CLUBHOUSE: Partial Guide to Canadian Indie Publishers

OBIR: Occasional Biased and Ignorant Reviews reflecting this reader’s opinion.

PARTIAL GUIDE TO CANADIAN INDIE PUBLISHERS

Why only a partial guide? Because it is entirely based on (most) of the Canadian publishers mentioned in my Amazing Stories reviews of Canadian Speculative fiction authors and not on the larger picture of same.

The works I review are generally either published by small, independent publishers, or by the authors themselves under their “House” imprints. I figure the first would be of interest to writers seeking to expand their potential submission pool, and the second would intrigue those thinking of self-publishing and wondering what sorts of titles writers pick for their unique, personal publishing ventures to help promote their own publications.

The following is the result of a quick perusal of my columns in Amazing Stories. By no means a definite, comprehensive study but it does capture something of the flavour of the topic.

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Ancient Hound Press, Alberta

Personal imprint publishing press of A. David Singh. One fantasy novel devoted to alterative ancient Roman history and mythology published. Sequel nearing completion. A short story collection devoted to Julius Caesar previously published.

https://www.adavidsingh.com/

Reviewed: The Dead Boy’s Game and the Broken Vow – by A. David Singh

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Ansible Press

Personal imprint publishing press of Stephan Kotowych based in Toronto, Ontario. Volume 2 to be published later this year. Volume 1 = Best of 2022 stories. Volume 2 = Best of 2023 stories.

https://www.amazon.ca/stores/Stephen%20Kotowych/author/B0822YVHMD

Reviewed: Year’s Best Canadian Science Fiction & Fantasy: Vol. 1 – (Anthology) by Stephan Kotowych

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Arctic Mage Press, Toronto, Ontario

Personal Imprint publishing press of Dale L. Sproule. Two collections of his short stories and the first of a four-novel series published to date. The second novel is nearing publication.

https://www.dalelsproule.com/dale-l-sproule-books/

Reviewed: The Human Template by Dale L. Sproule

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Author’s Hand Publishing Company, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

A one-man (Justin Bilyk) developmental publisher offering services such as ghostwriting, book assessment, copy editing, book formatting and publishing. The book I reviewed, containing stories by 23 authors, was meant to be the first in a series of anthologies. I don’t know if any more were published. To be clear, all services come with a fee. But the contributors to the anthology received a token payment.

https://www.authorshand.com/

Reviewed: Summer of Sci-Fi and Fantasy – (Anthology) edited by Justin Bilyk

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Brain Lag, Milton, Ontario

Prolific Indie press publishing an average of one book per month. 50 novels and story collections published to date in the following sub-genres within the Speculative Fiction genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Post-apocalyptic, Weird, Mystery, Literary, YA, Kids, Humour, and LGBTQIA+.

Currently closed to submissions but will possibly open again this summer. Works (novels, collections) must be at least 50,000 words in length. Unagented submissions welcome. Debut authors are encouraged. See site for details.

https://www.brain-lag.com/

Reviewed: The Earthborn – by Arlene F. Marks; The Nightingale’s Tooth – by Sally McBride; The Fragrance of Orchids – by Sally McBride; The Fabulist Play Cycle – Hugh A.D. Spencer; Mecha-Jesus and other stories – by Derwin Mak; The Bloodstone – by Arlene F. Marks; Imaginary Friends – (Collection) by Arlene F. Marks; Live Nude Aliens and other stories – by JD Deluzio; The Hard Side of the Moon – by Hugh A.D. Spencer; The Progressive Apparatus and more fantasticals – by Hugh A.D. Spencer; The Light Between the Stars – (Anthology) edited by Catherine Fitzsimmons; Why I Hunt Flying Saucers and other fantasticals – (Collection) by Hugh A.D. Spencer

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Dark Helix Books, an imprint of Dark Helix Press, Toronto, Ontario

An indie devoted to publishing multi-cultural fantasy and science fiction, apparently with an emphasis on Pacific Rim authors. I couldn’t find any information on how to submit. Some of the publications are by members of an associated workshop known as the Asian Canadian Writers Workshop (ACWW).

