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Thread: Penguin Group USA / Viking / Putnam / Dial

  1. #1
    Bryan Warriors Trilogy's Avatar
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    Penguin Group USA / Viking / Putnam / Dial

    I'm new to the writing world and am currently on the search for a good publisher to publish my fiction novel. I've looked through hundreds of companies by now and am slightly stumped by it all. I came across the Penguin Group and have looked through several of the Penguin Publishing companies such as Firebird, Razorbill, Puffin, etc(all fiction publishers like I need). Does anyone know anything about these companies? Like their contracts, royalties, etc? The author surrenders their full rights to their books to the company when signing the contract with them right? Sorry I'm new and don't really know all that much about these matters. If anyone could provide me with any details to these publishers I would immensely appreciate it.
    "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."

  2. #2
    Chaos is a friend of mine. jy'lenn's Avatar
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    Considering I haven't become published yet (still sending queries and such), I'd suggest trying to get an agent. Even if you do get accepted by one of Penguin's departments, you'll want an agent to help go over the contract and make sense of it all.

    Think of it this way: agents are in the literary world what lawyers are in every other part of life. Lawyers make the confusing legal mumbo jumbo make sense. (Hense why having one for a divorce or anything else like that is kinda required to keep from getting the short end of the stick...) So, you'll need an agent who can look over the contract and terms and tell you what it says in layman's terms.

    Agents can also get you into doors that you normally couldn't even knock at.... some publishers don't allow unsolicited queries. Well, most, from what I've discovered. I'd suggest looking for agents in the genre you're writing.

    Be prepared for rejections, too. Those I've recieved have the "thanks, but this isn't my type" line to it. Keep trying and, hopefully, you'll eventually land an agent!

    Best of luck! Hopefully this helped some...

  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW firedrake's Avatar
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    the Penguin group is the creme de la creme.
    I would die a very happy writer if any of my books were picked up by Penguin.

  4. #4
    Chaos is a friend of mine. jy'lenn's Avatar
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    Heh... DAW has had our manuscript for several months now (over 4... I lost count) and still no reply. Not even a rejection letter! DAW does accept unsolicited manuscripts, as does TOR, but getting it read and picked from the slush pile is the problem. Though I might add that just as a forewarning of what to expect. The site claims at least 3 months for a reply...

  5. #5
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    Penguin accepts NOTHING by email. You can try the snail mail route, but you're in for a long wait. You should at least try to get an agent in the meantime if you're going to go that way.

    There's a reason most authors (like 98%+) need an agent. So many people are trying to get through the door that they've welded it shut.

    Make sure your MS is the best it can possibly be. Get it beta'd (or post a bit here in Share Your Work) for an outside opinion. Write a killer query letter. Send it out to agents, and then prepare for a lot of rejection. (You may strike gold off the bat, but be prepared for it to take a while just in case.)

    The fact that you refer to it as a "fiction novel" is enough to tell me you aren't ready to query. That's not a genre, and it's a giant red flag that you're an amateur who hasn't done their homework.

    You need to know the exact genre and plot of your book, along with its target audience and an approximate word count.

    Don't let impatience and excitement cut your legs out from under you.




  6. #6
    Geek Unique LeslieB's Avatar
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    Penguin is a major publisher. Go to your local bookstore and find the genre your book belongs in. See which division of Penguin handles that genre, then google its submission guidelines. Some imprints (divisions within a publishing company) will only take submissions from agents, and you don't want to waste paper and postage on something that will be chucked in the recycle bin. Once you have their guidelines, follow them to the letter.

    As far as rights go, when you sign a contract with a publisher you are giving them the right to publish your book under the terms of that contract, but you still own it. Think of it like renting out a house - it's still yours, but you have given the renters the right to use it.
    Not doing anything with my life is surprisingly time consuming.

  7. #7
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    You should also be aware that you're not going to pitch a trilogy. The first book has to be a complete story with a definite end. There can be potential there for more ("series potential") but you sink or swim based on the strength of Book 1. Do NOT give it a cliffhanger ending; give it an open ending.




