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Many people have asked me this question. Why publish with a small press when the big names are still out there? Is it because you aren't 'good enough' for the big league? The simple answer is personal choice. Plus, given the latest Simon and Schuster and B & N shemozzle, would I want that kind of heartbreak?
A good agent is still a writer's best friend, because they have the knowledge and connections to place your novel where it belongs. But those are few and far between also. Mainstream publishing sees your novel into a physical bookstore, where people can lay their hands on it and take it home. Via a Small Press, although a few do get into the stores, you mainly purchase by the Internet. Not many Small Presses have much of a marketing or promotion budget. Hey, they are 'small', but there again, even mainstream authors are meant to do a lot of that themselves these days anyway.
You can see where I am going with this?
The main difference is that placement on the shelves, which, let's face it, is invaluable to any author. But lately, the number of fellow authors I've seen disillusioned by being mainstream breaks my heart. Authors who once would have been carefully nurtured are now tossed aside, not just by the houses but by the numbers people. Heartbreaks where a bookstore won't order a certain novel because the last numbers were so low, but then, forgot to place the book on the shelf in the first place so the author could gain numbers? Sound familiar? Of course, there are always the horror stories and always the success stories and balancing them out is indeed a numbers game.
I'll do a write up on Artema Press in the near future, but for now, just let's say I am happy where I am.
How about you? What main advantages and disadvantages do you see in publishing today? Or do you just prefer to go it alone and publish yourself?

 


Comments

Tali Spencer
03/25/2013 9:14am

I still think traditional publishers are a great way to go. Would totally love a contract from one of them. :) But getting published by the big guys is an obstacle course. Many require writers to be agented. Those that don't can take months, if not years, to read their slush.

Getting an agent can be as frustrating as trying to get read by a traditional publisher. Unless the query shines, the book will never get read. Marketing is key right from the very start, because it takes marketing to land an agent. And they too can take months to get back to writers. I have two novels sitting with agents for more than a year. My take is if they loved my work, they'd be all over it, not let it wait until spring cleaning. So that's why I gave up on the agent route.

Meanwhile, I have had four books published already via my epubs. The sales are good and growing. Yes, I have to market and promote myself, but I was traditionally published, remember. I got nothing by way of promotion. Just bookstore placement. I have made more money in ebooks, to be honest. :-/

Small publishers can take a long time also to decide on books. But for the most part they move faster. They don't tie up writers in years of rejections. The chances of acceptance are somewhat better also. The way I look at it, I want to find a home for me and my work. If I find a publisher who treats me fairly and nicely, I settle in and become a fixture. :) I want my stories to be out there and available, not making the rounds for years on end. I'm not eighteen. I'm half dead. I want to publish lots and lots of books before I actually do die.

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Susan
03/25/2013 9:25am

What a great answer. But I particularly liked this bit : I'm not eighteen. I'm half dead. I want to publish lots and lots of books before I actually do die.
And yes, that is the point isn't it? Although most writers would write anyway, that glowy feeling I mentioned in the previous post when someone reads and enjoys our work makes it all worthwhile.
I may be impatient, but like you, I would far rather someone read my books than have them entertain the dust bunnies, who, let's face it, don't have a terrific opinion about anything. :)

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Tali Spencer
03/25/2013 11:58am

I would have been happy if an agent's dust bunnies had gotten back to me! Half the agents to whom I submitted my novels ever bothered to reply at all. What kind of business is that? "We're ever so busy people, you understand, and we want to find only the best writers, so if you're not one, you're not even worth the courtesy of a rejection." :-/

Susan
03/25/2013 12:16pm

No, I've never understood that either. No, I wouldn't want to be an agent's in-box, but many of them do write back even if it is a form letter. When they don't, it is like a slap in the face; as though you aren't even worth bothering with. The nicest one I ever 'spoke' to funnily enough was Miss Snark. Just goes to show....

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