Tomas Heed

Writer • Musician • Entrepreneur

The art of choosing a publisher

I had set a target to finish my book today. At this writing, I have done 76% of the final reading, so I may still make that target. At this moment, however, I have been staring into my Word document for two and a half hours and I feel that I need to do something else for a while.

The next item on the to-do list today is to find a publisher. That must be simple?

According to Wikipedia, there are 1000 publishers in Sweden.


In this haystack do I need to find the needle that will help me reach out with my book to the crowd. It think that the first thing I must do is to set up some guidelines for what I want from my publisher.

  • First of all, they must publish fiction.
  • I want my book to be printed. This excludes all the publishers who only have digital titles.
  • I want them to have an appealing digital platform where I can develop my blog and social media.
  • My publisher should have at least a handful of associated writers, and preferably at least one that I have heard about.
  • I want them to have an approach where they want to help me succeed.

Yes, that is my wish list. Someone might wonder why I don’t publish the book myself. It seems to be a popular trend these days.

I want my first book to be published by a publisher. The main reason for this is undoubtedly that it would make me feel like a real writer. It may sound silly, but if I were to publish the book myself, it would not feel like I had succeeded in the same way, regardless if the book sold a lot.

Also, I think it will be beneficial for me to have a publisher to learn all the aspects of how to publish a book. Copies should be sent to a lot of places for reviews, I need to do corrections, print the book, set up advertising, talk to the library, go on signings, market myself, appear on social media, maybe translate the book into other languages and a lot of other things that I know nothing about. It would be great to have someone who knows how all this done at my back.


My plan is that I will submit my book to 3-5 publishers and see if anyone is willing to publish it for me.

Ok, Google. Give me a list of publishers that I may contact.

Alfabeta Bokförlag is a leading independent publisher of quality. Alfabeta publishes 60-70 new titles per year. Fiction and non-fiction for adults and children’s books. Alfabeta is something as unusual in Sweden today as an independent publishing house that does not belong to any of the major publishing groups. Annual sales are approximately SEK 30 million per year. Have you written a script? Then please send it to us. We read all the scripts that enter and leave a statement within 2-3 months.

Alfabeta seems to be a good publishing house that would suit me. Turnover of 30 million was in 2013, last year it was 22 million and the company made a loss of 1 million. They seem to have many writers that I recognize, and many books that appeal to me. The website is a bit outdated, but this is clearly a candidate.

Publisher Review
Albert Bonniers Förlag Albert Bonniers Förlag is the largest literary publishing house in Sweden and one of the oldest. The publishing has always been marked by versatility. Novels, poetry, memoirs, biographies, essays, travel books, gift books and a variety of non-fiction books have had the publisher’s name on the title page. Our publication consists of literature (prose and poetry) and nonfiction (memoirs, biographies, essays, reportage books, etc.). We do not give out illustrated nonfiction (cookbooks, etc.) or children’s books.
Alfabeta Förlag
Andra Världar Andra Världar is a publisher with publishing in the fantastic genres. They publish books in various genres: from fantasy, urban science fiction, steampunk, fairytale, mythology and other things that take place in the “other worlds”.

They seem to have few writers and the website seems to have many loose ends.

B Wahlströms Förlag B. Wahlströms Bokförlag was founded in 1911 and has published children’s books since 1914. Our aim is to inspire children of all ages to discover the joy of reading. B Wahlströms is a part of Massolit Publishing Group AB which in turn is a part of Storytel AB since July 2015 .

Wahlströms is one of the most well-known publishers. I’ve looked a little on Massolit before, and if I should send my script to one of the larger companies Wahlströms is a hot candidate. Massolit had a turnover of 110 million last year, and made a loss of around 10 million. They seem to have good  resources though and the loss is surely from acquisitions. Good website.

Berghs Förlag Berghs Förlag is an independent publisher with a quality oriented publishing for children and youth. We give out everything from board books for the very young to novels for young people who are already adults. Smart fiction are intermingled with funny picture and easy to read everyday adventures. Fantasy and classic adventure stories stand side by side with love stories and realistic depictions of upbringing. We also publish hobby books for children and adults.

