Big Company vs. Small Company in Publishing
The choice between a large publishing company and a small, independent company is largely one of payoff. Executives at large consumer publishing companies make some of the best salaries in the business, and arguably have access to some of the most interesting titles and notable authors. However, for career advancement and congeniality, smaller publishing companies, with more titles per capita, tend to be friendlier. And while large publishing companies have stalled in their hiring, smaller publishing companies continue to expand entry-level positions.
There are also matters of lifestyle to address. If you want to live outside New York City, look outside the "big six" - they're all headquartered in New York. If you prefer casual dress and would enjoy interacting with other departments with decreased bureaucracy, then take a look at small publishers. If you want name recognition, the potential for significant career advancement and the corporate lifestyle, look at the largest publishers. The largest publishers are typically involved in trade fiction - generally considered to be the top of the publishing heap when it comes to prestige.
One editor who's worked at both large and small publishers observes: "There's more bureaucracy and layers of management at the bigger publishers, which can be frustrating. Bigger firms also don't necessarily spend that much more money on projects, either, which is kind of counter-intuitive. The profile of the products published by the bigger firm, however, is a lot higher because there's more 'oomph' on the sales and marketing side and they generally have higher publication quality standards."