Any writer looking to break through the proverbial glass ceiling of publishing will admit that although they would accept offers from any reputable and appropriate publisher, their sights are usually set on one of the main staples in the industry. When beginning the initial searches for publishing houses, their genres and the like, the same few names will continue to pop up. When looking through your favorite books, the ones that litter your book shelves, whose spines are cracked the pages bend, chances are the majority of them will come from one of the main houses and their imprints.
These main staple houses are lovingly referred to as ‘The Big 5’. They are the main houses, the biggest, brightest and most powerful in the industry, each of which holding several imprints under their label, specializing in a variety of writing genres.
When beginning your own publishing research, familiarizing yourself with these five is essential. Why? Because they hold the majority of power within publishing, and although you know their names, you might not realize the number of imprints they control. Why is that important? Simply put, because the big five don’t accept unagented and unsolicited works. The majority of the time, this rule falls down to their imprints as well. So even though there are countless options when browsing publishing houses, as many are controlled under these names, it is important to familiarize yourself with them.
And, of course, if you are lucky enough to have them consider your work, either through a literary agent, or by chance otherwise, it is essential that you are aware of their reputation. Think of it as a job interview. You wouldn’t go in to such a meeting with absolutely no familiarity with the company and their work, would you? The same can be said for publishing, and the houses that control the majority of the market.
In an attempt to spread the little bit of knowledge I have procured since starting my own publishing pursuits, I’ve decided to dedicate this weeks blog post to the Big 5.
Shall we begin?
I think it is important to point out, before I break it all down, that the Big 5 was originally the Big 6, until Penguin and Random House joined forces. The merging of these two powerful publishing giants gained strength and momentum to their brand, combining several large name title holders.
Additionally, I find it important to mention that all the Big 5 have their headquarters in New York City.
And now, lets break it down.
Of course, all writers would love to find a home with these names. Their established success, breadth of power and influence is known in the publishing world, and they hold the ability to make your book a household name. But, having said that, it is important to remember that there are still hundreds of other options, houses that are just as good, just as influential, without all the red tape. It is important to do your research, and familiarize yourself as much as possible with every house to submit to.
Like I said, it is like a job interview. Know who you are facing, what they want, and the work you put in will make you that much more noticeable.
About Money. (2016). The Big Five Trade Book Publishers. Retrieved from http://publishing.about.com/od/BookPublishingGeneralInfo/a/The-Big-Five-Trade-Book-Publishers.htm
Good Reads. (2016). Popular fictions. Retrieved from http://www.goodreads.com
Random thoughts from me on books, writing, news and more!