This episode was originally published here
Podcast: Play in new window | Download | Embed
What is the difference between a small and large publisher? Should you go with a small publishing house?
This has been one of our most requested topics on the show, especially after:
How the Publishing Business Model Works
- Acts like a VC fund. Taking big risks looking for big pay offs.
- Those risks are funded by the backlist.
- HarperCollins owns the rights to C.S. Lewis’ backlist. They also own Zondervan among other Christian Imprints. C.S. Lewis’ books fund the risks Zondervan takes on new books.
What is a small house?
- Traditional publishing house without a lot of money.
- Little to no evergreen backlist
- Little to no bestseller frontlist
- Often use the same tools indie authors use (print on demand, freelancers, etc.) but they do it for you.
- Often they are started by a successful author or agent who wants to help her friends get published.
- Often run by a single charismatic founder who manages most of everything.
How a small house is different from a medium size publishing house.
- Medium houses are very similar to big houses in most respects.
- The big difference between large and medium is the size and sales of the back list
- Big houses poach authors from medium houses all the time. In fact, that is the primary strategy of one of the top houses. They treat the medium houses as their minor league feeder teams.
- Small houses are different. If medium sized publishers are like the minor leagues. Small houses are like the local church softball league. There are no talent scouts in the bleachers, only friends and family.
- One way to tell a small house from a medium house is by how old it is. It is hard for a small house to last for a decade. They either get bigger or die off.
- Another way is by the size of the advance.
- Your agent will tell you.
Small House Pros
- Easy to get selected. Gate keepers are less picky
- Some expertise. Rolodex of freelancers
- No money out of pocket
- Prestige of going with a traditional publisher.
- Access to competition
- Small houses sometimes give authors a bigger cut of ebook royalties.
Small House Cons
- Tiny budget. (Even if your book shows potential, they can’t drop $50k in promotion to help you hit a bestseller list.)
- Small Advance. It is not uncommon for small presses to offer triple digit advances.
- No Audiobook Production. They lack both the money and the expertise.
- No placement in physical bookstores.
- You only make between 75¢ and $1.50 per paper book.
- You lack control over the cover, typesetting, marketing, etc.
- You get no marketing data
- No marketing spend
- You can’t control the price of your book
- No financial stability (small presses go out of business all the time)
- Small houses are overly dependent on one person. (Scandal, sickness, death, or business of that one person can kill your book)
- You get paid slowly if at all
- In most cases going with a small publisher prevents you from ever going with a big publisher.
- For most small publishers, you get the worst of both traditional and indie publishing.
- Small publishers have become in my mind the new vanity publishing.
But that is not to say that small presses are always a bad idea.
Small Publishers Make Sense When The House Has
- A strong focused brand. (Enclave)
- A passionate following. (A Mega Church Press)
- A popular literary universe you get to write in. (Sterling And Stone)
Small Publishers Make Sense When the Author
- Is successful in one genre but wants to write in a second genre under a pen name.
- Just has one book they want to write and can’t afford to independently publish.
- Is not concerned about money, sales, or impact.
- Wants access to the focused group of fans of the small publisher.
- For most authors who are considering a small press, I recommend either working on your craft and platform more so you can attract a medium sized press or going indie.
Sponsor: Christian Writers Institute
The Course of the Week:Literary Agent Bundle
Normally we feature an individual course, but today we are featuring a course bundle.
Mistakes New Writers Make by Kathy Ide
Explore the biggest mistakes writers make and how you can avoid them. A four-part video course.
The Ten Enemies of Good Writing by Rene Gutteridge
The better your writing, the easier it is to find an agent.
The 10 Ks of a Good Book or How You Can Make 10k on Your Next One! by Steve
Steve talks about what makes for a good book. This talk is also a special glimpse into the mind of an agent. Find out what they are really looking for.
Do I Need an Agent? by Steve Laube
Find out what an agent does and why you need one for your career. Not all authors need agents.
The Publishing Process by Len Goss
Learn the process of turning a manuscript into a book.
The Elements of an Effective Book Proposal by Steve Laube
Create a book proposal that gets noticed! A complete audio presentation. Plus BONUS materials including book proposal templates and examples.
How to Sell Everything You Write by Bob Hostetler
Learn Bob’s special approach that ensures he sells everything he writes.
Redeeming Rejection by Steve Laube
Perhaps the most powerful talk in this whole course. How you handle rejections defines your character as an author.
The Power Book Proposal by David Horton
Engage an editor with a powerful book proposal for both nonfiction and fiction.
How to Use The Christian Writers Market Guide by Bob Hostetler
This is a key tool for finding an agent. Learn how to use it from the man himself.
This bundle is an entire writers conference worth of lectures. But unlike a writers conference, it doesn’t cost $500. It is normally $85, but for the month of October you can get it for 70% off! That brings down the price to $25.50. Use coupon code “oct2019” at checkout or click the link in the show notes.
If you are listening to this after October has passed, you can still use coupon code “podcast” to save 10% or click the link in the show notes to activate the coupon code automatically.
The post 048 The Pros & Cons of Small Publishing Houses appeared first on Christian Publishing Show.