Bergh seems to have forty writers, of which I have heard of a few. I get a good impression of Bergh. The publishing company has a turnover of 10 million and has been profitable in recent years.

Bokförlaget Atlas Atlas is a progressive publisher with our feet in the present, looking into the future. We publish fiction, non-fiction and reportage. The publishing house published its first books in 1997, today we are giving out some twenty titles per year. Atlas publishing house publishes a dozen books each season. In essence, we publish nonfiction. We rarely accept scripts and have no way to leave advice to those  who were refused, although we are happy to receive your script.
Bonnier Carlsen Bonnier Carlsen is one of the leading children’s book publishers. The nearly 150 new titles per year are both Swedish original productions of text and image, and foreign books in translation. The publishing house was named in 1993 by a merger of the then Bonniers Junior Publisher, and Carlsen if. But Bonnier has published books for children and young people much earlier than that, in the late 1800s they published Swedish original picture books.

If we classify my book as a youth book, BonnierCarlsen is definitely a candidate. They are truly one of the great players, which is good and bad. Bonnierförlagen has a turnover of one billion and makes a profit of a few millions each year. The website is well done, albeit a bit slow. The risk is that you get lost in the crowd of writers here, but talk about a “real” publisher. 1800s. Wow!

Brombergs … But no matter where the authors come from, we insist on our original intentions: to publish important books that live a long time, books that might survive us all.

What a messy web site. I looked around for a while to find a sensible “About Us” where they explain what they want from my script, but I only get a long story about how the publisher started. No, this won’t do.

Ekerlids Förlag Ekerlids Förlag AB was founded in 1993 by Bertil Ekerlid, who still owns and runs the publishing house together with Marie Hasselrot Ekerlid. Since its inception, approximately 500 titles have been issued. The publisher’s focus is on publishing books in business and leadership, social issues, politics, as well as memoirs and biographies.
Idus Förlag Idus förlag publish books and help those who want to publish your own book with the parts of the process that you want. We accept manuscripts via email or mail. See publishing in the left menu for more information. Idus give out all kinds of books, but we are passionate about the books that concern. Both children’s books and adult books.

Idus is a small publisher based in Lerum. They have an appealing website, although a bit difficult to navigate. The turnover is around 6 million per year and it has been increasing in recent years. They have a fantasy direction and turning towards the young and adults. Idus appeals to me.

Kalla Kulor Förlag Kalla Kulor Förlag was founded in Stockholm in the autumn of 2001 by Hans-Olov Öberg, Robert Aschberg and then some. One can say that the business initially had two objectives:
1. To show that even smaller publishers can make major contributions to their titles.
2. That if paragraph 1 was proven right, have a great and nice party for all its founders for the money that was left over in the first part of the project.This seems to funny guys. They talk about how you have to be IT proficient in today’s society in order to promote yourself, but the text can not be read on the website because of formatting errors. The publisher seems to be a little Stockholm-macho. Ah, that’s Robert Aschberg who is behind it …I think that we would be quite good for each other, me and Kalla Kulor, but I would feel inferior in that jargon.
Lava Förlag Second-generation self-publishing means that the established authors, like artists in the music industry today, leaving the big publishing houses and organize themselves in new and profitable ways to gain greater control over their brand, their rights and a greater share of the revenue.
Leopard Förlag Leopard förlag publish books focusing on reportage, debate, history and popular science, and literature, preferably from Africa and Asia.
Litet Förlag Litet förlag wants to challenge. Both the current arrangements in the industry and readers. Our publications will reflect our ambition to give the reader something more. It may be a new insight, a challenging mind or just a feeling of pleasure.

Link to their facebook page. I do not understand what I’m supposed to do. Obviously not for me.

Massolit Förlag Massolit Förlag is a general book publisher who publishes fiction and nonfiction. In addition to our editorial, we have a joint organization for marketing, public relations, sales, production, studio and international sales offices in Stockholm. Massolit Publisher is included in Massolit Publishing Group AB, which also includes B Wahlströms, Massolit Pocket and Livsenergi. The Massolit Publishing Group is part of Storytel AB since July 2015.

