Publishing with a Small Press–Part 3–Choosing a Publisher

Posted Mar 16 2009, 3:31 am in , , ,

Choosing a Small Publisher (ePub)There are a mind-boggling amount of small presses in cyberspace. Each day brings several new ones. At the same time, several existing presses close down and leave authors without a home for their books.I’m going to assume you have a preliminary list of publishers you’re considering.How does a person go about choosing the small presses that they wish to submit their works to? First of all and foremost: RESEARCH. RESEARCH. RESEARCH.I can’t stress this enough. Here are some great ways to find out about a small press that nterests you:

  • Google them. Do a web search on this publisher. Read
    everything you can find.
  • Check out their website and contact authors published with them. Include authors not just at the top of their bestseller lists, but at the middle and bottom. Most authors will give you the straight scoop if you ask the right questions. If one author expresses displeasure with a publisher, but the majority love that publisher, don’t put much weight on one disgruntled author. If you find several unhappy authors, I’d approach with caution.
  • Run a business background check. Several Internet companies will do this for you for about $25-40. You’ll need to be able to find the publisher’s name and a physical address in order to do a background check. Checkout now just the company but the owner.

If they pass your initial background check, consider what you want from a publisher. Some questions to consider:

  • What kind of distribution do they offer?
    • Are their books available from major distributors, such as Fictionwise, MobiPocket, Amazon, Baker and Taylor, Ingram Book Group.
    • Do they offer print books? If so, are they available through major distributors such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble?
  • What do they offer financially to an author?
    • Do they pay an advance? This is very rare in ebooks and not a necessity.
    • What percentage of sales does the author get for each book? What do their books sell for?
    • How often do they pay royalties? Can you find out if they
      pay on time?
  • Do they offer any type of promotion?
    • Do they have a marketing department? A few small presses
      do have a marketing person available to assist authors?
    • Do they offer any free promotion, such as advertising?
  • What do you think of their website?
    • Is the website attractive, easy to navigate, quick to
    • Go through the process of buying a book. Is it
      straight-forward? Or is it confusing and awkward?
  • What about their publishing process?
    • How many months/years out are they scheduling slots? How
      long do you want to wait to see your book in print?
    • What do you think of the quality of their editing? Buy a
      few of their books and see for yourself.
      • What is their editing process? Do you get to work with
        the same editor all the time or do you get a different editor for each
        book? There are pros and cons to each. It depends on your preference.
    • Can you get a copy of their contract?
      • How many years is your book under contract? Five to
        seven seems to be the average.
    • How do they handle reviews?
      • Who’s responsible for soliciting reviews? Do you need to
        send your own book out for reviews? Do they send to a group of reviewer
        for you?
    • Are you provided with free copies for contests and to
      submit for reviews?
      • How many and what kind?

When I was doing my research, I made a spreadsheet of which items were important to me. Then I checked off which small presses offered what I wanted.From there I read their submission instructions and submitted to the ones that interested me.I hope this series has been useful to you. Please let me know if I’m missing anything or if you’d like me to cover other topics in the future.

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