Publishing’s Big 6: Who are they?

College football has the Big 12. The accounting industry has the Big 4. Publishing? The Big 6.

A lot of us are familiar with Macmillan due to their recent battle over eBook pricing. They're one of the six. But who are the other five?

This post started as a quick look into just that, but then I thought maybe I'd also list a little bit of information about their imprints. Imprints are nothing more than trade names a publisher uses when publishing in a narrower field. Tor, for example, is an imprint of Macmillan that focuses on fantasy and science fiction. But as I started to dig into each of the Big 6's imprint information I was completely overwhelmed by the sheer number. As you can see below, it borders on the ridiculous.

Therefore, the focus of this post is to just list out the major publishing houses along with some high level info about each. Their imprints have been relegated to a simple list with links so you can click-through to find out more information if you so desire.

Here they are.

1. Hachette Book Group

Hachette Book GroupHachette Book Group is a leading US trade publisher headquartered in New York, and owned by Hachette Livre, the second largest publisher in the world.  In one year, HBG publishes approximately 450 adult books, 150 young adult and children’s books, and 60 audio book titles. In 2008, the company had a record 107 books on the New York Times bestseller list, with 35 of them ranked #1.  In addition to selling and distributing its own imprints, HBG distributes publishing lines for Chronicle Books, Microsoft Learning, Arcade, Time Inc. Home Entertainment, Harry N. Abrams, InnovativeKids, Phaidon Press, Filipacchi Publishing, Kensington, MQ Publications, Strictly By The Book, Weinstein Books and Gildan Media.

Imprints include: Grand Central Publishing, Vision, Forever, Twelve, Business Plus, Wellness Central, 5 Spot, Springboard Press, Faith Words, Windblown Media, Center Street, Hachette Audio, Little, Brown and Company, Back Bay Books, Bulfinch, Reagan Arthur Books, Poppy, LB Kids, Orbit, Yen Press

2. HarperCollins

HarperCollinsHarperCollins Publishers is one of the world’s leading English-language publishers. Headquartered in New York, the company is a subsidiary of News Corporation. The house of Mark Twain, the Brontë sisters, Thackeray, Dickens, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein, and Margaret Wise Brown, HarperCollins was founded in New York City in 1817 as J. and J. Harper, later Harper & Brothers, by James and John Harper. In 1987, as Harper & Row, it was acquired by News Corporation. The worldwide book group was formed following News Corporation’s 1990 acquisition of the British publisher William Collins & Sons. Founded in 1819, William Collins & Sons published a range of Bibles, atlases, dictionaries, and reissued classics, expanding over the years to include legendary authors, such as H. G. Wells, Agatha Christie, J. R. R. Tolkien, and C. S. Lewis. HarperCollins has publishing groups in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia/New Zealand, and India. Today, HarperCollins is a broad-based publisher with strengths in literary and commercial fiction, business books, children’s books, cookbooks, and mystery, romance, reference, religious, and spiritual books. Consistently at the forefront of innovation and technological advancement, HarperCollins is the first publisher to digitize its content and create a global digital warehouse to protect the rights of its authors, meet consumer demand, and generate additional business opportunities.

Imprints include: Amistad, Avon, Avon A, Avon Inspire, Avon Red, Caedmon, Collins, Harper Business, Collins Design, Collins Living, Ecco, Eos, Harper Mass Market, Harper Paperbacks, Harper Perennial, HarperAudio, HarperCollins, HarperCollins e-Books, ItBooks, HarperLuxe, HarperOne, HarperStudio, Morrow Cookbooks, Rayo, William Morrow, Amistad, Eos, Greenwillow Books, HarperCollins Children's Audio, HarperCollins Children's Books, HarperFestival, HarperEntertainment, HarperTeen, HarperTrophy, Joanna Cotler Books, Julie Andrews Collection, Katherine Tegen Books, Laura Geringer Books, Rayo

3. Macmillan

MacmillanMacmillan is the new face of a company with a rich history in the publishing industry. The adult trade collection comes from a distinctive conglomerate of leading publishing imprints. Macmillan’s other primary focuses are on educating the leaders and thinkers of tomorrow with its college and academic titles, and magazines and journals.

