Illinois is a state known for its rich literary history and vibrant publishing industry, offering a wealth of literary treasures to anyone willing to take a closer look.
From small independent presses to large corporate houses, there is no shortage of book publishing companies in the Prairie State. For aspiring authors looking to submit their work, it’s tough to navigate with so many options readily available. That’s why I’ve assembled a list of the top book publishing houses in the state, along with links to submission guidelines.
Here are the best book publishing companies in Illinois:
1. Agate Publishing
Known for publishing high-quality books across multiple genres, Agate Publishing is an independent publishing company founded in 2002 and is based in Evanston, Illinois, United States. The company is dedicated to publishing diverse and thought-provoking books across various genres, including cookbooks, literary studies literary fiction, memoirs, and more. Agate Publishing is committed to publishing underrepresented voices and promoting inclusivity in the publishing industry. Besides its main publishing imprint, Agate also operates a children’s book imprint called Bolden Books and a lifestyle and travel imprint called Surrey Books. Overall, The children’s book publisher is a respected and influential player in the independent publishing world. Submission guidelines.
2. University of Illinois Press
The University of Illinois Press is an academic publishing company known for its affiliation with the University of Illinois. Founded in 1918, the press has a long history of publishing exceptional scholarship across a wide range of disciplines. The press publishes books and journals in various fields, including history, politics, literature, music, sports, and other non-fiction titles. They are dedicated to advancing knowledge and promoting critical thinking, and their publications are known for their rigorous scholarship, intellectual depth, and accessibility to a broad audience. Submission guidelines.
A major player in the publishing industry, Sourcebooks is a leading independent book publisher based in Naperville, Illinois, United States. Founded in 1987 by Dominique Raccah, Sourcebooks has become a prominent player in the publishing industry, known for its innovative marketing strategies and wide range of best-selling titles across many genres. The publisher’s catalog includes books in various categories, including fiction, nonfiction, children’s literature, and young adult literature. They are particularly known for their romance and women’s fiction, with several New York Times bestsellers in these genres. Submission guidelines.
4. Chicago Review Press
Chicago Review Press is an independent book publisher based in Chicago, Illinois, United States. Founded in 1973, the Chicago Review Press has a long history of publishing high-quality nonfiction books across a wide range of subjects, including history, biography, memoir, politics, and music. The Chicago Review Press has a reputation for publishing well-researched and informative books that appeal to both scholars and general readers. The Chicago Review Press has published many award-winning titles, including The Assassination of Fred Hampton by Jeffrey Haas. They are accepting submissions of non-fiction works focusing on African-American issues, Midwestern themes, women’s advocacy, socialist issues, parenting, politics, popular culture, girls’ play, nature, and true crime, Submission guidelines.
5. Northwestern University Press
Northwestern University Press is a prestigious academic publishing house based in Evanston, Illinois, United States. It was established in 1893 and is affiliated with Northwestern University, one of the leading research universities in the United States. The press is committed to publishing high-quality scholarly books and journals in various fields, such as literature, philosophy, cultural studies, gender studies, history, and many more. Their publications are rigorously reviewed and edited to ensure academic excellence and contribute to the advancement of knowledge in their respective fields. Submission guidelines.
6. Curbside Splendor
Dedicated to urban issues, Curbside Splendor is an independent publisher of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction based in Chicago, Illinois, United States. The press was founded in 2009 and has quickly gained recognition for publishing literary works that push boundaries and challenge traditional norms. The book publishers are committed to publishing emerging and innovative writers whose works are often overlooked by larger publishing houses. The press publishes books across various genres, including literary fiction, memoir, and poetry, and they are particularly known for their focus on diverse voices and perspectives. Submission guidelines.
7. Haymarket Books
Haymarket Books is an independent, nonprofit book publisher based in Chicago, Illinois, United States. The press was founded in 2001 and has since established itself as a leading publisher of progressive, left-wing literature. Haymarket Books publishes books on a wide range of subjects, including politics, social justice, labor issues, race, and gender. They also publish some selected fiction titles. The press is committed to publishing works that challenge dominant narratives and promote critical thinking about issues of social and economic justice. Submission guidelines.
8. Albert Whitman & Company
Albert Whitman & Company is an independent book publisher based in Park Ridge, Illinois, United States. The company was founded in 1919 and has a long history of publishing high-quality children’s books and young adult literature. Albert Whitman & Company publishes books across various genres, including picture books, chapter books, middle-grade fiction, and young adult fiction. They are particularly known for their commitment to diversity and inclusion, and many of their books feature characters from diverse backgrounds. Submission guidelines.
