Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Small Presses

Deana Barnhart's GUTGAA contest has me thinking about small presses. I admit I only know a few--two in Utah and one in Canada. Something worth researching.

See, I've never really considered going to a small press before. I've always set my sights on the Big Six publishers. I want others to know about my story, to read it. You don't get a whole lot of marketing with a small publisher.

Photo Credit
But what if the Big Six don't want your book? What if you can't find an agent willing to represent you and your story?

Before, I've always just taken my manuscripts, stuffed them in my back pocket, and moved on to something else.  But I don't want to back-pocket FOLLOWED BY FROST. Why? Because I think it's publishable. Because I think it's a story that deserves to see some eyes.

I had high hopes with the last two books I wrote, but after time I started to lose it, or saw new flaws in the story, or just got more excited about something else. But I'm unmovable on this book. This book needs a little more from me.

So I've decided that, if this story reaps the full set of rejections, I will take it to a small press. A lot of people start out with small presses (James Dashner, for example).

Have you ever published or considered publishing with a small press? What's your opinion on them?


  1. I've considered small presses as long as they are traditional publishers, but I'm not sure I'm ready for that step yet. I still need some research and prayer before I can make the decision.

  2. I like small presses as long as they are the -right- small press, if that makes sense. For example, Keturah and Lord Death was published by a small press, and I think they did a good job (minus the e-book version), they had good distribution and their prices weren't ridiculously high. For e-books, World Weaver Press is my favorite small press because they do quality work.

    So if they do quality work, if they have good distribution methods, if they have a good website and catalog, and if they don't charge ridiculously high prices for their selection, then I like them.

    I guess that means I'm picky.

    But I entirely agree with you on Followed by Frost. I've only seen your query, but I love the premise and think that it deserves to be read. If you need any help looking for more places to send it, let me know.

  3. It would depend on how "small" the press is. Having self-published, I would have to see that they could offer me more visibility than I could gain on my own. If not, I'd prefer self-publishing.

  4. Although small presses have some advantages, submit the novel to the larger ones first (or work to find an agent to represent your novel and submit through the agent). The chance for more readers and exposure and better income goes with being published by a larger house.

    Smaller houses may publish more niche novels or something that may not be as commercially appealing, but they get far more submissions than they could ever hope to publish, so trying to find a small publsher isn't a guarantee. The main advantage is that smaller publishers will keep your work 'in print' longer, but it won't be available on shelves in most stores like the big ones.

    I have one novel that's made its way through the slushpile gauntlet to the desk (queue) of the managing editor at a major pubisher--but it's taken a long long time just to get that far. I've had two novels published with a small press, and have been overall happy, and sales have been decent, but wouldn't be acceptable to a major house--but the exposure and availablility isn't there with the small publisher which results in lesser reader/sales volume.

    Do be carfeful if you go the small press route. Not all are created equal. Good luck as you move forward!

  5. I love the idea of small press, and some of them are very well respected and their authors do quite well for themselves. Finding an agent to represent your book is often disheartening, and many small presses and digital first imprints will allow you to submit directly to them (negating the need for an agent). You'll see your book in print faster-if you go the agent route, typical turn around time is between 2-3 years. Royalties are often higher with small press or digital first imprints (I'm thinking Carina Press and Entangled Publishing). I've got three separate projects out with small press right now because their word length is below the industry standard for a print novel. I believe they deserve to be published, and the presses I've chosen to submit to have proven over time they will run the publicity gauntlet to get the book in people's hands.

    And Terry's point above about publishing with a small press means your print book won't be available on store shelves isn't always true. Yes, that is what happens quite frequently, but several small presses will do print runs (rather than print on demand) if they see that sales of the ebook or POD merit it (Jennifer Probst, author of The Marriage Bargain, is the best example. The book was originally supposed to be ebook ONLY, and sold so well it ended up not only in bookstores, but Walmart, Target, and grocery stores nationwide). Just because your book is published by a Big 6 doesn't mean it'll end up on the shelves. I've had to order the last two Chronicles of Elantra books because none of my local Barnes and Nobles would be stocking it-there just wasn't any demand for it.

    The better question to ask yourself is what matters more: making more money off your book (which is more likely to happen with a well-established small press or digital first imprint) or do you want to see your book on store shelves?

    And remember, whichever route you go, you will have to put a lot of energy into promoting your book. Publicists will only do so much! Good luck!

  6. SPs can be as selective as agents and the Big6.

    If you have luck getting an SP's attention, I would suggest finding out who carries that SP's books before committing to them. Unless they have some presence in the market, you may have no better luck getting distribution from SPs than with that other SP (self-publishing).

  7. Good luck with plan A, but I'm with ya on the plan B- small press is the next step, but fingers are still crossed and queries are still being submitted. It is great that aspiring authors can band together here on the internet- we have so much to learn from each other and encouragement to offer. Best wishes~ New reader/follower. Cheers!

  8. I wondered which entry was yours - I loved Followed by Frost! I remember you got a request, too, which is awesome!

    I'm in agreement - my main goal is one of the big 6, but I will definitely look at small presses if it doesn't work out with my current book. Sometimes you just need to get your foot in the door, and that can be a good way. I also submitted my last book to the Harper Collins two week window for unagented fantasy/sci-fi books - fingers crossed on that! It's open til the 14th.

  9. Yep! Nothing wrong with going with a small press! Sometimes that's just what you need. And there are LOTS of great books by small presses. It makes me wonder why the larger press didn't pick them up, but it doesn't matter - cause they are out there and I get to read them! So don't give up! Give your book a chance, no matter what! :D