Imprints include: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, FSG Hardcovers, FSG Paperbacks, Hill & Wang, Faber & Faber, First Second, Henry Holt & Co., Henry Holt Hardcovers, Henry Holt Paperbacks, Metropolitan Books, Times Books, Macmillan Audio, Behind the Wheel, Nature Publishing Group, Palgrave Macmillan, Picador, Quick and Dirty Tips, Scientific American, St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books, Thomas Dunne Books, Tor/Forge, Tor Books, Forge Books, Orb Books, Tor/Seven Seas, Bedford, Freeman and Worth, Bedford/St. Martin’s, W.H. Freeman, Worth Publishers, BFW High School, Hayden-McNeil, Palgrave Macmillan, Trade Books For Courses, FSG Books for Young Readers, Feiwel & Friends, Holt Books for Young Readers, Kingfisher, Roaring Brook, Priddy Books, Starscape/Tor Teen, Square Fish, Young Listeners, Macmillan Kids

4. Penguin Group

Penguin GroupPenguin Group (USA) Inc. is the U.S. affiliate of the internationally renowned Penguin Group, one of the largest English-language trade book publishers in the world. Formed in 1996 as a result of the merger between Penguin Books USA and The Putnam Berkley Group, Penguin Group (USA), under the stewardship of Chief Executive Officer, David Shanks, and President, Susan Petersen Kennedy, is a leading U.S. adult and children's trade book publisher. The Penguin Group, with operations in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa and China, is led by CEO and Chairman, John Makinson, and is owned by Pearson plc. Pearson is an international media company with market-leading businesses in education, business information, and consumer publishing.

Imprints include: Ace Books, Alpha Books, Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, Avery, Berkley Books, Dial Books for Young Readers, Dutton Books, Dutton Children's Books, Firebird, Frederick Warne, Gotham Books, G.P. Putnam's Sons, G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, Grosset & Dunlap, HP Books, Hudson Street Press, Jove, NAL, Pamela Dorman Books, Penguin, The Penguin Press, Perigee Books, Philomel Books, Plume, Portfolio, Prentice Hall Press, Price Stern Sloan, Puffin Books, Razorbill, Riverhead, Sentinel, Speak, Tarcher, The Viking Press, Viking Books for Young Readers

5. Random House

Random HouseRandom House, Inc. is the U.S. division of Random House, the world's largest trade-book publisher, and is owned by Bertelsmann AG, one of the world's foremost media companies. Random House, Inc. assumed its current ownership with its acquisition by Bertelsmann in 1998, which brought together the imprints of the former Random House, Inc. with those of the former Bantam Doubleday Dell. Random House, Inc.'s adult publishing groups are the Crown Publishing Group, the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, and the Random House Publishing Group. The Random House Children's Books division is the world's largest publisher of books for young readers. Together, these groups and their imprints publish fiction and nonfiction, both original and reprints, by some of the foremost and most popular writers of our time. They appear in a full range of formats—including hardcover, trade paperback, mass market paperback, audio, electronic, and digital, for the widest possible readership from adults to young adults and children.

Imprints include: Crown Trade Group, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Random House Publishing Group, RH Audio Publishing Group, Random House Children’s Books, RH Information Group, RH International, RH Large Print

6. Simon & Schuster

Simon & SchusterSimon & Schuster, Inc. is a global leader in the field of general interest publishing, providing consumers worldwide with a diverse range of quality books across a wide variety of genres and formats. It is the publishing operation of CBS Corporation, one of the world’s premier media companies. Simon & Schuster was founded in 1924 by Richard L. (Dick) Simon and M. Lincoln (Max) Schuster. Their initial project was a crossword puzzle book, the first ever produced, which was a runaway bestseller. From that, the company has grown to become a multifaceted publishing house that publishes 1800 titles annually, and whose seven divisions — Adult Publishing, Children’s Publishing, Audio, Digital, and international companies in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia — are home to some of the most distinguished imprints and recognizable brand names in the world of publishing.   Simon & Schuster and its imprints have won 54 Pulitzer Prizes, and been the recipient of numerous National Book Awards, National Book Critics Circle Awards, Grammy Awards, and Newbery and Caldecott Medals.

Imprints include: Aladdin, Atheneum, Atria, Beach Lane Books, Folger Shakespeare Library, Free Press, Howard Books, Little Simon, Margaret K. McElderry Books, Paula Wiseman Books, Pimsleur, Pocket, Scribner, Simon & Schuster, Simon & Schuster Audio, Simon & Schuster BFYR, Simon Pulse, Simon Spotlight, Threshold, Touchstone/Fireside

Podcasts for Writers

It took me a while to catch onto podcasts. Even then, in the beginning, I mostly listened only to technical podcasts (I'm a software engineer by day). But then I started thinking about writing podcasts and wondering what was out there…

This then is the list of writing related podcasts I've found thus far. It is by no means comprehensive, but I do actively listen to all of these (I have a long commute to work, so I have plenty of listening time).

Some of these are talk show format, full of interviews with notable writers, advice, current happenings in the publishing industry, and other good information. Others are strictly audio fiction.

