Thursday 21 August 2008

Independent Publishers

There is a reaction to the narrowing of the market amongst the big publishers, where it is becoming very hard to get your work even looked at. Lots of small independent publishers are appearing. They find it harder to get their books into mainstream bookshops and they have less contacts within the industry. The public and those who take an interest in literature are slightly suspicious of them. Yet they do all the same work as a normal publisher. They’re actually an ideal outlet if you’re doing something a little unusual. They edit, copy edit, work with printers, set the book up, have relationships with distributors, deposit with the legal deposit libraries, do some publicity. The author must be prepared to do some of the footwork themselves. Also, if you do eventually become involved with a mainstream publishing house, they may frown at possibly slow sales. If that is bearable, this may be the way to go.

I have four of my books with Willow Bank Publishing, under their imprint Butterfly. They have done everything correctly and the first book out, The Lombardy Grotto, looks good. I’ve promoted it myself, like mad and it’s done okay but isn’t exactly a best seller yet.

Publish America is another and has had a lot of bad press. However, I’m very pleased with what they have done with my Nick’s Gallery. They do produce the books without any charge to the author, but leave the promotion mainly up to you.

A friend of mine may be about to be published with Pegasus Elliot Mackenzie. You can’t fault them on being a traditional publisher and they are completely upfront about the likelihood of sales being slow. They don’t ask for payment. Their web site looks good.

All of these are better than self-publishing or subsidy publishing. Their books do tend to be more expensive than those of mainstream publishers. That isn’t always a bad thing. They lead to a book on a shelf. They will probably allow you into the Society of Authors. Most importantly, they may allow you to produce something which is not what the mass market wants but for which there is nevertheless a market.

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