9. Lake Claremont Press
Seeking books that explore the stories of Chicago and its surrounding areas, Lake Claremont Press is a great option. Lake Claremont Press is an independent book publisher based in Chicago, Illinois, United States. The press was founded in 1994 and has since established itself as a leading publisher of books about Chicago’s history, culture, and neighborhoods. Lake Claremont Press publishes books across various genres, including the history of local organizations, architecture, and urban studies. They are particularly known for their focus on the lesser-known aspects of Chicago’s history and culture, often highlighting the stories of overlooked neighborhoods and communities. Some of the notable works of the Press include Chicago Eternal by Larry Broutman and Draining Chicago: The Early City and the North Area by Richard Lanyon. Submission guidelines.
10. Southern Illinois University Press(SIUP)
The Southern Illinois University Press is a reputable academic publishing house in Carbondale, Illinois, United States. It was established in 1956 as a department of Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC) and is dedicated to publishing scholarly works that contribute to the advancement of knowledge to create a better understanding of various fields. SIUP has a diverse catalog that includes books in the fields of literature, history, regional studies, film studies, philosophy, and African-American studies, among others. The press has published over 2,500 titles, including books by Pulitzer Prize winners, Guggenheim Fellows, and National Book Award winners. Submission guidelines.
11. Arktoi Books
Arktoi Books is an American publishing company that focuses on promoting the work of lesbian authors. The company was founded in 2006 by two poets, Eloise Klein Healy and Maureen Seaton, with the mission to provide a platform for female voices in the literary world. Arktoi Books is an imprint of Red Hen Press, a well-established independent publisher, and operates as a non-profit organization. The company publishes poetry, fiction, and non-fiction by lesbian writers, and actively seeks out diverse and underrepresented voices. Arktoi Books has published notable works by authors such as Eloise Klein Healy, Maureen Seaton, and Joy Ladin. Submission guidelines.
12. Third World Press Foundation
Third World Press Foundation is an independent, non-profit publishing company based in Chicago, Illinois. It was founded in 1967 by poet and publisher Haki R. Madhubuti, to provide a platform for African-American and minority writers to share their stories and perspectives. Over the years, Third World Press has become a leading publisher of African-American literature, poetry, and social commentary. The company has published works by some of the most important voices in the African-American literary tradition, including Gwendolyn Brooks, Sonia Sanchez, and Amiri Baraka. The company’s publications often address issues such as poverty, racism, police brutality, and the struggles of the working class. Submission guidelines.
13. Loyola Press
Loyola Press is a Catholic publisher based in Chicago, Illinois, that produces a wide range of religious materials for children, teens, and adults. The company was founded in 1912 by the Jesuits, a religious order within the Catholic Church, and has been a trusted source of Catholic educational resources for over a century. The book publishing company publishes books, curriculum materials, prayer resources, and other materials that help Catholics deepen their faith and grow in their understanding of Catholicism. Some of their most popular resources include children’s religious education programs such as Finding God and Christ Our Life, as well as Ignatian spirituality resources like the daily prayer app, Pray-as-You-Go. Submission guidelines.
14. Dramatic Publishing Company
Dramatic Publishing Company is a theatrical publishing and licensing company based in Woodstock, Illinois. Founded in 1885 by Edward Everett Rice, the company specializes in publishing plays, musicals, and dramatic works for professional and amateur theaters, schools, and community groups. Dramatic Publishing Company offers a different range of top titles in their catalog, which includes classics like “Romeo and Juliet” and “The Importance of Being Earnest,” alongside contemporary works like “The Laramie Project” and “Doubt.” They also provide adaptations of popular books and films, including “The Secret Garden” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Submission guidelines.
15. TriQuarterly Books
TriQuarterly Books is a publishing imprint of Northwestern University Press, based in Evanston, Illinois, USA. The imprint was founded in 1958 as part of the literary magazine TriQuarterly, which was published by Northwestern University. This book publisher produces a wide range of literary works, including poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and translations. The imprint is particularly interested in works that are experimental, innovative, and boundary-pushing, with an emphasis on works that challenge traditional genre boundaries and that offer fresh and unique perspectives on contemporary life. Submission guidelines.
