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Thread: What Are the Biggest Publishing Houses?

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW zeprosnepsid's Avatar
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    What Are the Biggest Publishing Houses?

    I didn't really know where to put this thread, but I figure here's as good as anywhere. I am looking for the next round of agents to query. And while I have an idea of where I'd like to publish (Henry Holt), I'd obviously be ok with any large publishing house. So when looking at agent's sales, I'm wondering if I'd know the best publishing houses if I saw them. I obviously know Random House and Simon and Schuster but recently I saw someone say they'd love to be published at Avon and I wondered, is that a big house? (Maybe they just want to be published there like I want to be at Holt even though they're not the biggest). But it occured to me, due to a very eclectic and not terribly recent personal book collection, that I may not know the big names when I see them.

    Anyway, if anyone would be so kind as to list maybe the top 10 biggest publishing houses, so I'll know them when I see them when looking through agents' recent sales, I'd very much appreciate it.
    I am the terror that flaps in the night.

  2. #2
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Yeah, Avon's big.

    Your question both has an answer and doesn't have an answer.

    Your basic question is "What's the right publisher for me," and that I don't know.

    The biggest publishers are probably Bertelsmann, von Holtzbrinck, News Corp, Viacom, Time/Warner, Houghton Mifflin, Pearson, Harlequin, John Wiley, and Bloomsbury.

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    practical experience, FTW zeprosnepsid's Avatar
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    See now, some of those I haven't even heard of. I know every way to research an agent, but not any way to research the size of publishing houses. Anyway, thanks for helping me with my name recognition issues.
    I am the terror that flaps in the night.

  4. #4
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Several of them are corporations that own a number of publishing houses. Von Holtzbrinck, for example, owns:
    • Bedford/St. Martin's
    • Farrar, Straus & Giroux
    • Henry Holt and Company
    • Palgrave Macmillan
    • Picador
    • St. Martin's Press
    • Tor Books
    • W.H. Freeman
    • Bedford, Freeman and Worth Publishing Group
    • Worth Publishers
    You're going to have to reasearch these companies (Google is your friend) to get the names of the imprints. Bertelsmann own Random House, Vintage, Ballantine, Bantam, Doubleday, Dell, etc.

  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW zeprosnepsid's Avatar
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    Yeah, the imprints are the hardest part! But thanks for clearing that up too. At least if I know the names of the parent companies, it'll be easier to find out their imprints rather than vice versa.
    I am the terror that flaps in the night.

  6. #6
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Go to a few bookstores, and spend some time in the area where books like yours are shelved. This should help you to identify many imprints and probably also some good independent publishers. Since agents usually list sales by imprint, you'll have a good idea of what to look for.

    - Victoria

  7. #7
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
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    Biggest publisher in the English language? That's easy: the United States government.

    If you want to publish with Henry Holt, submit your stuff there. How big are they? Smaller than Tor. Bigger than Four Walls Eight Windows. Big enough.

    And that's the real answer: Big enough. Henry Holt can buy, package, promote, and distribute your book just as effectively as the other big kids. It's part of Holtzbrinck. Taken all by itself it's not a powerhouse like Simon & Schuster; but really, it'll do just fine.
    Last edited by HapiSofi; 04-08-2005 at 01:28 AM. Reason: You need a reason to edit something? What a weird idea.

  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW Toni1953's Avatar
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    does Henry Holt accept unsolicited ms?

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW zeprosnepsid's Avatar
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    Wow, what a neophyte I was when I posted this! How funny =)

    Anyway, since you've resurrected my dead, and slightly embarassing thread, I feel obliged to answer your question.

    They do not accept unsolicited manuscripts. And they say so here: http://www.henryholt.com/imprintsubmissions.htm
    I am the terror that flaps in the night.

  10. #10
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    If you send a query letter, and they say "Sure, send your manuscript," all of a sudden, magically, it is solicited.

  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW Rambling's Avatar
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    The wording is a little ambigious:

    "Due to the overwhelming number of unsolicited manuscripts, proposals and query letters we receive daily, it is our house policy not to read them"

    but it seems they don't accept query letters either.

  12. #12
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Heh. Yeah, that's confusing. It'd serve them right if everyone wrote a query letter for sending a query letter. Maybe if enough people do so, they'd state it more clearly. Like "don't send your ms without querying first". Or simply "no unagented material", if that's what they really mean.
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    Writting broad batgirl's Avatar
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    Speaking as someone with a gift for reinterpreting simple forms, I'll agree that it's likely impossible to be perfectly clear. My husband makes me fill out government forms, because I have legible printing and handwriting, but he has to oversee my answers, or I'll stand there wondering what "current address" really means until the office closes.
    Yet I can follow and anticipate narrative fairly well. Maybe if forms and guidelines had a plot I'd be better at them.
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  14. #14
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by batgirl
    ... or I'll stand there wondering what "current address" really means until the office closes.
    Oh good, I'm not the only one who's done something like that. "'Full name'? Does that include middle name?" And to think I've designed insurance forms....
    ICAO
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    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

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