Publishing Company Profiles

Meet Some of the World's Biggest Publishing Houses

If you want to get your work published, then you'll need the help of a literary agent. Over 80% of the books that the big publishing houses purchase are sold to them by agents. Agents are experts with inside contacts, act as the gatekeepers and know better than writers what an editor is likely to be interested in. Agents also negotiate the best deal for you, ensure that you get paid and run interference between you and the editor or publisher. Unless you're writing for a niche market (e.g., vintage automobiles), or have an academic or literary work, get yourself a good, reliable agent! Next, you need to know about the different publishing houses because each has a different history and personality. 

Insiders say what they want most is something well-written with a hook that's easy to pitch. Much of an editor's job is selling the book in-house to the publicity, marketing, and sales teams. If a book can be presented concisely, then the editor has a better chance of selling the book to their people and the book does better in the marketplace. An editor's job is also a lot easier if an author is willing to spend time on marketing his own the book by going to bookstores, making an introduction and using the web to get the word out via social media and blogs.

1
Hachette Book Group

Various books on shelf, full frame
Kai Schwabe / Getty Images

The result of French publisher Hachette Livre's acquisition of Time Warner Book Group, Hachette Book Group comprises imprints Little, Brown and Company, Grand Central Publishing (formerly Warner Books), and Orbit, a science fiction and fantasy imprint. Known in the trade as HBG, they are the largest publishing company in France and the third largest trade and educational publisher in the world. HBG is headquartered in New York City. They publish about 800 adult books, about 200 young adult and children's books and about 300 audio books annually. More

2
HarperCollins

Founded in 1817, this publishing juggernaut produces over 10,000 books a year in 17 languages. HC categories include dozens of genres from general interest books to children's books to Christian publishing. Read more in an interview with editor Jeanette Perez. More

3
Penguin Random House

Much of the blockbuster work -- the work you see in brick-and-mortars like Barnes and Noble or on your mobile device -- has been published under the Random House name since 1927. When Random House merged with another big house (Penguin) in 2013, it created a publishing giant with a more diverse offering, the Penguin Publishing Group division, with different publishers including Penguin and Penguin Classics offering more serious books on culture, politics, the arts, and science.   More

4
Simon and Schuster

Owned by CBS, Simon & Schuster imprints include Pocket Books, Scribner, Free Press, Atria, Fireside, Touchstone, and Atheneum Books for Young Readers. They publish some 2,000 books each year, many of them bestsellers. More