https://darkhelixpress.com/

Reviewed: Futuristic Canada – (Anthology) edited by JF Garrard and Sarah WaterRaven

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Deux Voiliers Publishing, Aylmer, Quebec

A writers+ collective especially interested in Debut authors. Submission process very simple. Send complete manuscript attached to email. No need for synopsis. All profits go to authors. Bear in mind they commit to reading only the first two chapters, reading further only if merited. Plus, they are indeed a writer’s collective. All authors accepted for publication are expected “to volunteer their time to evaluate new submissions, copy-edit, proofread and promote the work of other DVP members.” You don’t just sell to them, you join them. Currently they consist of 22 authors and about 40 associates.

https://www.deuxvoilierspublishing.com/

Reviewed: Cycling to Asylum – by Su J. Sukol

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Doublejoy Books, Victoria, British Columbia

Personal imprint publishing press of Paula Johanson. Her works range from YA science fiction and fantasy to books on knitting, the life of Canadian Prime Minister Charles Tupper, a biography of “King Kwong: Larry Kwong, the China Clipper who broke the NHL colour barrier,” and other eclectic interests.

https://www.doublejoybooks.com/

Reviewed: Small Rain and Other Nightmares – by Paula Johanson; Tower in the Crooked Wood – by Paula Johanson

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Echofiction, Mississauga, Ontario

A personal imprint publishing house of Michèle Laframboise who is an author and a graphic artist published in both English and French in publications as diverse as Analog, Asimov’s, Solaris, Galaxies, Brins d’Èternité, Polar Borealis, and several indie book publishers as well as her own imprint.

https://michele-laframboise.com/welcome/

Reviewed: 5 Hard and Crunchy SF Tales – Michèle Laframboise

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Edge-Light, an imprint of Hades Publications, Calgary, Alberta

See Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing (below).

Reviewed: Dream Time: First Fantastic Collection of Completely Fractured Fiction – (Collection) by Mark Le Dain; Alchemy and Artifacts – (Anthology) edited by Lorina Stephens and Susan MacGregor

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Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, Calgary, Alberta

Formerly very prolific publisher with dozens of authors and publications. Seemed to go dormant for a while. Now publishes occasionally. Guidelines state open to submissions but I’m not sure how current that status is. They accept only science fiction and fantasy submissions. Have many specific requirements, but basically query letter with synopsis and first three chapters. Work must be complete, fully edited and suitable for publication. Unagented okay, but no works “in-progress.” Offers “standard contract.” No negotiation over royalties and/or advances except (rarely) with well-established authors.

http://www.edgewebsite.com/aboutedge.html

Reviewed: Super-Earth Mother: The AI that Engineered a Brave New World – by Guy Immega; A God in Chains – by Matthew Hughes; Professor Challenger. New Worlds. Lost Places – (Anthology) edited by J.R. Campbell and Charles Prepolic.

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Enfield & Wizenty, Imprint of Great Plains Publications, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Great Plains publishes literary fiction, histories, biographies, memoirs, assorted non-fiction, etc. Enfield & Wizenty primarily interested in novels and short story collections from Canadian authors with existing publication credits. However, website states not currently looking for science fiction, fantasy, mystery, poetry and some other genres. Possibly the only reason they published the reviewed item is because it is exclusively Manitoba-centric.

https://greatplainspress.ca/books/enfield-wizenty/

Reviewed: Parallel Prairies: Stories of Manitoba Speculative Fiction – (Anthology) edited by Darren Ridgley and Adam Petrash

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Engen Books, St. Johns, Newfoundland

Small press founded in 2007 and dedicated to publishing works by Atlantic Canada authors. Publishes SF & F, horror, fantasy, romance, Y/A, & non-fiction. Currently closed to novel,  novella & non-fiction submissions, but will reopen Feb 28 to April 30, 2025.

