Small Presses vs. the “Big Houses” – Something for Everybody
by Diana Rubino
Writing for a small press can be a stepping stone to a career leap—or it can be your entire career. Since no author can plan on a best-selling career with a big house, pitching to the small presses can be your ticket to publication.
The independent “indie” publishers are much more willing to take chances on new writers and cultivate their talents. Sure, their bottom line is important, as it is to any for-profit business, but they don’t have the time constraints the big houses have. This gives their editors the luxury of taking more time to work with authors, and spend much more one-on-one time with them on technical details such as point of view, character consistency, and basic grammatical and style issues. Small presses also accept unagented material, so authors can avoid the Catch-22 of not being able to land an agent because they’ve not yet established a track record.
Most likely, your small press book will be POD (print on demand) which means copies will be printed only when a customer orders one. It’s up to the author to visit his/her local bookstores, and some stores will order a few dozen copies, arrange for a signing, and give your books a valuable promotional push. But most small presses run on tight budgets, and the author must take the necessary time and funds to finance a promotion; i.e., costs of designing a website and keeping it current, ads on internet sites such as BookDaily, business cards, bookmarks and other giveaways, travel expenses to signings and conventions, et cetera.
I always like to inspire aspiring authors by telling my unique story: I received my first publishing contract 18 years after writing my first novel. I believe it was my ninth written novel that became my ‘first novel’ – the first that got published, with British publisher Domhan Books (a small press). At the time I signed my first contract, it was the fastest-growing publisher in the U.S. Unfortunately, the owner suffered health problems and could no longer actively run the company, but my five-year tenure there earned me many rave reviews and a Romantic Times Top Pick award. I never gave up on my dream of that ‘big house’ contract, but continued submitting to small presses, eventually landing contracts with Dreams Unlimited, Stardust Press, Eternal Press, The Wild Rose Press, SolsticePublishing, and Sarah Publishing.
Although my agent is currently submitting my most recent works to the big houses, the small presses have been very good to me. I’ve had my backlist republished with Solstice Publishing and The Wild Rose Press, and I do promotional offers such as offering my Ebooks at discounted prices on significant dates, i.e., the anniversary of the Lincoln assassination or the end of Prohibition. The promo I do with Twitter, Goodreads and the author/reader groups on Yahoo have brought me reviews and sales that I’m happy with. My editors at The Wild Rose Press and Solstice Publishing are among the best editors I’ve ever worked with. They make my work sparkle. There’s a lot of talent out there in the small press world, and I advise any aspiring author to submit to them, because they offer great opportunities to start your writing career on the right path.
A few caveats to look out for are the vanity presses, which require that authors pay to have their books published. Some writers decide to go this route and self-publish. Of course, some of these books have become best sellers. But make sure you choose a royalty-paying publisher if you don’t wish to go the self-published route.
Small presses have always been around, but with the miracle of the internet, many more are thriving, and authors have the choice of a great variety of outlets for their work. Some specialize in certain genres. You need to do your research to find the best fit for your work. But never before have authors had such a wide range of publishers; something for every taste. Now that the Kindle and other E-book readers have come down in price and their sales are increasing, E-book sales have exploded. E-books have been around since the 90s, but never before have they been so popular.
With the outlets that small presses have to offer, so many more writers than ever before can now share their talents with the world, which shrinks more and more every day!
Fascinating! Thank you for stopping by to give us a glimpse into the different sides of the book publishing industry, Diana! :)
Readers, let's take a look at one of Diana Rubino's books, a romantic suspense/stalker thriller titled Still Crazy.
Here is the blurb.
Obsessed with ex-girlfriend, Alyssa Tyler, convinced they’re destined for each other, Clay Lynch stalks, pesters and torments her… he creeps up to her bedroom window, he follows her onto planes, he wrecks her wedding by abducting her. His arrest and prison sentence assure her he’s finally out of her life… until his remains are found in the desert and she receives a haunting text message. Is he now stalking her from beyond the grave?
And here is an excerpt from Still Crazy.
She brought her
car in for servicing the next morning, parking in his lot next to a red and
white taxi. Her mechanic called her a little after two. “Your car is ready,
Alyssa. Hey, do you know you have a GPS tracking device attached underneath
shook her head, baffled. “I have a GPS in the dashboard, but not under the
“Oh, yeah, you
do. This is a tracking device. Somebody has a GPS and a dot will flash on the
screen to show your exact location, as long as you’re within range. You want me
to take it out?”
knew who this ‘somebody’ was. She felt as if a ton of bricks clobbered her
square in the face.
Universal Amazon link: http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00YNIQXDS
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/still-crazy-diana-rubino/1122076460