De-Mystifying The Big 6 Publishing Houses

As my agent and I delve into the frightening stage of submitting to publishers the subject of The Big 6 comes up yet again and I realized, not all aspiring authors know what this means. Before the editor stage of submitting I didn't realize who The Big 6 were either. Here they are in no particular order (some subsidiaries may not be listed. Click on the link for a full listing):

Random House: There are a lot of publishing groups each with their own imprints under this huge roof. Here the groups: Crown Trade Group, Knopf Doubleday Publishing, Random House Publishing Group (including Ballantine, Bantam, Dell, and many others), RH Audio Publishing Group, Random House Children's Books, RH Information Group, RH International, RH Large Print.

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

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

MacMillan: Bedford/St. Martin's, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Farrar Straus & Giroux Books For Young Readers, Feiwel & Friends, First Second, W. H. Freeman, Hayden McNeil, Henry Holt & Co., Henry Holt & Co. Books For Young Readers, Kingfisher, Macmillan Audio, Nature Publishing Group, Palgrave MacMillan, Picador, Priddy Books, Roaring Brook Press, Scientific American, Square Fish, St. Martin's Press, Tor/Forge, Minotaur, Bedford/St. Martin's.

HarperCollins: Amistad, Avon, Caedmon, Ecco, Eos, Harper, It Books, Rayo, William Morrow, Balzer & Bray, Greenwillow Books, HarperFestival, Harper Teen, Katherine Tegen Books, Walden Pond Press.

Hachette Book Group: Grand Central Publishing, Faith Words, Windblown, Center Street, Little Brown & Co., Little Brown & Co. For Young Readers, Orbit, Yen Press.

Now when your agent puts you out on submission and tells you he/she has submitted you to Margaret K. McElderry you don't have to wonder who in the world that is, you'll know it's Simon & Schuster! For those who haven't reached the editor submission stage yet, keep this handy, you'll need it someday soon. Don't forget, there are still a lot of great houses out there that aren't part of the big six.


  1. You're welcome Krissi! Once I started researching it amazed me how many houses are part of the big 6. I had no idea on some of them!

  2. I've just gone out on submission, so this is really good to know. Thanks.

  3. Thank you so much for this! I'm printing it and saving it for future reference. :-)

  4. Thanks for stopping by Elle! This list has really helped me reduce the amount of questions I ask my agent :)

    Wow, thanks Shannon. I'm flattered and thrilled that you found it so helpful!

  5. Hey, thanks Heather. I've hooked this into my "favorites" so that I can print it up and save it--not that I think there's a chance for me, however. But I do have something at the Harper Collins site "authonomy". You just never know.

  6. This is awesome (and frankly, it looks like it was a lot of work)! I bookmarked it. I hope someday I'll have an agent and a reason to refer to it ;-)

    1. I know it was from 2010, but I just read your blog and was wondering if you ever got an agent. I have a memoir that is my first attempt at writing and have only queried two agents so far.


  7. Heather this is great. Thank you so much for this information! I am printing and saving.

  8. Thanks for the info! I've always nodded my head when someone mentioned the Big Six (like I totally knew what they were talking about), but I had no idea until this post. Gracias!

  9. HarperCollins Authonomy huh?! Thanks Lorelei I'll have to check that out. Just keeping working hard on that writing and thinking positive and it will happen!

  10. After reading your blog I have complete confidence that you'll have an agent someday Portia, and probably one of these publishers!

  11. You're welcome Karlene! Now when we go to all those conferences you'll have a reference for the houses!

    I know exactly what you mean Samantha. I knew they were publishers but beyond that I wasn't sure either at first!

  12. It kind of makes your head spin, doesn't it?

  13. It really does! Especially the fact that I'm on submission to some of these people! Makes me want to buy a fainting couch...

  14. That's a great list! I knew some of them, but I really don't have to worry for a while. I still need an agent:)
    Good luck with your submissions!

  15. Good luck with the agent hunt Lorel! You'll get there. Just keep this page bookmarked for when you do!

  16. Love this, so helpful. I am so referencing this post on my blog's Tip Tuesday!

  17. Thanks Lindsey! I'm honored to have made your Tip Tuesday post!

  18. Heather-

    I was so happy to come across your site. I'm a student in Pace University's publishing program and am currently writing my master's thesis on small publishers' marketing strategies. But I desperately needed info on the "Big Six" for my intro. It's surprising that there are VERY FEW websites or articles that list who the Big Six are. Right now I'm specifically looking for info on how much market share of the book publishing industry the Big Six hold collectively. If you have any info on this, please post a comment. I'll check back later...and THANKS!!

  19. Just a little nitpick! Macmillan doesn't have a camel in its name. It also distributes a few publishers your readers might recognize:

    Thanks for writing a rundown of "The Big 6" that doesn't slay them [us] for being big! This comprehensive list really illustrates how much diversity resides within and among these houses.


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