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 Self-publish v small press

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Al Stevens
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Al Stevens

Number of posts : 1727
Registration date : 2010-05-11
Location : Florida

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PostSubject: Self-publish v small press   Self-publish v small press EmptyTue Feb 22, 2011 10:32 am

Research into contemporary publishing suggests these three models:

  1. Traditional
  2. Small press
  3. Self

(I intentionally left out vanity/subsidy press publishing.)

The first model is the big-time NY publisher one. And that's all I have to say about that except that I've been there. This discussion is concerned with the second and third models as applied to printed books.

I have read here in discussions and in at least one book written by a small press publisher that:

  1. Small press publishing is for authors who have low expectations for sales. Think hundreds of copies sold at best.
  2. Most sales of small press published books are the result of efforts made by the author to promote the book.
  3. Books from small press publishers will not be reviewed in major publications.
  4. Books from small press publishers will not be sold in brick-and-mortar bookstores.
  5. Books submitted for small press publishing must have already been proof-read and professionally edited.
  6. Promotion and distribution services are available to authors of small press published books, but at a cost to the author.
  7. Small press publishers use POD to minimize inventory costs.
  8. Rejections by small press publishers include no reason for the rejection other than that the work "isn't right for us." (Same as with agents.)
  9. Small press publishers pay only token advances.

So, it seems that, except for items 8 and 9, which would not apply, if you were to substitute "self" for "small press" in the above list, you'd have the same list.

Which begs the question:

What are the advantages to choosing a small press publisher over self-publishing?

I can think of three:

  1. The author does not need to know how to navigate the POD waters.
  2. The author does not need to know how to format a book and design a cover.
  3. The author does not need to understand and acquire an ISBN.

(Those are not rocket sciences. But if they are to you, the choice is clear.)

Are there others?

This is not intended to be a discussion of who the good guys and bad guys are. We've already got that elsewhere. I am seriously interested in your informed opinions based on experience or anecdotal evidence. I know many of you have been there. I have not. I don't question or judge your choice. I want only to understand all the parameters.

Inquiring minds and all that...
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Number of posts : 8594
Registration date : 2008-12-29
Location : Florida

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PostSubject: Re: Self-publish v small press   Self-publish v small press EmptyTue Feb 22, 2011 10:54 am

Some small presses have gained a following for their authors, a target market. Also, Indie bookstores are more favorable toward authors from small presses than self-published authors. Booksellers will vet a book from small presses for sale in their inventory. Some small presses have excellent distribution channels for the print and ebooks. Some small presses do provide some basic news releases, web site coverage, book sale promotions, etc. Some provide excellent editors as part of the publishing process. Some do explain why the manuscript is rejected. I had a dog story rejected because it lacked, I lack humor :-(

Some small presses have an "author camaraderie" that does help get books into the blogs, review cycles, etc. They also combine resources for book fairs and ads.

There is a prestige factor, depending on the small press and their reputation that is slightly higher than self-publishing.

To me, the best time to self-publish is for a book that you can distribute at presentations and seminars. Then, there is no need for a publisher or any of the above items.
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Number of posts : 3
Registration date : 2011-09-22
Age : 42

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PostSubject: Re: Self-publish v small press   Self-publish v small press EmptyThu Sep 22, 2011 1:53 pm

So, I see. These are the differences. Contemporary publishing after all presents wider options than I thought.
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David Griffiths

David Griffiths

Number of posts : 16
Registration date : 2009-09-26
Age : 86
Location : Pensacola, Florida

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PostSubject: Re: Self-publish v small press   Self-publish v small press EmptyMon Oct 03, 2011 2:35 pm

Latest book sales revenue from the Association of American Publishers:

· Paperbacks down 63.8%;

· Hardcover down 25.4%;

· Ebooks up 167%.

Amazon now sells more copies of e-books than paper books. The sheer volume of self-publishing is pushing ebook prices downward. The 99 cent novel and short nonfiction, like it or not, are here to stay.

The average sales for traditionally published books is 500 copies (Publisher's Weekly). Traditional publishers have had to cut back on staff; therefore, the difference in quality between traditionally published and self published is diminishing.

The publishing industry is changing rapidly. Self-publishing and ebooks are rising; traditional publishing is declining. CreateSpace and Amazon have leveled the playing field by offering Self-published authors book detail pages that are identical to the book detail pages of traditional publishers.

Self-publishing advantages:

· Your book will be published! You can hold a copy in your hand.

· You retain all rights. If your book sells well on line, you can even go with a traditional publisher.

· You have more control. You decide what it will look like, how much it will cost, what size it will be, and how it will be formatted.

· Short turnaround time. If your manuscript and cover are ready, you can be published in days. With a traditional publisher, it is more apt to be 6 to 18 months.

· No long term contracts. You always have the option of going in a different direction.

· You make more money per book. With traditional publishers, you make around 6 to 10 percent of the cover price. With self-publishing, you should make around 30 to 40 percent. You also get paid more quickly.

· Simplicity. When your files are ready, actually publishing your book is quite simple. Revisions and second editions are equally simple.

The advantages of having a small press do the hard stuff are obvious; but think of the pride and confidence you will gain from knowing you can write and publish a book anytime you want.


Last edited by David Griffiths on Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:47 am; edited 3 times in total
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Abe F. March
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Abe F. March

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Registration date : 2008-01-26
Age : 81
Location : Germany

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PostSubject: Re: Self-publish v small press   Self-publish v small press EmptyMon Oct 03, 2011 11:38 pm

Good points Dave.
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