Currently open to story submissions to 3 anthologies: Queer Joy Quadrangle Collection, closes Jul 31, 2024; Period Priority Project (Menstruation themed), closes Sep 30, 2024; Cozy Mysteries, closes Oct 31, 2024.

https://www.engenbooks.com/

Reviewed: Stowaway’s Luck and Other Stories – (Collection) by Peter J. Foote; Pulp Science Fiction from the Rock – (Anthology) Edited by Ellen Curtis and Erin Vance

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Falcon Ridge Publishing, Canada

A personal imprint publishing house by Marcelle Dubé. Published 30 novels, including 14 volumes of Mendenhall Mysteries.

https://marcellemdube.com/bibliography/

Reviewed: Backli’s Ford: An A’lle Chronicle Mystery – by Marcelle Dubé

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Five Rivers Publishing, Neustadt, Ontario

Formerly a Small Press founded by publisher Lorina Stephens with a number of critically acclaimed works by Canadian authors, now her personal imprint publishing house devoted to her written works and paintings. Lorina currently writes book reviews for On Spec Magazine.

https://fiveriverspublishing.com/

Reviewed: Dreams of the Moon (Collection) by Lorina Stephens; The Mermaid’s Tale – by Den Valdron; Caliban – by Lorina Stephens; And the Angels Sang – (Collection) by Lorina Stephens; North by 2000+ – (Collection) by Henry A. Hargreaves, Wasps at the Speed of Sound – (Collection) by Derryl Murphy

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Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Leaside, East York, Ontario

Independent family-owned publisher/ distributor specializing in Canadian authors of a variety of genres including Children and Y/A fiction, textbooks, history, photography, poetry, etc.

Alas, their website currently states, “Until further notice we will not be accepting unsolicited submissions.”

https://www.fitzhenry.ca/

Reviewed: A Blanket of Steel – by Timothy S. Johnston

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Fossil Cove Press, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Personal imprint publishing house of Den Valdron, author of novels and short fiction collections in the genres of SF&F, horror, alternative history, comprehensive episode guides of obscure TV shows, and fascinating fictional academic essays. Occasionally publishes works by local authors he knows personally.

https://denvaldron.com/

Reviewed: Benny the Anti-Christ – by Scott Ellis; What Devours Always Hungers – (Collection) by Den Valdron; Drunk, Slutty Elves and other stories – (Collection) by Den Valdron; Toltec Dawn – by Ron J. Hore; Axis of Andes – by Den Valdron

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Freehand Books, Calgary, Alberta

Originally an imprint of Academic publisher Broadview Press. Now independent. Devoted to innovative and literary novels, short story collections, graphic literature and creative non-fiction by Canadian authors, especially Western Canadian authors. Particularly interested in submissions from “Indigenous writers, writers of colour, writers from the LGBTQ2S community, writers with disabilities, and women.” Currently not interested in poetry, Y/A or children’s books. “We now accept submissions online.”

https://freehand-books.com/

Reviewed: Tales for Late Night Bonfires – by G.A. Grisenthwaite

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Grace&Victory Publications, Toronto, Ontario

Small e-book press devoted to publishing short story anthologies. Not currently open to submissions.

https://www.graceandvictory.ca/

Reviewed: A Quiet Afternoon – (Anthology) edited by Liane Tsui and Grace Seybold

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Hidden Brook Press, Brighton, Ontario

Publishes poetry and literary works by Canadian authors. Apparently, an imprint of Legacy Books, a company offering publication services for a price. Every link I tried for HBP failed to connect, being “deprecated.” I gather they don’t seek submissions, just paying customers.

https://www.sfcanada.org/bernadette-gabay-dyer/

Reviewed: Santiago’s Purple Skies at Morning’s Light – by Bernadette Gabay Dyer

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Innesmouth Free Press, Vancouver, British Columbia

A micro-press run by publisher Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Devoted to horror fiction. Does not currently accept queries or submissions. I have the impression it is defunct with most of it’s titles out of print and unavailable.  However, it’s catalogue lists 7 books (including Fungi) still available from Amazon and other sources.

https://innsmouthfreepress.com/

Reviewed: Fungi – (Anthology) edited by Orrin Gray and Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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Kashallan Press, Victoria, British Columbia

Personal imprint publishing house of Celu Amberstone. Devoted to the six volumes of her Tales of the Kashallans fantasy SF series and other folklore-based works.

