Is there any reference for comparing publishers (or at least major ones)? Writers choose a publisher based on fame or by chance, but is there any system for rank of publishers? Or providing statistical data such as the number of published volumes, magazines, factors of business success, etc.

  • I'm not quite clear on what kind of measurements you'd like to rank publishers by. A lot of data is pretty much unavailable - e.g. accurate size of book runs, payment rates to authors, etc. I can see why you'd be interested in what metrics might be available, though! – Standback Aug 7 '12 at 14:50
  • @Standback In fact, I address a problem that the public fame of publisher is very chancy, just depending what books we are aware of. In addition, I was unable to find the very basic information, even the number of books published. – Googlebot Aug 7 '12 at 19:19
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    What a GREAT question. One of the most useful I have seen on this site. @Standback, I understand what you're saying, but I think most new authors would be willing to see almost any comparative data available. – temporary_user_name Aug 28 '12 at 20:26

Well I don't really think there is a clear answer in this case. You might be able to pull the information together by looking through Locus or other field related magazines. Even so with a bit of looking around I can find some older rankings of publishers. Such as the 2011 Ranking of the Global [Book] Publishing Industry and the 2011 Publisher Survey Results. That might provide some of the information you are looknig for.

That being said, most writers will choose a publisher based on what they publish. You wouldn't send a piece of military sci-fi to Harlequin, they would never be interested in it. On the other hand Tor on Baen books might be a much better fit. You want to find a publisher that is already in that field. This is true for both books and for short fiction.

Keep in mind that a most of the book publishers want submissions to come in through agents, on the other hand a good agent will know who the best publisher for a story is. As for finding an agent, it will work much the same, find one that works in the field your trying to write for.

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