Tag Archives | small press

A most peculiar day…and book.

This little story would’ve been ready for a bright and early post today but Sunday morning we drove to the ocean for one last hurrah before school starts.

And it rained in sheets and curtains – and any other kind of way that is also a home furnishing that you’ll most likely only find in books. The windshield wipers were going like crazy and every mile we wondered if we were plain ole nuts for driving an hour and a half when we might have to turn around and go home.


We took a big risk because of the potential of something good happening.

Thirty minutes from Hampton State Beach. Still pouring. Buckets. Like the large gallon paint buckets.

Ten minutes away: extremely cloudy but no rain.

We pulled in to find about ten cars in the parking lot and a host of seagulls perching on the roofed picnic area. But no rain.

We managed to get on the beach, low tide, and found the wide expanse almost completely ours. It was incredible. The water was a high of almost 70, warm enough to lounge in the waves with just enough sun peeking through the clouds that we weren’t cold.

We stayed a good five hours! Total blast. Sandy, tired, exhausted but exhilarated we packed up to go home. Five minutes. FIVE! After we left the parking lot it down poured! People were sprinting from the beach in masses, huddling under any kind of overhang they could find.

Pretty amazing day.

Okay, but that’s not the real reason I didn’t write this post Sunday night. I was wrapped up in a book that I didn’t put down until I finished it. It was that good. A great plot with some literary writing that led me from paragraph to paragraph. One of the most unique books I’ve read this year.


Try it. You might like it. (And is it true that Tim Burton might be directing the movie? Can’t wait!)

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One author’s decision to go with a small press (and her fantastic cover!)

Please welcome Kell Andrews to my blog. She’s my publishing sister with Pugalicious Press and after her cover reveal I invited her to talk about her decision to go with a small press. I absolutely love the cover and can’t wait to read the book!

Why I Chose a Small Press

My debut middle-grade novel, DEADWOOD, will be published later this year by Pugalicious Press, a new small press that is releasing five new titles in its first year of publication. I didn’t start out my publication journey with small presses in mind, but I’m convinced I found the right place for my book.

A few years ago, I had an agent and all the big dreams that go along with that – maybe a six-figure deal from a Big Six publisher. It didn’t happen. My agent and I parted ways. I wrote another middle-grade novel, which turned out to be DEADWOOD, and I felt that it was better than my first novel had been. But when I queried it, I had some close calls, but no offers of agent representation.

So then what? Trunk it? No. I felt that it was a good story that deserved a chance to reach kids. Self-publish? Maybe. A lot of self-published e-books are breaking through but from my observations, the middle-grade market still seems to lags. Younger readers haven’t adopted e-readers as widely as adult readers, and children’s novels still have to pass muster with additional gatekeepers. To get into readers’ hands, a middle-grade novel needed the support of parents, librarians, teachers, and reviewers.

To win that support, I thought I needed a publisher, and that’s why I began researching small presses.

Small Presses: The New Midlist?

The heated discussion seems to be the issue of traditional publishing versus self-publishing, but small presses are hot too, snapping up books that once would have been on a bigger presses’ midlist.

Certainly all small presses aren’t the same. There is a wide range in the category — new and old, tiny and mid-size, traditional, e-only, and POD. Some offer advances, and some don’t. Some are genre specialists, and others are literary fiction vanguards. Some are open to unagented submissions, and some are closed. Some have great bookstore distribution, and others sell chiefly online. Inevitably, some will grow into the big presses of the future (look at the growth of Entangled!), and others will disappear. And yes, there is a range of quality in acquisitions, editing, marketing, and covers, from the highest standards to strictly amateur.

I studied my options and sent my queries.

Finding a Home

When Pugalicious offered, I was thrilled. I loved their artwork, their narrow focus on middle-grade and YA adventure, historical fiction, and fantasy, and their emphasis on building relationships with reader communities.  It was a match for DEADWOOD and for me.

I’m realistic about what being published with a small press means: my book will have an opportunity to reach readers. I have a gorgeous cover and an expert editorial and marketing team behind me.

I also know what it doesn’t mean: I probably won’t be in the major bookstore chains and big box stores. But you know what? A Big Six publisher is no guarantee of B&N placement either. The playing field isn’t even, but at least I have a chance.

And next time? Well, another book is always another story.


Kell Andrews writes picture books through middle grade. DEADWOOD is her debut book for young readers. Visit her at kellandrews.com or operationawesome6.blogspot.com.


DEADWOOD by Kell Andrews

Coming from Pugalicious Press, December 15, 2012

There’s something evil in Deadwood Park.

Twelve-year-old Army brat Martin Cruz hates his rotten new town. Then he gets a message from a tree telling him it’s cursed — and so is he. It’s not just any tree. It’s the Spirit Tree, the ancient beech the high school football team carves to commemorate the home opener. And every year they lose.

But the curse is no game, and it gets worse. Businesses fail. Trees topple like dominos. Sinkholes open up in the streets, swallowing cars and buildings. Even people begin to fade, drained of life.

Martin teams up with know-it-all soccer star Hannah Vaughan. Together they must heal the tree, or be stuck in Deadwood Park at the mercy of the psycho who cursed it.

Add it on Goodreads:


Thanks Kell! What a great post! Kids are going to love this!

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Four steps to purchasing Indie books successfully.

I’m so excited to celebrate Indie authors this coming Fourth of July!

But first we have to find them. Read on to find out how!


It doesn’t matter what forums I go to the debate of self publishing is there, constant, whining like a mosquito in my ear.

“I stay away from free books.”

“Writers self publish because they couldn’t make it traditionally.”

“It’s all crap.”

This might be true in some cases. But the Indelibles wanted a way to change the stigma, to show that great Indies or Self Publishers – whichever you prefer – exist. So we created this INDIEpendence Day event to showcase these high quality books.

You can read all the rules and sign up at the Indelibles. We’d love for you to join us! And it can be a self published or small press book. What a great way to pay it forward and show the love!

How to sift through all the books and find the nuggets.

  1. Go to a traditional or self published book you love on Amazon. Click on the customers also bought and scroll through. Usually the self published books are 4.99 and lower but not always. I’ve also found some on Pixel of Ink, my Twitter feed, book bloggers, the Amazon free lists and paid lists…etc.
  2. Download a sample to preview later or click on the book and read the first pages. You know your tastes and the style you like.
  3. Read the reviews – specifically the 3 and 4 star ones. Look for the constructive criticisms not the rude ones. Are the downsides something you don’t mind?
  4. Purchase or don’t purchase. It’s that simple.

Of course, no matter how a book is published we might love opening pages and the reviews and then halfway through the book lose that lovin’ feeling. But in the opening pages you should be able to tell if the writing is up to par and a style you’ll enjoy. I know this process is really simple but by following it I’ve enjoyed almost every single self published and/or small press and/or traditionally published I’ve purchased.

So if you’ve recently read a small press or self published book I invite you to join us in paying it forward. Sign up here. And everyone who participates will be entered in for a prize. There’s a nifty Linky Link way to sign up!

How do you find books?


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