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The small publisher option

#1
So it seems that people are all pretty jaded and not getting very far with the agent route.

So how about small publishers who take un-agented submissions? Who here has taken this route? Would you recommend it? Any words of advice or useful resources you know of?

Cheers
 
#2
My experience of querying, which is about 230 submission packages sent in the last two years, is that small, independent literary agents and publishers are more approachable. They're always more polite; I've had just five personalised rejections and all came from small firms. Huge publishers, that are just one arm of an entertainment corporation, are dismissive and rude.

I've queried these UK publishers:

Bluemoose Books About Bluemoose Books | Bluemoose Books

Tramp Press Submissions | Tramp Press

Saraband About us – Saraband

Salt Publishing Salt | Great books, all the time.

Gregory & Company Gregory & Company Authors Agents - Authors, Specialist literary agency, adult fiction, general non-fiction , crime novels, historical novels, literary fiction

Black & White Publishing Submissions - Black & White PublishingSubmissions - Black & White Publishing

Legend Press Legend Press • Legend Press

Small, independent publishers are prepared to take risks and have achieved outstanding results. Wyl Menmuir's The Many, published by Salt, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

An alternative approach to getting your book published is to try crowdfunding. Paul Kingsnorth did fantastically with his The Wake after it was backed by potential readers on Unbound. The Wake

Good Luck!
 
#4
I went that route and am in the process of taking my rights back. The issues are not about honesty - my publishers were nice, ethical people - but what markets they access, what they will do to market your book or help you market it, how they feel about promotions, how their pricing aligns with the market. Boring stuff like that matters. Do your research - and good luck with whatever path you decide to take.
 

AgentPete

Capo Famiglia
#5
Pat is right. You really need to be able to identify exactly what a smaller publisher can bring to the table before you commit to them. All too often, they expect the author to market their own books (um, so do larger publishers, too frequently).

If they specialize, have access to a good pool of potential readers, and really seem to know the market - good. Otherwise, not.
 
#6
Thank you @Paul Whybrow, that's a great list. I appreciate you sharing.

That's really useful advice regarding the marketing aspect. Thank you. @Carol Rose, isn't this the route you've taken - and very successfully from what you say! So what does your publisher do with regards to marketing and publicity and what should we expect to see from a prospective publisher? Thanks.
 

Carol Rose

Guardian
Staff member
Ambassador
#7
I'm not sure how "small" Evernight is, at least in the romance community. ;) They're one of the largest digital first publishers of romance now. I suppose compared to The Big Five they are small. :)

As far as marketing, they take out ads on sites that do reviews of romances. They have a newsletter that features the newest releases, and upcoming releases. They have a blog that's updated a fair amount with new releases, and features of series, etc. They have a very active Facebook page and update it throughout the day with releases, blurbs, teases, reviews, and any contests an author is running on their own. All I have to do is send material I'd like posted to their marketing manager, and she gets it on the Facebook page.

They post the same promotion to Twitter and other social media sites. Oh, and they have a full time marketing manager. :) She finds promotions for us to participate in, and takes care of promotion in the way of Amazon specials and other avenues. They try new ones to figure out what gives their authors the largest sales for the money. If we find one on our own, they pay for half the cost, if there is one.

They also have a review coordinator who sends our books out to about a dozen sites for review.

They don't send too many books to print, but if we have a signing coming up, they will work with us to get a book or two in print so we have something to take to the signing.

Overall, it's far more than Siren ever did for me, and I was an "exclusive" author with them. And, it's as much, if not more, than any other digital first publisher of romances is doing out there right now.

I can't really speak to what anyone *should* expect from a publisher because I have a very narrow margin of experience. But it never hurts to ask what they do for their authors, so you can compare them to others you've asked as well.

Hope this helps! :)
 
#8
Thank you @Carol Rose , that's very interesting.

By 'small' I'm referring to any publisher that accepts unagented submissions as a matter of course. (I know some of the others occasionally have open submission windows). Are your contracts with Evernight though an agent or do you negotiate them yourself?
 

Carol Rose

Guardian
Staff member
Ambassador
#9
Thank you @Carol Rose , that's very interesting.

By 'small' I'm referring to any publisher that accepts unagented submissions as a matter of course. (I know some of the others occasionally have open submission windows). Are your contracts with Evernight though an agent or do you negotiate them yourself?
I don't have an agent. :)