A small press or publisher is defined as publishers that are not part of large conglomerates or corporations. Sometimes referred to as an “indie publisher” or “independent press,” these book publishers typically publish fewer than 10 titles per year and have annual sales below $50 million.
Most new or aspiring authors want to get a “big” book deal, which means they want to sign with large publishers that can offer them a sizable advance. Their motivation is usually getting money in advance and/or the prestige. What these authors overlook is the opportunity to get a “real” book deal with a small press that can produce a competitive, quality product that will ultimately attract their target audience and even a bigger publisher.
Most big publishers work through literary agents to find new authors or books. Even then, the likelihood of getting an agent for an author’s first book is highly improbable without social connections or clout. Many authors who fail to retain an agent or get that “big” book deal, give up or decide to use a subsidy publisher (require payment by authors or a minimum purchase of copies). If an aspiring author truly has a good book, he or she should not consider either option. However, these authors should pitch their book ideas to a small press or publisher.
Here are the advantages:
- They specialize in specific genres or niche markets, so they are very familiar with that audience, which will be reflected in the packing and promotional efforts.
- They are not vanity presses, so they select only the best, most marketable books. This means they typically have established a reputation in the industry for their books, which benefits the author.
- They fill niches that larger publishers often neglect, such as regional and novelty books. So, your how-to book on ice cubes could get on the shelves.
- The working relationship is more personal. Thus, the author may get to know and communicate with the entire staff.
- They represent the best opportunity for a talented, new author to break into the book publishing business. They are one of the best places to start because some small press publishers offer a small advance and have a stellar reputation.
- They work with developing an author in book marketing. The author will work more closely with these publishers in deriving specialized marketing ideas and plans, so the writer will be better prepared for his/her subsequent books. The author will, in fact, come to recognize promotional opportunities, as well as how to create them.
- They produce best-selling titles, too.
If you think a good small press would work better for you, contact us at email@example.com or review a list of these publishers in Literary Marketplace.