Here is my list of podcasts for writers:

  1. Adventures in SciFi Publishing
  2. The Billibub Baddings Podcast
  3. The Creative Penn with Joanna Penn
  4. The Drabblecast
  5. The Dragon Page: Cover to Cover
  6. Escape Pod
  7. I Should Be Writing with Mur Lafferty
  8. Litopia After Dark
  9. Litopia Daily
  10. The Metamor City Podcast
  11. Podcastle
  12. Pseudopod
  13. The Secrets Podcast with Michael Stackpole
  14. SFFaudio
  15. The Sofanauts (archive only)
  16. StarShipSofa
  17. The Survival Guide to Writing Fantasy (archive only)
  18. The Time Traveler Show (archive only)
  19. Podcasts (Audio Fiction, The Geek's Guide to the Galaxy)
  20. Writing Excuses with Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells
  21. The Writing Show

Microsoft Office Live Workspace

What is Office Live Workspace?

imageA lot of people are mobile these days. I am. I have my laptop with me most times so that when I want to fit in some work on my current novel or other documents I flip it open and go. But every once in a while I leave the laptop at home. The dilemma then becomes one of how do I fit some work in on those documents when the files are not accessible?

Enter Office Live Workspace.

Office Live Workspace is a free "access your documents anywhere" service from Microsoft. With the service you can store hundreds if not thousands of documents remotely, then access those same documents from any computer.

Technically, you don't have to have Office on your desktop, but the integration is quite slick, so I would recommend it. Also, the product is beta, so keep that in mind.

Installation & Setup

You get hooked up with Office Live Workspace by installing the Microsoft Office Live Add-in available via Windows Update as an optional update. I'll assume you can handle that part of the install since it really is just another update. Also, once you get into the service, you'll likely be prompted to install some updates. Go through the motions and let it install what it needs.

Now, either you already have a Live Id from previous apps you might have installed or used or you'll need to sign-up for a new one. If you've already got one, you can sign in from the Office Live Workspace home page: image

Otherwise, here's the step-by-step to get setup with Office Live Workspace.

1. Let's say you've fired up, say, Microsoft Word. Once the Office Live Workspace add-in has been installed you'll see the following dialog asking you to take the plunge with Office Live Workspace:


2. If you click "Continue" you're brought to the following web site where you can sign up for the Workspace service.


3. Type your email address and click "Next". You'll then see this:


4. Go through the motions of filling in the form in order to set up your account. Good luck with the captcha—it took me more times than I care to admit to get it right.

Once you've filled out the form to their satisfaction and clicked "Finish", you'll get a confirmation of sorts:


5. Go to your inbox and wait for the email to show up. When it does, click on the "Activate your workspace" link.


I ran into some problems at this point. The service was fairly unresponsive (see above comment about this being beta ;-) ). I waited a bit, and finally got in:


That's it. You're in. People familiar with SharePoint will see some commonalities here. Basically you've got a repository for storing documents and other files. You can upload files, create a new workspace for grouping files, or view shared documents if others have opened up their documents for you to see.

Save a document to Office Live Workspace

Uploading a document is easy. Let's do it through the web page first, then we'll look at how to save a document to the remote Workspace from within Word.

To upload a document to the Workspace over the web:

1. From your Workspace page, click on "Add Documents".


2. Navigate to a file using the resulting Open dialog and select it.

3. You'll see a progress bar next to the title of your document as it uploads. The time it takes to upload your file depends on the size of the file.

4. Done. File has been uploaded:



Now, if you're using Microsoft Word you can upload files directly from there.

1. First, sign-in using the account you created above.


2. This is one of those times mentioned above where you'll need to install some updates. Click through until it's happy.


Unfortunately, you will be asked to reboot. Once you've done that, open up Word again, select "Save to Office Live" again and sign-in.

3. A File Save dialog will pop-up. Double-click on the "Documents" folder (it doesn't look like a folder, but that's what it is) and click "Save".


Give it a sec…


That's it. Document saved.

Open a document from Office Live Workspace

Just like saving/uploading a document can be done from the web interface or through Microsoft Word, so can opening a file.

1. To open a file through the web interface, locate the "Edit" (leftmost) button.


2. You'll be confronted with a warning about unsafe files:


Click "OK"

3. Your document will open in Word or whatever program is assigned to open the file type you chose.

Now, to open a file stored on your Workspace through Word:

1. Select the "Open from Office Live" menu item. A File Open dialog will pop-up. Select your file.


2. Click "Open" and your document will open in Word.

Make changes and save. You'll see the "Saving" dialog again as the document is saved off to the remote Workspace location.


That's all there is to it. You've signed up for an Office Live Workspace account, uploaded a file to the service, opened it from the remote location, made changes, and saved it back.