  8. #8
    Grumpy writer and editor Absolute Sage Gillhoughly's Avatar
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    I'm new to the writing world and am currently on the search for a good publisher to publish my fiction novel.
    First of all just call it a novel. All novels are fiction, but not all fictions are novels!

    Second, I'm taking a guess that you've been doing an online search for a publisher, and that can be overwhelming. Scammers and ripoff outfits are just too good at looking like the real deal.

    Here's how to stay safe: go to a bookstore and look for titles that are similar to your book.
    Note the name of the publisher, then check their website for their submission guidelines.

    Scam and sham publishers won't have books in any store.

    Another safe way to go: getting an agent--find the websites of writers whose work is similar to your own and see if they mention who represents them. A short polite e-mail might get you a name. "Dear__, I'm an aspiring writer looking for representation. I was hoping you might share the name of your agent."

    Here's a website that has a long list of publishers and agents with red warnings notes next to the ones you want to avoid. http://anotherealm.com/prededitors

    Never EVER pay to get published, have an agent "assess" your work, or use Publish America.

    Sometimes you can put the name of the house + the word "scam" you can find all kinds of interesting info! Try this with Pub. Am. for hours of horror stories.

    As you're new here, I hope you might check out AW's "Share Your Work" forum; the pass word is "vista." Get some feedback on your work before sending it off. Wish I'd had them when I started out. It would have shortened things for me!

    Good luck!

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Warriors Trilogy View Post
    The author surrenders their full rights to their books to the company when signing the contract with them right?
    I'm sure that Penguin does not take your copyright. I don't even need to look that up, since Penguin is one of the biggest publishers out there, and if any of those big guys even start to hint that they'd like to take your copyright, the writing world reverberates with the scandal.

    However, sometimes the big guys can take your rights in all but name, if you don't have an agent to look over the contract and check for things like a proper reversion clause (that is the thing that stipulates that if book sales drop below a certain level, your book gets returned to you and you're free to see if another publisher wants it; if these get messed up your book can hang in limbo forever, which is about as bad as losing the copyright). It's important to have an agent, even if you're dealing with one of the most reputable publishers out there (as Penguin is).

  10. #10
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin heyyou229's Avatar
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    Smile

    I'm not so sure about Penguin's particular guidelines but I have found a couple of sites where you can learn a little bit more about royalties, contracts and such.

    Advances & Royalties --- How authors are paid
    http://www.brandewyne.com/writingtips/authorspaid.html

    How Author Royalties Are Calculated
    http://www.fictionfactor.com/guests/...alculated.html

    Here's a list of Penguin's publishers
    http://us.penguingroup.com/static/pa...ers/index.html

    Getting an agent is also a good idea, they throughly check your payments from the publisher. They basically make sure you're getting paid the right amount.
    And I'm pretty sure you don't have to surrender FULL rights to the publisher. If they like your story you can probably work around their contract with your agent. Keep in mind some of these major popular publishers don't accept unsolicited work so you may need an agent.
    You can also try emailing the publisher (make sure you email the right department) and asking them about their contracts, royalties, etc. But I'm not sure if they would actually respond.
    Last edited by heyyou229; 04-13-2009 at 11:15 AM.

  11. #11
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Penguin is an eminently respectable major publisher. If you are offered a contract by them, you will probably have little trouble finding a literary agent who will negotiate that contract for you to your best advantage.

    Most imprints of the major publishers will not accept submissions from unagented authors. Therefore, if Penguin and the like is your goal, you will almost certainly need to have a literary agent. www.AAR.org is a good place to look for agent names and contact details.

    Legitimate literary agents are highly sought after by the hordes of aspiring authors out there, and most agents agree to take on perhaps 1 out of every 1000 authors who contact them asking for representation. However, the odds of an unagented author getting a manuscript accepted by a publisher like Penguin are even worse than the odds of an unagented author finding a qualified literary agent to take him/her on as a client.

    Best of luck!

  12. #12
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    I'm new to the writing world and am currently on the search for a good publisher to publish my fiction novel.
    Go to a bookstore. Find books similar to yours. Look at who published them. Get those publishers' guidelines. Follow those guidelines to the letter.

    If the guidelines say that they only accept agented material, get the names of the agents who sold those books. Get those agents' guidelines. Follow those guidelines to the letter.

