I am small press published. Over the last few years I’ve tried to explain what that means to my non-writer friends and family to varying degrees of success. What it always boils down to is this: You can’t buy my books in Wal-Mart, Target, or Barnes and Noble. Yet.
For me, making my foray into the world of publishing via a small press was the best possible route. I was lucky. I found a group that was the perfect fit for me. The publisher is very up-front and open with us about her business plan. She expects us to grow and flourish, and knows that any success we have outside of her press can only reflect well on her business. The editors are generous with their time and input. My fellow authors have been enthusiastic, informative, and incredibly supportive.
That publisher created a warm, welcoming atmosphere that made me feel comfortable enough to push my boundaries, polish my writing, and look into the future.
So, what are the pros and cons of small press publishing?
On the pro side I’d list:
- Personal, individualized attention for your manuscript.
- Greater author input and more publisher flexibility in the process.
- Smaller, more intimate peer group.
- Author can gain some exposure to the ‘behind the scenes’ aspects of the industry.
As for the cons, they’re probably not a surprise:
- Smaller built-in audience, limited distribution, and little or no promotional expenditure on the part of the publisher.
- We all know that any or all of the above can lead to smaller royalty payments, no matter how attractive a percentage of cover price.
Is small press publishing the answer for everyone? Probably not, but that’s okay. The publishing world is morphing right before our eyes. There’s bound to be a place for everyone to get a good foothold. If you’re lucky (or smart) enough to fall in with the right group, the experience can be invaluable.