1996. They publish about 70 books per year and currently have more than 350 books in print.
Submissions: Please send a cover letter with the working title, the estimated length, and a brief description of the book, list of chapter contents or a detailed outline, brief overview of the market for your book and its existing competition (which may take some thorough research on your part), your qualifications as author, including information on any previously published books, articles, or other materials, or relevant professional experience, two or three sample chapters, and an introduction if applicable; no full manuscripts, please. Snail mail only. Read full guidelines here.
Fair Winds Press publishes instructional books in a range of categories, including lifestyle, cooking, health and body, self-help, spirituality, and history. It is owned by the Quarto Publishing Group.
Submissions: Book queries are usually around five pages and must include: a paragraph introducing yourself, a paragraph offering an overview of the proposed idea/concept, a book outline or table of contents, your ideas for the type of visual materials to accompany the text, and marketability information. Snail mail only. Read full guidelines here.
Gibbs Smith is a Utah-based publishing house focusing on social studies textbooks and digital materials for schools, special interest publishing, and cookbooks. They are a mid-sized house, publishing 60 new books a year.
Submissions: Please send a proposal, including: a description of the subject; an analysis of the market and the author’s qualifications for writing the book as well as how the author is going to help sell and promote the book, including on‐line presence and outreach; an outline of contents; and sample writing. If photographs or illustrations are a major component, attach a PDF or jpegs showing samples. Maximum size of attachments is 3 MB. We will invite the complete submission only if we are interested. Electronic submissions only. Read full guidelines here.
Great American Publishers is a traditional small press with an emphasis on regional cooking (any state).
Submissions: Include a cover letter with a brief description of the project. Who is the target audience of your book? Are there similar publications already available? How is your book different from other titles on the market? What sort of promotion will be particularly effective for you and your book? How can you participate in the sales and marketing of your book? Snail mail only. Read full guidelines here.
The Harvard Common Press is an independent publisher of quality trade books specializing in cookbooks and parenting/childcare books.
Submissions: Authors interested in publishing with The Harvard Common Press are encouraged to submit a full proposal, including: a chapter-by-chapter outline of the proposed book, an introduction and a sample chapter (for cookbooks, please include a recipe list), a résumé or brief personal history, any current or planned marketing and sales platforms you may have, an evaluation of competitive titles and how they relate to the proposed book. Snail mail only. Read full guidelines here.
The Overmountain Press is primarily a publisher of Southern Appalachian non-fiction. In cookbooks, they are looking for new and interesting ways of cooking or organizing the recipes.
Submissions: Proposals should include a hook (what’s so great about your book?), your qualifications for writing this book, your ideas for marketing and promoting the book, a summary of the book in 5–8 sentences, an excerpt of your choosing. Electronic submissions preferred. Read full guidelines here.
Pelican Publishing Company is a medium-sized company with a backlist of over 2,500 titles and fifty to sixty new titles produced yearly. As a general trade publisher, Pelican is presently the largest independent trade book publisher in the South.
Submissions: Pelican Publishing Company requires a query letter describing the project briefly and concisely (see below), a separate list of the author’s publishing credits, a printout of the outline and one or two chapters, and a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) sufficient for the return of the chapters or at least for our reply. If the chapters’ return is not needed, please so state in the query letter. Multiple (or “simultaneous”) or e-mailed submissions are not considered. Snail mail only. Read full guidelines here.
Quail Ridge Press specializes in the publication of regional cookbooks. They also publish national cookbooks and regional non-fiction.
Submissions: Include a cover letter that gives a brief description of the project, an outline and/or introduction, a table of contents, and at least 30 pages of the text, if the project will include illustrations or photographs, please send samples, a market analysis of the book including the titles, publishers, and dates of all similar books, and a biography of the author, including publishing credits and credentials in the field. Snail mail only. Read full guidelines here.
Sasquatch Books is one of the country’s leading independent publishers, known for its innovative and eclectic list of nonfiction books featuring authors such as Nancy Pearl, Lynda Barry, and Art Wolfe, and top-selling titles in food & wine, travel, and gardening.
Submissions: Send a query letter, proposal, or a complete manuscript, along with information about you as an author, by mail. Please do not send original materials of any sort. They are not responsible for misplaced items. No email queries. Snail mail only. For submission details go here and scroll down.