    But since we're on the subject:

    Penguin Group: http://www.penguin.com/

    One of the top ten publishers in the world. Great distribution. Wonderful money. Tons of prestige. Rights are all negotiable.

    Penguin books frequently appear on best-seller lists and awards lists.

    Imprints include:

    Viking
    G. P. Putnam's Sons
    The Penguin Press
    Riverhead Books
    Dial Books
    Dutton
    Penguin Books
    Berkley Books
    Gotham Books
    Portfolio
    New American Library
    Plume
    Tarcher
    Philomel
    Grosset & Dunlap,
    Puffin
    Frederick Warne
    Speak
    Razorbill
    Firebird
    DAW Books

    (Full disclosure: I've been published by Berkley, NAL, and Philomel. Nothing but good experiences.)

    Most Penguin imprints are agented-work-only. Check the guidelines for the imprint you're interested in, since these things change.

    Here are the submission guidelines for DAW Books (which does take unsolicited manuscripts): http://us.penguingroup.com/static/pa...bmissions.html

    Follow the guidelines to the letter.
    Last edited by James D. Macdonald; 04-13-2009 at 05:23 PM.

  13. #13
    Grumpy writer and editor Absolute Sage Gillhoughly's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Warriors Trilogy
    The author surrenders their full rights to their books to the company when signing the contract with them right?
    Absolutely NOT.

    Vanity houses and scammers want you to think that.

    In a legit book contract you are leasing the publisher the right to print your book. The lease lasts either for a set period of time, say three years, or most likely, until the book ceases to sell well.

    When sales go below a certain figure you're sent notice that the book is about to go out of print. This is so you can buy copies before the stock in the warehouse is sold off as remainders.

    Get yourself to the library's 808 section and find some books on how publishing works. The more you know, the less chance you'll get ripped off!

    A good agent will keep some rights like media rights (movies, overseas sales, and comic books) for you. Any contract is negotiable. If it says the house gets all rights forever--RUN away.

  14. #14
    My agent put me in contact with an editor at a Penguin imprint. They did The Kite Runner. It's top of the line. I wouldn't attempt talking to them without an agent first though; then you'll have someone to explain every aspect of this in terms you understand. Also it is wicked hard to land a publisher and I don't think they even take unsolicited manuscripts.


  15. #15
    crushing on fictional characters Kathleen42's Avatar
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    The fact that you are asking about Penguin (widely known, major publisher, many imprints) makes me wonder if you've done enough research on the publishing process. It's not enough to write a great book, you have to do your homework on the industry and how it works and with major houses the first step is often (not always, but often) to find yourself a good agent.
    "Barry, you're over thirty years old. You owe it to your mum and dad not to sing in a group called Sonic Death Monkey." Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

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  16. #16
    Bryan Warriors Trilogy's Avatar
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    First of all thank you everyone for your responses to my question. I didn't clarify this fully...I have a fantasy book of novel length aimed at YA. Its the first of a three part series, and I've spent several years working on the first knowing full well that the first book is obviously the most important. I asked the question about the Penguin Group because I have now gone through hundreds of companies and sites researching publishers for the past year to get the feel for the industry. I have narrowly avoided scams, spams, and solicitations from vanity publishers and such. And yes, Publish America scares the crap outta me o.o But, I asked the question about them because I wanted to learn more about traditional publishing, not to necessarily get published by them. That would be amazing but...Come on let's be reasonable. I wanted to research more in depth as to the penguin companies that do not require an agent. I also figure, based on everyones' experience here in AW, that I should get an agent. As for the library and researching the details on my favorite books, well, a lot of them have actually been published through the penguin group, so that leads me to believe they obviously had what it took and had an agent watch their backs. So my next question then would be, what "logical" companies should I look into to publish my fantasy YA themed novel and what are they details on agents(as in what all do they do and how much pay do they take)? Thank you everyone again for your time and for dealing with someone who knows as little as I =)
    "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."