Celu Amberstone works

Reviewed: The Dream-Chosen: Tales of the Kashallans, Book 1 – by Celu Amberstone

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Neo-opsis Publishing, Victoria, British Columbia

Publishing house primarily devoted to publishing Neo-Opsis Magazine, a paying market for SF&F writers worldwide. But also utilized by publisher Karl Johanson to publish his novel. Currently closed to submissions.

http://www.neo-opsis.ca/guidelines.htm

Reviewed: The Game Designers – by Karl Johanson

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Neville Books / Dragon Monkey Press, Deep Cove, North Vancouver, British Columbia

I suspect a personal e-book imprint possibly associated with Neville Books and Café where I believe Eileen used to work, but I can find no info online.

https://www.amazon.aghan-ebook/dp/B00CSEZ1N2

Reviewed: Dragon-Rain and other stories – (Collection) by Eileen Kernaghan

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Northwest Passage Press, Gatineau, Quebec

A personal imprint publishing house of Brendan Meyers, author of 24 books “covering environmental ethics, history of ideas, spirituality, urban fantasy fiction, science fiction, and game design.”

Brendan Myers, Writer and Philosopher

Reviewed: The Flight of the Siren – by Brendan Myers

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No Walls Publishing, Sudbury, Ontario

Personal imprint publishing house of Scott Overton, author of numerous SF novels and stories.

https://www.scottoverton.ca/

Reviewed: Indigent Earth – by Scott Overton

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Now or Never Publishing, Surrey, British Columbia

“Pugnacious publishers of contemporary Canadian literature.” Possibly open to submissions. Canadian authors only. Email submissions only.

https://nonpublishing.com/

Reviewed: City of Sensors – by A.M. Todd

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Pottersfield Press, Lawrence Town Beach, Nova Scotia

Publishes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and Atlantic Canadian interest books (with a focus on Mi’kmaq and African Nova Scotian). Founded by publisher Lesley Choice. Not known if accepting submissions. Contact to find out.

https://www.pottersfieldpress.com/

Reviewed: State of The Ark: Canadian Futurefiction – (Anthology) edited by Lesley Choice

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Presses Renaissance Press, Gatineau, Quebec

Founded by a group of authors looking to publish unusual original works especially by marginalized writers. Last submissions update from June 2022 stated closed to submissions except “from Black and Indigenous writers.” On the other hand, under “Contact us” it stated “We are currently open for submissions.” Try contacting to find out.

https://pressesrenaissancepress.ca/

Reviewed: Season One: Iris and the Crew Tear Through Space – by Cait Gordon; Nothing Without Us Too – (Collection) edited by Cait Gordon and Talia C. Johnson; Nothing Without Us – (Anthology) edited by Cait Gordon and Talia C. Johnson

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Pulp Literature Press, Langley, British Columbia

Normally publishes Pulp Literature Magazine, but occasionally publishes novels. Currently accepting novel queries (only queries, no attachments) for genres including mystery, SF&f, thriller, horror, contemporary and literary fiction, but not children’s books, erotica, memoir or non-fiction. Short story fiction submissions currently closed, but Hummingbird Flash Fiction Contest open till July 15 (entry fee $25 CAD. Prize = $300 CAD.)

PULP Literature – Good books for the price of a beer

Reviewed: What the Wind Brings – Matthew Hughes

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Rage Machine Books, British Columbia

Publisher of Dark Worlds Quarterly (online) Magazine but also functions as a personal imprint publishing house for Jack Mackenzie and G.W. Thomas.

https://ragemachinebooks.gwthomas.org/book-store/

Reviewed: The Gear Crew – by Jack Mackenzie

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Red Deer Press, Red Deer, Alberta

An imprint of Fitzhenry Whiteside Limited. Red Derr Press publishes both children’s books and adult books, the latter including the genres history, sports, science fiction, humour, and current affairs. I believe only Canadian authors. Currently closed to adult submissions.

https://www.reddeerpress.com/

Reviewed: The Oppenheimer Alternative – by Robert J. Sawyer

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Shadowpaw Press, Regina, Saskatchewan

Founded by Edward Willett, Shadowpaw Press publishes “new work by established and emerging authors and new editions of notable, previously published work” of genre adult fiction, Y/A fiction, fantasy and non-fiction. Both Shadowpaw Press and Shadowpaw Reprise are currently closed to submissions. Expected to reopen sometime in mid-2024.

https://shadowpawpress.com/

Reviewed: The Downloaded – by Robert J. Sawyer; The Good Soldier – by Yir Naniv

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Spiral Path Books, Toronto, Ontario

Personal imprint publishing house featuring 36 books by Douglas Smith.

