IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond. In my duties as human spell checker and minor editing details, I've read some terrific posts that are going to make this book very special. It's a great way to get your name out there in the nonfiction market too. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for being the creative genius behind the idea and the leader in bringing it all together.
I was very busy last week editing a book for my romance publisher, New Concepts Publishing. It was that final read through to search out any misspelled words or misplaced commas. I always take my time with that because it's so easy for one's eyes to skip over those when you're reading a book for the fifteenth or so time. Every time I go through the editing process I appreciate my small publishers more. When it comes time to submit your book to a publisher you have to decide whether to go the small press route or submit to one of the big traditional publishers. Many, probably most, of the published authors I know are published by small publishers. Working with a small publisher puts your career on the marathon path more than the quick sprint to glory path.
Many small publishers offer either no or very small advances. If you're looking for dollars in the bank as a measure of success, you might not get that immediately with a small publisher. The income may be spread out over years and slowly build up to equal the advance you might have received from a traditional publisher. Earnings come strictly from royalties. If you receive an advance from a publisher, they will keep a reserve of earnings toward paying back that upfront money. Unless your book sells well, the advance may be the only money you ever see from the book.
Small publishers are likely to pay your a greater percentage on sales than a big publisher. Most will pay 25-40% on digital books. A small publisher usually lets an author have more say on cover design. A big criticism of traditional publishers is the length of time between contract and the actual publication date of the book. Small publishers having a much shorter turnaround time. I usually expect six months or less from my romance publisher.
Often small publishers are started by a writer who loves books and authors. When working for such a company the author can develop a very personal relationship with the owner, the editors and the other people working in the small company.
One of the dangers of a small publisher is that they can go belly up. I went through that a number or years ago. That bankruptcy clause in your contract will not prevent your books from getting tangled in the legal process. It can take years to get your rights back. It's important to investigate a small publisher before trusting them with your hard work. Also with a small publisher you're less likely to see your book on the shelves at the local B&N but most bookstores will arrange booksignings if you want to do them. When it comes to promotion, both small and big publishers expect most of the work to be done by the author.
So I'm involved in a marathon of a writing career. No big advance checks but I'm slowly developing a small steady income from the three small publishers I work with. Looking for a small publisher? Here's a list of 700 book publishers. Here's another list of the top 101 Independent book publishers. You might find something you like.
Are the other advantages you can think of for authors pubbed by smaller companies? What do you think is a reasonable percentage for authors to earn on their published books? Have you prepared your post for Wednesday's IWSG?