  17. #17
    crushing on fictional characters Kathleen42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warriors Trilogy View Post
    First of all thank you everyone for your responses to my question. I didn't clarify this fully...I have a fantasy book of novel length aimed at YA. Its the first of a three part series, and I've spent several years working on the first knowing full well that the first book is obviously the most important. I asked the question about the Penguin Group because I have now gone through hundreds of companies and sites researching publishers for the past year to get the feel for the industry. I have narrowly avoided scams, spams, and solicitations from vanity publishers and such. And yes, Publish America scares the crap outta me o.o But, I asked the question about them because I wanted to learn more about traditional publishing, not to necessarily get published by them. That would be amazing but...Come on let's be reasonable. I wanted to research more in depth as to the penguin companies that do not require an agent. I also figure, based on everyones' experience here in AW, that I should get an agent. As for the library and researching the details on my favorite books, well, a lot of them have actually been published through the penguin group, so that leads me to believe they obviously had what it took and had an agent watch their backs. So my next question then would be, what "logical" companies should I look into to publish my fantasy YA themed novel and what are they details on agents(as in what all do they do and how much pay do they take)? Thank you everyone again for your time and for dealing with someone who knows as little as I =)
    In that case, I apologize. Many people jump in without researching and I mistook you for falling into that trap.
    "Barry, you're over thirty years old. You owe it to your mum and dad not to sing in a group called Sonic Death Monkey." Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

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  18. #18
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warriors Trilogy View Post
    First of all thank you everyone for your responses to my question. I didn't clarify this fully...I have a fantasy book of novel length aimed at YA. Its the first of a three part series, and I've spent several years working on the first knowing full well that the first book is obviously the most important. I asked the question about the Penguin Group because I have now gone through hundreds of companies and sites researching publishers for the past year to get the feel for the industry. I have narrowly avoided scams, spams, and solicitations from vanity publishers and such. And yes, Publish America scares the crap outta me o.o But, I asked the question about them because I wanted to learn more about traditional publishing, not to necessarily get published by them. That would be amazing but...Come on let's be reasonable. I wanted to research more in depth as to the penguin companies that do not require an agent. I also figure, based on everyones' experience here in AW, that I should get an agent. As for the library and researching the details on my favorite books, well, a lot of them have actually been published through the penguin group, so that leads me to believe they obviously had what it took and had an agent watch their backs. So my next question then would be, what "logical" companies should I look into to publish my fantasy YA themed novel and what are they details on agents(as in what all do they do and how much pay do they take)? Thank you everyone again for your time and for dealing with someone who knows as little as I =)
    From some of your questions, I wonder if you have a handle on what "novel length" is. YA is generally shorter than adult market books.

    It doesn't matter if it's a series. You pitch ONE BOOK.

    If you're considering getting an agent, STOP DOING HIS JOB. You don't go out and find a publisher for your agent to approach. Yes, knowing who's who is a good thing, but you have to trust your agent's expertise, experience, and contacts to know what fits best where. You don't want to hobble an agent by specifying particular editors who may not have room on their roster.

    Do a bit of research here in B&BC. Check Writer Beware and Preditors & Editors. Check the AAR site.

    Go to QueryTracker, AgentQuery, 1000literaryagents, put in your specifics for genre and age and then check the two lists against each other to see which are reputable agents with solid sales.




  19. #19
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Just FYI for folks interested in Penguin's many imprints, we have separate threads for Ace/Roc and New American Library.

    ETA: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam

    ETA2: DAW Books

    ETA3: Puffin Books (Penguin UK)
    Last edited by CaoPaux; 05-09-2016 at 05:43 AM.
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  20. #20
    Got the hang of it, here tbrosz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warriors Trilogy View Post
    I'm new to the writing world and am currently on the search for a good publisher to publish my fiction novel. I've looked through hundreds of companies by now and am slightly stumped by it all...
    Writers Market is a good source of basic information, but so is this forum.

    The Bewares and Background Check forum isn't just a good source to check out publishers and agents, it's a good source to locate them in the first place.

    I agree that you should try to go the agent route first. A large number of publishers won't even look at something unless an agent brings it in, and those few reputable publishers that do accept manuscripts directly are so swamped that some say turnaround can be as long as a year. On top of that, many of these "slush pile" publishers will not accept simultaneous submissions.