Massolit is definitely a candidate. They have 1364 writers in their portfolio. That means you have to work hard in order to be seen …

MIX Förlag MIX förlag is a digital publisher. We publish short stories, short novels and novels by Swedish writers. MIX want to be involved in developing the digital literature – and the new way to write and read.
Mörkersdottir Förlag Mörkersdottir Förlag started in autumn of 2010 and has since published some 50 titles, both e-books, e-novels, audio books, hardcover and paperback in Swedish fantasy, thriller, romance, dark romance, magic realism, eroticism, horror, children’s books and detective stories. Since 2016, Swedish Zombie is our imprint.
Natur och Kultur Förlaget Natur & Kultur is a foundation without owners that can act independently and in the long term. Our goal is to through support, inspiration, training and education promote tolerance, humanism and democracy. Natur & Kultur’s core business is publishing, where we publish educational materials, academic literature and general literature. In addition, we are a partner in a number of companies, all operating in the book industry. The surplus from the publisher is funding a number of awards, scholarships and partnerships. We strive to fulfill our ultimate mission – through support, inspiration, training and education promote tolerance, humanism and democracy.

Natur & Kultur is also one of the giants. Their website gives a good impression. The publisher part of their business had sales of 334 million in 2014 and made a profit of 66 million. That is a good turnover / earnings ratio. I wonder if it is good or bad for me as a writer?

Norstedts Norstedts was founded in 1823 and is Sweden’s oldest publishing house, with the ambition to be the most modern. Our publication includes fiction and nonfiction, and is characterized by the quality and breadth. In addition to Swedish and foreign fiction we publish memoirs, biographies, debate and story books, and reference books in history, food, garden, animals and nature, Nautica and maps. Norstedts included in the Norstedts Publishing Group which also includes Norstedts, the nation’s premier publisher of books, audio books, music and non-books for children and young people.
Opal Opal is an independent and strong publisher on the Swedish children’s book market. The publishing house publishes quality-oriented publishing for children and youth of both established writers / illustrators and newcomers. Most of the publisher is publishing books by Swedish authors and illustrators, but also translated literature is published. The publication consists of books for all ages, from picture books for the youngest to novels for young people who are already adults.

This seems to be a publisher that could fit me, but their website is a bit outdated. They had a turnover of 20 million last year, made a small loss but have a good fund. Their Facebook account is constantly updated and they’re available on Twitter and Instagram. Opal is definitely a candidate.

Piratförlaget Piratförlaget mainly publishes literature, primarily by Swedish authors but also from other Nordic countries. Publisher’s idea is to give authors greater influence and better economic conditions. By combining professional publishing with innovative ideas we will be one of Sweden’s largest independent literary publishing house with good long-term returns. Piratförlaget has a relatively small edition and it is important for us to work closely with the writers we publish. Our focus is primarily novels for adults, and we prefer that the submitted manuscript is fiction rather than reality-based. In the current situation, we have no issuance of fantasy, science fiction or romance.
Printz Publishing Printz Publishing is a publishing company that started in autumn 2010. The first book published, David Nicholls’ One Day, became a smash hit with over a quarter of a million copies sold, and since then the publisher has continued to grow. Our idea with Printz Publishing is to publish books that we ourselves lack in the bookstore, books in a genre that we call intelligent entertainment. Well-written and smart feelgood novels with a touch of black and a bit of humor. We accept Swedish script in the genre feelgood / relationship novels / intelligent entertainment. We do not give out crime novels or autobiographies.

Printz Publishing’s website appeals to me, but the genre seems to be a bit off.