Seaside Publishing is an imprint of the University Press of Florida with a regional focus.
Submissions: To submit a manuscript, please send a one-page letter of inquiry to Interim Editor-in-Chief, Meredith Morris Babb, to determine the University Press of Florida’s interest in your project. Please include your full postal address. If they are interested, they will contact you for more information. Email query. Read instructions here.
Sourcebooks, Inc. is an independent publisher located in Naperville, Illinois. The company publishes books, ebooks, and digital products in most consumer categories, including college guides, memoir, children’s books, young adult, fiction, romance, and reference books. Sourcebooks publishes over 300 titles a year and boasts many bestsellers.
Submissions: Please send a proposal with a brief synopsis in 1–2 paragraphs, author bio or resume specifying credentials and publication credits, if any, a complete table of contents, plus estimated length of manuscript in words and pages, two to three sample chapters (not the first), a description of the target audience, one page/paragraph on your book’s unique advantages, a list of competing or comparable titles and how your book differs. Electronic submissions only. Read full guidelines here.
Square One specializes in books on cooking, parenting, business/personal finance, self-help, history, and memoir among others. Square One has been named one of the top ten fastest-growing indie book publishers in North America by Publishers Weekly for six years in a row.
Submissions: When submitting your manuscript proposal, please include the following items: a cover letter explaining the concept of your book, why you wrote it, and its intended audience, a detailed table of contents, a brief overview of the book, biographical information about you and any coauthors or illustrators, a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE). Snail mail only. Read full guidelines here.
Sterling Publishing covers a broad range of subject areas including: current events, diet and health, parenting, popular culture, reference, history, art and artists, music, a broad selection of cookbooks, fiction, children’s books, and more. Sterling is a large house, with over 5,000 titles in print.
Submissions: Please write a cover letter explaining your idea and enclose an outline and a sample chapter of the proposed book (typed and double-spaced, please) along with sample illustrations where applicable. Snail mail only. Read full guidelines here.
Surrey Books is focused on food, nutrition, and entertaining. It was acquired by Agate in 2006. In addition to conventional cookbooks, Surrey also publishes specialized cookbooks focusing on gluten-free, vegan, and diabetes cooking.
Submissions: Agate is considering submissions in the general areas of food, cooking, and nutrition-related nonfiction, for its Surrey imprint. Email query. (Do not send full proposal.) Read instructions here.
Tuttle specializes in Asian cultures. They currently have a backlist of over 6,000 titles and publish 150 new titles per year. Tuttle is a part of the Periplus publishing family.
Submissions: Unlike most large publishing houses, Tuttle offers a hands-on approach, working closely with individual authors. Please submit a complete proposal by email or snail mail. Electronic submissions are preferred. Please note that Tuttle publishes Asian cuisine cookbooks. Read full guidelines here.
Whitecap Books is a Canadian book publisher. Their list features visually appealing books on food, wine, health and well-being, regional history, and regional guidebooks.
Submissions: Please send a cover letter, and a full proposal along with a complete list of recipes, accompanied by 15 sample recipes. Do not send original artwork. Snail mail only. Read full guidelines here.
Willow Creek Press is a publisher specializing in nature, outdoor and sporting topics, gardening, wildlife and animal books, and cookbooks.
Submissions: Send a cover letter detailing the work as a whole. Include who your target audience is and provide a rationale for why Willow Creek Press is the best publisher for your work. Also include: a chapter-by-chapter outline of the entire work, one or two sample chapters, a brief bio or a note describing who you are and why you are the right person to write this book, a self-addressed, stamped envelope with sufficient postage for the return of all of your material. If you do not need your materials returned, please include an envelope with first-class letter postage for their reply. Snail mail only. Read full guidelines here.
Note: You will find a list of 150 publishers accepting unagented manuscripts of every genre here: Publishers Accepting Unagented Manuscripts
Erica Verrillo has published five books. She blogs about the publishing world, posts useful tips on how to get an agent, lists agents who are looking for clients as well as publishers accepting manuscripts directly from writers, explains how to market and promote your work, how to build your online platform, how to get reviews, how to self-publish, and where to find markets for your work on Publishing and Other Forms of Insanity.