    You can see that this is not a recipe for getting your book published fast. Make sure you have your work and research done, and try to find an agent.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Warriors Trilogy View Post
    First of all thank you everyone for your responses to my question. I didn't clarify this fully...I have a fantasy book of novel length aimed at YA. Its the first of a three part series, and I've spent several years working on the first knowing full well that the first book is obviously the most important. I asked the question about the Penguin Group because I have now gone through hundreds of companies and sites researching publishers for the past year to get the feel for the industry. I have narrowly avoided scams, spams, and solicitations from vanity publishers and such. And yes, Publish America scares the crap outta me o.o But, I asked the question about them because I wanted to learn more about traditional publishing, not to necessarily get published by them. That would be amazing but...Come on let's be reasonable. I wanted to research more in depth as to the penguin companies that do not require an agent. I also figure, based on everyones' experience here in AW, that I should get an agent. As for the library and researching the details on my favorite books, well, a lot of them have actually been published through the penguin group, so that leads me to believe they obviously had what it took and had an agent watch their backs. So my next question then would be, what "logical" companies should I look into to publish my fantasy YA themed novel and what are they details on agents(as in what all do they do and how much pay do they take)? Thank you everyone again for your time and for dealing with someone who knows as little as I =)

    If you are going to get an agent, START LOOKING FOR AN AGENT

    You will never recommend or suggest publishers to your agent. That's the agent's job. The agent has ins and connections and knows what he or she is doing. Look for an agent. Once you get an agent you will NEVER have to worry about what a publisher's specifications are because your agent KNOWS and will TELL YOU. You're getting way ahead of yourself.


  22. #22
    practical experience, FTW firedrake's Avatar
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    What Tomo said. An Agent will know which publisher would be the best fit for your book. I'm a planner, I wouldn't be wanting people to tell me which Zoning Code, General Plan, etc. I should be referring to.

    Another word of advice. Your book should 'stand alone', you are making a rod for your own back if you're trying to push a trilogy as a first time novelist. It's a big leap of faith for an agent/publisher to commit to a trilogy from an unknown writer.

    Slowly, slowly catchee monkey. Take your time, get your first book absolutely perfect, listen to what the good critters in the SYW forum suggest and take it from there. You can start fretting over publishers when your agent starts subbing your manuscript to them.

  23. #23
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Start looking for an agent, definitely.

    An agent does not charge the author. S/he will take a percentage (usually 15%) of the money the author earns as advances and royalties; in return, s/he will submit your book to the right publishers, clinch the sale, negotiate the contract, and handle other rights such as sales of foreign language editions.

    WarTril, it's certainly possible that you have written a truly awesome book, will get snatched up by a top agent, and will sell your book after a high profile bidding war. I hope so! But to inject a note of realism: most (i.e. 99.99%) new authors query agents, get form rejections, query agents, get form rejections (repeat a few hundred times), query publishers directly, get form rejections, query small presses, get form rejections, write a second book, ditto ditto ditto, third book ditto ditto ditto etc. It tends to take about five years of writing, and three to eight novels completed, and several hundred rejection letters, before an author writes something top-notch enough to land an agent and a major publishing sale.

  24. #24
    Bryan Warriors Trilogy's Avatar
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    Oh yeah I understand fully the fact I'll get rejected and pummeled upside the head with it several hundred times. I'm not ignorant to reality, that would be truly vain. I am a rookie author who only has 6 years of writing experience under my belt which isn't saying much to most of you of course. What I do have however is connections, and connections are crucial. I have access personal family friends...one of which is a small press publisher, one who is an editor, and one who is an agent/literary college professor. I believe, within full grasp of rational of course, that I can gain a little footing this way, not much mind you, but enough to get me a start. I also know full well I'm not pushing a trilogy, I'm simply trying to get my first published. I am trying to perfect the first one, focus all my mind and efforts on it to make it the best I can. I have worked on the first for a few years now and I do not intend to push a full trilogy, I'm only meaning to get the first out there and push it to my fullest extent.
    "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."

  25. #25
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    What I do have however is connections, and connections are crucial.
    Connections are vastly over-rated. The most they'll do is get your book read a little sooner.

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