The history of French publishing can be traced back to the 16th century, with the establishment of printing presses in Paris, Lyon, and other major cities. The first book to be printed in France was a Latin translation of the Bible, printed in 1476 in the city of Toulouse. In the following decades, French publishing houses began to produce works of literature, philosophy, and science. The 17th and 18th centuries were a golden age for French publishing, with the rise of the Enlightenment and the publication of classic works such as Voltaire's Candide and Montesquieu's The Spirit of the Laws.
In the 19th century, the French publishing industry continued to thrive, with the establishment of major publishing houses such as Hachette, Gallimard, and Flammarion. These publishers played a key role in shaping French literature, promoting the works of authors such as Victor Hugo, Gustave Flaubert, and Emile Zola.
The 20th century saw the emergence of new literary movements, including surrealism and existentialism, and the rise of French publishing as a major force in the global book market. Today, French publishers continue to produce a wide range of literature, from best-selling novels to academic works and scholarly journals. The French publishing industry remains an important cultural institution, fostering the exchange of ideas and promoting the diversity of voices in literature.
This review will take a deep dive into one of the aforementioned heavyweights of French Publishing, Hachette, as we delve into their backstory, how they operate today and ultimately if they should be considered by writers seeking to have their work published.
What is Hachette?
Hachette is one of the oldest and most prestigious publishing houses in France, with a rich history dating back to 1826. The company was founded by Louis Hachette, who started as a bookseller and later established his own publishing house. In the early years, Hachette focused on producing educational and scientific works, but later expanded its catalogue to include literature, art, and general interest titles.
Over the years, Hachette has published many of France's most celebrated authors, including Emile Zola, Marcel Proust, and Albert Camus. The company also played a key role in the establishment of the modern French literary scene, helping to promote new writers and literary movements.
Today, Hachette Livre is one of the world's largest and most respected publishing groups, with a presence in over 20 countries and a diverse catalogue that includes books, magazines, and digital content. The company's imprints cover a wide range of genres, from literary fiction and nonfiction to children's books, cookbooks, and self-help guides.
In recent years, Hachette has continued to innovate and adapt to the rapidly changing publishing landscape, embracing new technologies and expanding its global reach. The company has also prioritized sustainability and social responsibility, implementing initiatives to reduce its environmental impact and promote diversity and inclusion in the publishing industry.
Despite the challenges posed by the digital age, Hachette remains committed to its core values of excellence, creativity, and innovation. The company's continued success is a testament to the enduring power of great books and the importance of the publishing industry in shaping our cultural and intellectual landscape.
What Type of Books does Hachette Publish?
Being one of the world's largest and most respected publishing houses it is not a surprise that Hachette has a rich history of producing some of the most iconic works of literature. Below are ten classics published by Hachette;
1. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo 2. In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust 3. The Stranger by Albert Camus 4. Germinal by Émile Zola 5. Candide by Voltaire 6. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 7. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas 8. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas 9. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery 10. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.
These books have become cultural touchstones, beloved by readers around the world and cementing Hachette's reputation as a leading publisher of literary classics.
Who Would Benefit From Publishing with Hachette?
Hachette is a diverse publishing house with a wide range of imprints that cover many genres, from literary fiction and non-fiction to cookbooks, children's books, and more. As such, there is no one type of writing persona that would benefit from submitting their work to Hachette. Instead, Hachette is looking for authors who have a unique and compelling voice, a fresh perspective, and a dedication to their craft.
For literary fiction, Hachette is interested in writers who can create vivid, memorable characters and tell engaging stories that explore the human condition. Non-fiction writers should have a strong background in their subject matter and be able to communicate complex ideas in a clear and engaging way. Hachette's imprints also cover a wide range of niche genres, such as science fiction, romance, and mystery, so authors working in these areas should have a deep understanding of the conventions and expectations of their chosen genre.
In addition to having a strong writing style and a compelling story to tell, authors submitting their work to Hachette should be prepared to work closely with editors and marketing teams to ensure the success of their book. Hachette's editorial team is known for their attention to detail and dedication to helping authors improve their work, so authors should be open to constructive criticism and willing to revise their manuscripts as needed.
Ultimately, the type of writing persona that would benefit from submitting their work to Hachette is someone who is passionate about their craft, willing to put in the hard work necessary to create a great book, and excited about the prospect of sharing their work with readers around the world.
What are the Alternatives to Publishing with Hachette?
While submitting a manuscript to Hachette can be an exciting prospect for many writers, there are also some potential downsides to consider. One major disadvantage is the highly competitive nature of the publishing industry, which means that even talented and well-crafted works can be rejected due to market considerations or other factors beyond the author's control.
Additionally, traditional publishing can often involve a lengthy and unpredictable process, with authors facing long wait times and uncertain outcomes.
Self-publishing can provide an alternative for writers who want more control over the publication process and faster turnaround times. With self-publishing, authors can retain full control over the creative and business aspects of their work, from cover design and formatting to pricing and distribution. This can be especially appealing for writers who have a clear vision for their work and want to retain full creative control.
Self-publishing can also offer a faster path to publication, with authors able to upload their work and make it available to readers in a matter of days or weeks rather than months or years. This can be especially beneficial for writers working in niche genres or with a strong following on social media, who may be able to build a readership and generate buzz around their work without the support of a traditional publisher.
Ultimately, the decision to self-publish or submit to a traditional publisher should be based on the author's goals, resources, and personal preferences.
Hachette Review – Final Thoughts
One only has to glance at a list of names who have published their work with Hachette to understand how important they have been, and indeed continue to be, in the literary world. Even if they were never to publish another book their place in history would be cemented.
But a writer today seeking to have their work published may well be put off from making a submission due to the reasons listed earlier. However, by not resting the publicaction of their work entirely on Hachette’s shoulders, and instead considering their submission as one of many options, writers will be in good stead to make a success of their book.