The history of publishing can be traced back to the invention of writing, when scribes first recorded information on clay tablets in ancient Mesopotamia around 3200 BCE.
Over time, different cultures developed their own forms of writing, and manuscripts were produced by hand, often by monks in monasteries. In the 15th century, Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, which revolutionized the world of publishing by making it possible to produce multiple copies of a text quickly and inexpensively. The first book to be printed using Gutenberg's press was the Bible, which was published in 1455. The printing press led to a surge in literacy rates and the dissemination of knowledge, sparking the Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment.
As printing technology advanced, newspapers, magazines, and books became more accessible and affordable to the general public. In the 19th century, steam-powered presses and the development of paper-making machines led to even greater efficiency and productivity in the publishing industry. The 20th century saw the rise of mass-market paperbacks, which were sold in bookstores and newsstands across the world, and the advent of digital publishing, which has revolutionized the way we consume and distribute information.
One publishing company that has firmly cemented itself in the evolutionary tale of the publishing industry is HarperCollins. In this review, we will take a look at their history, how they grew to be the company they are today and whether or not they are worth consideration for writers wishing to have their book published.
What is HarperCollins?
HarperCollins is one of the world's largest and most respected publishing companies, with a rich history that spans over two centuries. The company was founded in 1817 by James Harper and his brother John as J. & J. Harper, a small printing business in New York City. In the 19th century, Harper & Brothers became one of the leading publishers in America, known for publishing works by such notable authors as Mark Twain, Louisa May Alcott, and Herman Melville.
In the 20th century, the company underwent several name changes and mergers, eventually becoming HarperCollins in 1987. The company continued to grow, acquiring other publishing companies and imprints such as William Morrow, Avon Books, and Harper Voyager. One of HarperCollins' most famous authors is C.S. Lewis, whose classic children's book series, The Chronicles of Narnia, was first published by Geoffrey Bles, a HarperCollins imprint.
Today, HarperCollins is a subsidiary of News Corp and operates as a global publishing company, with offices in over 18 countries. The company publishes books across a range of genres, including fiction, non-fiction, children's books, and cookbooks. Some of its most popular authors include George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, and Veronica Roth. HarperCollins also has a strong presence in digital publishing, with its own e-book imprint, HarperCollins e-books, and a partnership with Amazon to distribute its books through the Kindle platform.
In addition to publishing books, HarperCollins also offers a range of services to authors, including marketing and publicity, editorial support, and distribution. The company is committed to supporting diversity and inclusion in the publishing industry, with initiatives such as the #PublishingPaidMe campaign, which aims to bring transparency to author advances and royalties. With a rich history and a commitment to publishing high-quality books across a range of genres, HarperCollins continues to be a major force in the publishing industry today.
What Type of Books Does HarperCollins Publish?
HarperCollins has published many famous and influential books over the years. Here are ten of the most notable:
1. The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis
2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
3. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams
5. The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer
6. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
7. The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
8. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
9. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
10. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
These books have had a significant impact on popular culture and continue to be beloved by readers of all ages. HarperCollins' commitment to publishing high-quality books across a range of genres has helped to establish its reputation as one of the world's leading publishers.
Who Would Benefit From Publishing with Harper Collins?
There are many types of writers who could potentially benefit from making a submission to HarperCollins. One type of writer who may be a good fit for HarperCollins is someone who has a strong and unique voice, whether they are writing fiction or non-fiction. Harper Collins is known for publishing books that are distinctive and stand out from the crowd, so a writer who has a fresh perspective or a unique storytelling style could be a good fit for the company.
Another type of writer who may benefit from making a submission to Harper Collins is someone who is writing in a popular genre, such as mystery, romance, or young adult fiction. Harper Collins has several imprints that focus on specific genres, such as Harper Voyager for science fiction and fantasy, and Avon Books for romance. If a writer is working in one of these genres and has a strong manuscript that fits the imprint's guidelines, they may have a good chance of being published by Harper Collins.
Ultimately, any writer who is committed to producing high-quality work and is willing to put in the time and effort to create a polished manuscript could benefit from making a submission to HarperCollins. While it can be a competitive process, the rewards of being published by such a prestigious company can be significant.
What are the Alternatives to Publishing with Harper Collins?
While submitting a manuscript to HarperCollins can be an exciting prospect for writers, it's important to consider the potential pitfalls before deciding whether to pursue traditional publishing or self-publishing.
One of the main drawbacks of traditional publishing is the highly competitive nature of the industry. While HarperCollins is one of the largest publishing houses in the world, they receive thousands of submissions every year and only a small percentage of those are accepted for publication. Even highly talented writers can struggle to break into traditional publishing, as it often relies on subjective factors such as the publisher's personal preferences and market trends.
Another potential pitfall of traditional publishing is the time it takes to hear back from a publisher. Even after submitting a manuscript to HarperCollins, it can take several months to receive a response. If the manuscript is rejected, the writer may need to start the process over with another publisher, leading to further delays in getting their work published.
For these reasons, many writers opt to self-publish their work. Self-publishing allows writers to retain control over their work, from the content to the cover design and marketing. Additionally, self-publishing can be a faster process, with writers able to release their work within weeks or months of finishing it.
Ultimately, whether to pursue traditional publishing or self-publishing is a decision that depends on a writer's individual goals and priorities. While submitting to HarperCollins can be a great opportunity, writers should carefully consider their options and weigh the potential benefits and drawbacks of each approach before making a decision.
HarperCollins Review – Final Verdict
Ultimately then, it does without saying that Harper Collins status in the publishing industry is cemented. They are rightly considered one of the titans in their field and are often cited as being one of the ‘big five’ which is well deserved.
This status, however, does present its challenges for writers who are considering making a submission as we outlined above.
The best strategy, therefore, is likely to combine multiple pathways to increase the chances of success. Writers would be best placed to make a submission to Harper Collins or someone similar, whilst also laying the groundwork through self publishing in case their submission is unsuccessful.
And whilst being published by Harper Collins is unquestionably a lifetime achievement for a writer, not having their submission accepted is by no means a sign of failure and self publishing may provide a route forward just in case.