16. Tyndale House Publishers
Tyndale House Publishers is a Christian publishing company based in Carol Stream, Illinois. It was founded in 1962 by Kenneth N. Taylor, who also created the popular children’s paraphrase of the Bible, The Living Bible. The company’s mission is to “minister to the spiritual needs of people, primarily through literature consistent with biblical principles.” They publish a wide range of books, including Bibles, devotionals, Christian living, fiction, nonfiction, and award-winning children’s books. Submission guidelines.
17. Joshua Tree Publishing
Joshua Tree Publishing is an independent publishing company based in Chicago, USA. It was founded in 1999 by Elizabeth Bourne, a writer and publisher with over 30 years of experience in the industry. This Chicago-based publisher specializes in publishing books on spirituality, alternative health, personal growth, team spirit, and books for young adults. Joshua Tree Publishing produces memoirs, fiction, gift books, and children’s books. The traditional publisher is known for its commitment to publishing works that inspire and empower readers. Submission guidelines.
18. Dalkey Archive Press
Dalkey Archive Press is an independent publishing press based in Champaign, Illinois, specializing in contemporary literature from around the world. John O’Brien founded the company back in 1984 and he still holds the positions of both publisher and editor-in-chief to this day. Dalkey Archive Press publishes a wide range of works, including novels, true crime, science fiction, short stories, historical fiction, poetry, essays, and several non-fiction titles focusing on experimental and avant-garde literature. They have published works from a diverse range of authors, including Samuel Beckett, Flann O’Brien, Clarice Lispector, and Gert Jonke. Submission guidelines.
19. The University of Chicago Press
The University of Chicago Press is the largest university press in the United States. It is located in Chicago, Illinois. It was founded in 1891 as part of the University of Chicago and has a mission to disseminate scholarly research and promote higher education. It has since published renowned works such as The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn. The University of Chicago Press publishes a wide range of books, journals, and digital media in a variety of fields, including architecture, ancient history, economics, social science, political science, sociology, and literature. The press is renowned for its commitment to quality and scholarly excellence, and its books are used by scholars and researchers and can be found in public libraries around the world. The press is one of the largest printing presses, with an expanded editorial scope to include diverse authorship and genres ranging from the city’s culture, and media studies to life sciences, and is open to accepting manuscripts spanning across a wide range of topics. Submission guidelines.
20. Crossway Books
Crossway Books is a Christian publishing company based in Wheaton, Illinois, USA. It was founded in 1938 as Good News Publishers by a group of Christian business owners with a vision to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ through literature. The company publishes a wide range of books, including Bibles, commentaries, theological works, and Christian living books. It is known for its commitment to producing high-quality publications that are faithful to the Bible and the teachings of the Christian faith. Submission guidelines.
21. ACTA Publications
ACTA Publications is a publishing company based in Chicago, Illinois, that specializes in books, magazines, and digital media related to religion, spirituality, and educational titles. The company was founded in 1957 by Father Robert J. Willard, a Catholic priest, with the mission of promoting social justice and dialogue through the written word. ACTA Publications has a wide range of publications, including the award-winning magazine “The Other Side,” which explores issues of faith, the human spirit, and the environment. They also published hundreds of books on topics such as prayer, spirituality, self-help books, and Christian fiction, and have worked with notable authors such as Mark Collins, Joyce Rupp, and Richard Rohr. Submission guidelines.
22. Cozy Cat Press
Cozy Cat Press is an independent publishing house that specializes in cozy mysteries, a subgenre of mystery fiction that typically features amateur detectives and takes place in a small, cozy community. The press was founded in 2012 and is based in Chicago, Illinois. The press is committed to providing a supportive and collaborative environment for its authors. It has a team of experienced editors who work closely with authors to ensure that their manuscripts meet the highest standards of quality. Cozy Cat Press also provides its authors with marketing and promotional support, including book signings, social media promotion, and online advertising. They also publish eBooks. Submission guidelines.
Having looked at some of the most reputable and innovative book publishing companies in the industry. With a diverse range of publishers catering to different genres and writing styles, there is something for every author in this state. Whether you’re seeking traditional publishing, reprints of forgotten modern classics, hybrid publishing, or self-publishing options, the companies on this list offer a variety of services and opportunities to help you bring your book to life. Remember, submitting your work to publishing companies is just one step in the journey to becoming a published author. Keep honing your craft, be persistent, and never give up on your dreams.