Rabén & Sjögren Rabén & Sjögren, one of Sweden’s leading children’s and young adult book publishers. The publishing house publishes books for all ages by leading Swedish and international authors and illustrators, as well as audio books, music, games and non-books. Rabén & Sjögren is included in the Norstedts Publishing Group, which also publishes fiction, non-fiction and reference works. Norstedts that was founded in 1823 is the oldest publishing houses with the ambition to be the most modern.
Recito Förlag Recito is an innovative publishing company that specializes in small editions and to make the world of publishing available to authors. We work closely with our writers to create wonderful books and because we are experts in small runs, we can test the market with each book and do not predict the future or risk to refuse accidentally.
Styxx Fantasy Styxx Fantasy is a publishing company that publishes fantastic – fantasy, science fiction and horror ficiton, including the various subgenres that exist in the area. The publishing house, which is located in Gothenburg, started in 2010 and is part of Kabusa books. Our books are in bookstores, through book clubs, libraries, department stores and many other places. Styxx Fantasy has a broad publication of Swedish fantastic – fantasy, science fiction and horror, including the various subgenres that exist in the area. We accept scripts for periods announced on this website. Manuscript submitted for other periods are handled only then. Also keep an eye out for our popular script pitch periods!
Wela Förlag Wela Förlag was founded in July 2004 to give out books for young people, primarily in the categories of fantasy and science fiction under the brand Wela Fantasy. Over the years it has become more of science fiction and more of books for adult readers and thus brands Wela Publisher and Wela Fantasy 15+ been added. From 2010 the record label Wela Records is also included in our publication. Wela Publisher is a small publishing house owned by author and musician Cecilia Wennerström. It is driven by the enthusiasm and spirit of friends and we have very little opportunity to take on new writers. Currently, we only accept manuscripts of writers that we already published.
Weyler Förlag Weyler Förlag was founded in 2007 and began operations in November of that year with the release of Nobel prize winner Imre Kertész’s autobiography Dossier K. The publisher publishes Swedish and foreign fiction, Swedish and foreign non-fiction.

Seems to have some fifty writers associated with it, and many published books. The website doesn’t speaks to me.

Yes, that’s the entire list. As you can see, there were some publishers that caught my attention when it comes to publishing my book. You can see which ones I’m talking about since they have received some extra comments.

The winners

My friends, we have a winner! Or rather a handfull of them. I will send my book to the following publishers (in alphabetical order):

  1. Alfabeta Förlag
  2. B Wahlströms Förlag
  3. Berghs Förlag
  4. Idus Förlag
  5. Opal Förlag

Most of them seem to need 2-3 months to read the script, which means that an answer will arrive by Christmas. This is so exciting!

Now I just need to write a letter about myself as well as a summary of what the book is all about.

And I need to finish writing the book.

Edit: I have also written about the art of choosing a publisher part 2!


  1. Bra research! Och nu har jag lärt mig lite om svenska förlag också – som jag med största sannolikhet har glömt imorgon. Men ändå – ikväll skall jag frottera i kunskapen om marknadens spelare. 🙂

    Nu håller vi tummarna vi jultomten kommer med en gratulering (eller 5?) och inte en refusering i den stora julklappssäcken. Jag vet för övrigt att det heter gratulation, men det rimmar fasen inte på refusering. Och jag ville rimma. Bara att acceptera språkeveolutionen. 🙂

    Och T – jag kan vara din bitch när du åker på signeringsturne…
    Stå jämte och servera dig dricka när du blir törstig av att tacka för alla komplimanger du får för ditt mästerverk… och massera din handled när den blir trött av allt signerande… och jag ser framför mig hur jag får mota bort horder av skrikade kvinnor som förtvivlat viftar med tredubbla upplagor – bara för att dra ut på de sekundrar de får i din närhet. Och när Lasse Åberg, efter 2 timmars väntande i signeringskön på bokmässan 2017, förväntansfullt håller fram sitt exemplar av ‘Balans’ för att få den signerad, så säger han lite pilemariskt – “kan du signera den med “kontrollerad G17?”

    Tables have turned… Det är din tur nu… Hela världen är din smörgås… Ät den. 🙂

    • Tomas Heed

      2016-09-28 at 22:01

      Haha! Jag vet inte vad jag ska säga… :’-D

      • Jag har samma effekt på kvinnor – de blir helt stumma. Eller så vill de inte prata med mig. Kanske därför de oftast går därifrån. Jaja, i ditt fall så utgår jag ifrån att du är stum av förundran och fylld av BroLove. Puss på dig, författaren. 🙂

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