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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How Low Can You Go?

Short post today, I just have a question for you literary geniuses out there.

I've often heard the advice to not overlook small presses.  I understand the intent behind this advice, but my question is

How small is TOO small?

Is it a matter of personal preference?  Are there industry-standards or thresholds we should keep in mind as we research smaller publishers? Is it a number of books sold? Is it the length of time in business?  Are some small presses just one step away from self-publishing?

I suspect there might be such a thing as too small (for me anyhow), but I'm not sure where that distinction lies.  LOVE to hear your input!

(okay I asked way more than one question...didn't realize how many others were lurking beneath the surface)

11 comments:

Nicole MacDonald said...

can't comment on this I guess *grin* I'll be interested to see the responses :)

The Arrival, only .99c on Amazon
www.damselinadirtydress.com

Jolene Perry said...

Small enough to want to work with you. Big enough to put out FABULOUS stuff.
At the very least, I didn't query any of the huge agencies out there. Well... maybe one or two...

Damyanti said...

It is too small if it asks you money to publish you:)

Also too small if it does not have a proper editorial team, or a respectable list of published works. Small presses that have built a reputation for choosing original, quirky and unusual stuff can be an excellent choice for publishing one's work.

Jessica Bell said...

I ditto Damyanti. Also, too small for me is if it's only Print On Demand (find if it ends up being POD, but an initial proper print run is good), and/or they only make it available to buy online. Check out if they have any books in independent book stores. A reputable SMall Press should have that kind of information on their site.

aspiring_x said...

i know nothing about different size presses so it will be interesting to keep an eye on these comments!

Jules said...

If you visit the shop and you see a monkey turning an antique copy machine handle... give the monkey a banana and kindly tell you are lost :)To small.
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

My publisher is considered small, but they were great to work with.

Nicki Elson said...

Well...I'd say it depends on what you want. At a bare minimum they should have a good editing team, graphic design department, and a stable of books you'd be proud to stand amongst.

If you're looking to be in bookstores right away, then the field narrows. Many small publishers print in small quantities, which means the cost of printing is high---so after the book stores take their cut, there's not much left for anyone else. Also, with many small publishers, the legwork to get into a book store is pretty much all up to you.

Clarissa Draper said...

In this testy publishing time, I think small publishers are the way to go. I like the fact that many publishers are making the writers do a lot of work, I think they should know the publishing game inside and out. Why? Because we don't know what publishing will be like in five years from now. If you have an editor, don't rely on them, if you have a graphic designer do your cover, make up mock designs just for fun. Learn along the way.

In all honesty, I have no idea.

Susan Fields said...

I'm glad you asked this question. I've never really considered it, so it was great to read the comments and hear everyone else's thoughts.

Stephen Tremp said...

In this economy small pubs may be the best way to go. You do what you have to do, then try to make that next step up the next time around.