How to Publish Topic #3: Bigger than you can imagine houses

We’re continuing our Monday discussion of different ways to get published. Today we’re talking about large publishing houses.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized that there were a “Big Six”, because there sure are a lot of OTHER houses out there that can give you exactly the same stuff.  Some take unagented manuscripts, others do not.

Some that don’t take unagented submissions open up once a year (or once in a while) to unagented authors, and always for a short time.  If you are interested in this, you need to follow these publishers closely.  The windows are tight, you don’t want to miss it.

In general, everything I said about the “Big Six” is true about these guys.  One in particular – HARLEQUIN – should be particularly attractive if you are a romance writer. TOR should be very attractive if you are a Speculative Fiction writer.  The reason I say this, is that these publishers have followings.  People who like a certain type of romance trust Harlequin, and will buy a book for the Harlequin name alone.  Hey, I wouldn’t say no to that.

Here are some of the “biggies” that are not considered “Big Six”

Harlequin (Recently purchased by HarperCollins)

Tor (St. Martins Press)

Baen Books

Baker Book House

Daw Books

Houghton Mifflin



Personally, I think the bragging rights are just as good to get into any of these guys. I certainly wouldn’t say no… but only if I believed that they loved my book enough to help promote it.



5 responses to “How to Publish Topic #3: Bigger than you can imagine houses

  1. The large publishers have several advantages. They can give you a print run, greater exposure, and some of the best editors. There are just a couple of disadvantages that hold me back. One being they give authors a very low royalty percentage so very few can actually make a living with their writing. Another is the standard non-compete clauses which makes it difficult to publish more of your work elsewhere.

    If I went with a big publisher I’d absolutely have to continue self-publishing on the side to make up for the difference in income. Right now I earn a very comfortable living with my books. Far more than I ever earned with a day job even when the military gave me bonuses for hazard pay and/or re-enlistment. There’s just no way I could give up the income I’m getting now. Not to mention it comes monthly instead of twice a year (as NY publishers pay) which makes it much more manageable.

    One other disadvantage is not having control of the cover. Coming up with concepts for them is fun for my creative side. I enjoy doing the casting calls to find just the right models for my characters and choosing backgrounds that fit my books. My cover artist is amazing and does work for the NY publishers as well as movie studios so I’m not missing anything in quality.

    I don’t know. It would have to be a really good deal for me to hand over my rights and control. I’m not saying I’d never do it, but I’d have to believe it was truly to my advantage. The brand name of a publisher does little for me these days.

  2. Two of my ‘dream publishers’ are on that list. Too bad ‘my’ two don’t want you subbing elsewhere while you’re subbing them, and it takes almost a year to hear from them.

  3. Bragging rights wouldn’t be a bad thing. 😛