Home – tdotSpechttps://www.overdrive.com/publishers/spiral-path-books

Reviewed: The Hollow Boys – by Douglas Smith

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tDotSpec Inc, Toronto, Ontario

An independent publisher of Science Fiction and Fantasy associated with the tDotSpec Writers workshops but open to submissions worldwide. However, the last call for submissions on their website is for an anthology now published. I assume they are not currently open for submissions.

https://tdotspec.com/

Reviewed: The Science Fiction Tarot – (Anthology) edited by Brandon Butler; Strange wars: Speculative fiction of Coalitions in Conflict – (Anthology) edited by Don Miasek, Outsiders – (Anthology) edited by David F. Shultz; Wight Christmas: Holiday Horror and Seasonal Subversion – (Anthology) edited by David F. Shultz, Don Miasek & Andy Dibble; Imps and Minions – (Anthology) edited by Don Miasek, K.M. McKenzie, and David F. Shultz

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Thistledown Press, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Founded in 1975, Thistledown Press has published more than 500 books. Currently publishes fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction by Canadian authors with particular focus on Western Canadian writers. All queries must be by post, on paper. Submission window is always from Sept 1st  through May 1st.  See website for details.

https://thistledownpress.com/

Reviewed: Fragment – by Craig Russell

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Turnstone Press, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Independent press publishing fiction, poetry, and non-fiction by Canadian authors. They do not publish Children’s, YA/A, romance, horror, cookbooks, self-help, business, family histories or memoirs. Under their Ravenstone imprint they publish mysteries, thrillers, noir, speculative fiction, and urban fantasy.

Currently open to submissions but only via their online submission form. To access the form you must create an account on the Turnstone Press website. For specific details see the website.

https://www.turnstonepress.com/

Reviewed: The Pale Grey Dot – by Don Miasek

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Tyche Books, Calgary, Alberta

A small press “specializing in science fiction and fantasy as anthologies, novels and non-fiction, all available as e-books and trade paperbacks.” The last call for submissions shown on the website ended Nov 30, 2023. It was for the anthology Carpe Noctem which is coming out this August. As far as I can tell, they do not appear to be currently open for submissions.

http://tychebooks.com/

Reviewed: The Passion of Ivan Rodriguez – by Hayden Trenholm; The Machines that Make Us – (Anthology); Casserole Diplomacy – (Anthology) On Spec Magazine 25th Anniversary Retrospective with multiple editors

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Windtree Press, USA

Windtree press is a publishing cooperative of author-members from various countries. Currently consists of “27 members with over 300 titles across many genres.” They are open to increasing membership but evaluate submissions on an “author-by-author basis” to ensure they will fit seamlessly within the goals and purpose of the cooperative.

Once you have read their Q&A, and if still interested, contact them to “provide information about the types of books you have written; why you want to join; a link to your author website; what type of career you see for yourself; and what you can offer the press in terms of expertise, resources, and moral support. We are happy to answer any questions you may have.”

https://windtreepress.com/

Reviewed: The Shapes of Wrath – Melissa Yi; Sugar and Vice – by Melissa Yi; Dogs vs. Aliens – (Collection) by Melissa Yi

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Conclusion: I repeat, just a partial guide to indie Canadian publishers, based on some of the books I’ve reviewed. Still, much may be new to you and therefore of interest.

In some cases I was unable to determine submission details and, as usual, ran out of time so I was not able to contact the authors and/or publishers to obtain accurate info as to the current status of submission windows.

If intrigued, consider it a challenge to you to find out more. In that sense, an interactive article, albeit purely by accident. Have fun!

Cheers!

P.S. The work of art heading this article is a digitalized version of a drawing I did as a little kid some time in the 1950s.

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