Jennifer Carson, author of To Find A Wonder, is a friend, critique partner, and a talented artist who is going places with her art and her writing. Today, she’s going to be speaking from the heart about her decision to go with a small press. Click over to her website to learn more about her.
Why a small press?
Authors choose small presses for lots of reasons. And the reasons are as different as the authors. For me choosing a small press was the best choice for me at the time. I looked at it as a stepping-stone, a way to get my voice and imagination out there to an audience wider than my critique groups and family.
To be completely honest, deciding to go with a small publisher felt a little like giving up at first. My manuscript, To Find A Wonder, had just been passed over by a large publishing house, and for no other reason than the economy. The editor loved the storyline and the writing, but felt that it would be too difficult to fight to bring a new author into the house—the economy had just bottomed out and everyone was very scared.
I could’ve held onto the manuscript and waited for the economy to bounce back, but I was ready to move forward. I’m impatient, and I had big plans for this story. So, I submitted it to two different small presses, one being LL Dreamspell out of Texas. I received contract offers from both, but decided to go with LL Dreamspell because I had other writing friends who had worked with them and were happy. The contract was straight forward and fair, I could choose my own illustrator, they weren’t going to interfere with my marketing plans, and they publishing schedule was tight. I wouldn’t have to wait two years to see my words in print. All of these things were a bonus.
From my small press I received a small advance, about 50, very nice posters of the cover of my book, 5 copies of the finished product and a press release. This may not seem like much, but other than the number of copies and the amount of the advance, I don’t think much else happens from a big house for a first time author either. Marketing has fallen into the laps of the authors.
There were a few small disappointments working with a small press: I didn’t get my illustrators name on the cover of the book, my title and name isn’t on the spine of the book, and I would’ve liked to have had more illustrations, but all in all my experience was great. The editing process was quick, and once the book was edited it came together very quickly, publishing in September 2009 instead of the November 2009 goal. And, it is a very pretty book! It is worth every bit of the $9.95 retail price.
Now that I have a book out, I’m shooting for a larger press for my next story, but if things don’t pan out the way I’d like them too, I wouldn’t hesitate to go the small press route again. For most of us, marketing is the key to gathering a reading audience.
I’ll be talking about marketing at my blog, join me there! And then head over to My Writing Journey to learn more about me in an interview! And click here for a chance to win her book!
Thanks Jennifer for sharing your heart on this timely topic. Any questions for Jennifer? Ask away in the comments box!
So interesting to hear more about your journey, Jen. Thanks for sharing her, Laura! BTW, if your readers haven’t read To Find A Wonder — it’s a great story for any age! My 7-year-old loves it!
Interesting post! I would definitely consider a small press; I understand the appeal of large publishing houses, but small presses work just as hard and care just as much about the book and author. I’m glad Jen had a positive experience!
Great post. And thanks for the reminder that promotion really is in our hands. That’s why the smart writers start social networking BEFORE they land a book deal. And even before they land an agent. For the majority, it takes time to build a following of adoring fans. 🙂
Thanks. This is an extremely worthy discussion. I think a lot of writers worry about this.
I have also heard the argument that publishing a first book with a small press may make it easier to sell a second book to a larger press, especially if the book doesn’t garner big sales.
This is a wonderful post! I hope you don’t mind me linking to it, as I prepared to tell my own “small press” story! Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂
This was really interesting! It’s great to hear from someone who’s happy with their decision to go through a small press and it seems like it was really the right choice for Jen! Congrats and I’ll be sure to check out your ‘space’! Thanks Laura!
I love seeing this part of the industry talked about. I’m so glad that you’re journey has been so fulfilling, Jen–thanks for sharing!! I think there are lots of advantages to going with a small press, and I’m so glad that it was mostly positive!!
Thanks for sharing your story, Jennifer. I have a friend who went with a small press for her first book and is very happy with the results, too!
A small press can definitely have benefits. I’m glad that Jennifer is happy with her decision. And really that’s all that really matters. I’ve heard so many horror stories of writers at big houses — so it’s no guarantee that bigger is better.
I love reading about writer’s journeys. Thanks for the post and the link!
Thanks everyone for stopping by! It is nice to “meet” you all!
So very interesting. Thanks for the interview, ladies! I can see where using a small press would feel like giving up at first but that soon the joy of having a book out there would eclipse that.
Thanks for sharing!
Great interview. I’m glad everything worked out with the small press — they’re not a bad thing! Congrats on your book! 🙂
There are a lot of people going with smaller presses who are happy with the results. I think it’s a great option, especially for first time novelists.
This was such a good window into the experiences with a small press. Thanks for the link to her site.
Great education. Thank you!