I'm planning on using Office Live Workspace for those days when I don't have my laptop with me but where I also have some time to work on documents I typically only store there. I do have some concerns over security—I'm not going to store personal financial data out there. But as long as the service remains stable I think it will help me stay productive.

Further Reading

For more info and assistance visit the Office Live Workspace Community page.

[Follow me on Twitter]

Thoughts from Brandon Sanderson

image I was going through my usual blog reading routine this morning and came across a link to some thoughts from Brandon Sanderson on his history as a writer. Brandon Sanderson was tagged to write the final volumes in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, the first of which is The Gathering Storm. Jordan passed away before he could finish the series. The details of Sanderson's post are significant enough that I thought I would share.

Sanderson's Mistborn was a Tor Free E-book Giveaway back in July. He's also the guy tasked with completing Jordan's final Wheel of Time book after that author's death. There's also a recent video interview with the author that I came across.

The most profound thing I took away from Sanderson's post is that I (and I imagine many writers) found myself empathizing with many of his feelings and thoughts. I saw in his words some of the same questions I ask myself, such as "is this good enough?", "will this stand up to reader scrutiny?", "is anyone going to even want to read this let alone publish it?". It's, in an odd way, comforting.

At one point, Sanderson says this:

Here I was, having written twelve novels, and I seemed to be getting WORSE with each one. I wasn't selling, I was out of school working a wage job graveyard shift, and my social life consisted pretty much of my friends taking pity on me and coming to hang out at the hotel once in a while.

Sounds rather dismal. The thing that really blew me away was his statement that he'd written twelve novels (twelve!) without a publishing credit to his name. That's disheartening and inspiring at the same time. The latter because of his fortitude and perseverance, both obviously of heroic proportions.

Later, he says this:

I was NEVER AGAIN going to write toward the market.

After some initial failures, Sanderson changed tactics, trying to write what he thought publishers wanted. The results were sub-standard work simply because his heart was not in the material. The above statement marks a turning point, whereupon he decides to write for himself. He finds success not too long after that.

On that last point, I've seen it go the other way, too. I know of one writer in particular who also faced some small amount of defeat in getting published before he also decided to change tactics—study the market, see what publishers were buying (and what people were reading)—then take that information and write. The result was his first sale of many.

In light of that, it would seem there's no foolproof approach. What works for some may not work for others. It's both inspiring and sobering to read such posts as Sanderson's, though. Go check it out.

Writing Progress Around the Web

1017292_bar_graph_2 Since I started writing weekly posts reporting my ongoing writing progress I've found I've been more engaged with the writing process. I'm not necessarily setting any records as far as pages edited/written, but I'm making solid, steady progress. It's provided a good mechanism to keep me motivated.

That being said, I thought it would be fun to look around to see what other writers (professional or still in-progress like me) are saying about their own writing progress.

Adrian of Chronicling the Novel says "I wanted to complete the first draft of the JASPER novel by 9/30, and I did! The word count came in at 95k, which is quite a bit over the original goal of 60k, and even the revised goal of 80k. This is now technically a completed first draft…". (Nice job, Adrian.)

Scott Pearson comments "Took Friday off to attack the writing projects. Friday and Saturday I finished writing a mystery story for an open-call anthology due Oct. 1. Sunday I put the final touches on a sci-fi story for an invitation-only anthology, due Sep. 30, as well as polishing the mystery story."

Ken of The Eye Sore Times: "This weekend was one of the most productive weekends I've had in a long time. On Friday, I knocked out over 3,000 words on a new story called "Kissing Death." It's my first foray into sci-fi…"

Alma Alexander: "I've broken 90%. Whooo! I think what I have left is either one LONG chapter or two relatively shorter ones - depending if and when there is a break in what has to happen next. That, and the epilogue."

Terri of Musings from the Blonde Side: "I actually did pretty good this week…I worked on View a bit, and will continue to do so over the next two weeks, just to make sure I’m putting the best possible revision out there. On my fireman novella, I actually had to scratch at least 1500 words because the direction I was taking just wasn’t working."

Wistling of At Wist End: "First draft done: Night of the Manticore at 8,200 words, and comments back from 2 first readers."

And, last, Robin Hobb, "For the last couple of days, I've been going back through the earlier chapters, tweaking and fixing and updating my vocabulary file.  It's always a good thing for me to do at this stage of the book.  It recharges my energy for the final long run to the end.  It helps me see places where the story sags, or where the action moves too fast.  It helps me catch character contradictions and helps me see if I've got a balanced series of point of views, or if any one character dominates or is neglected. It's a general comb-through to catch any tangles before they can turn into a big snarl later on in the book."