There’s been a lot of discussion recently about the difference in Indie Publishing and Small Press/Traditional Publishing. I’d like to discuss this a little more since I am a Small Press Publisher. Let’s look at these different presses.
A Small Press, from what Wikipedia says, is a publishing company with annual sales below $50 million. They also publish around ten books a year. Their staff is usually small, with owner filling one position. Some have editors, and some have other positions. We have myself as owner/acquisition editor/editor and a lot of other things, Erin Howard as development/content editor, Pam Harris as line editor, Diane Turpin as cover designer/formatter, and last but not least, Jerry Cretsinger as financial manager. We have a small staff, but each one is important. We’re like a set of Dominoes. If one falls, we all fall. We depend on each other.
An Indie Publisher can be one person or several. You are your own editor, cover designer, formatter, and financial manager. What I find some Indie Publishers don’t do is edit correctly. Most of the Indie books I read are filled with editing errors. We all make errors, but I’ve read some that I had to stop reading.
Traditional Publishers are mostly headquartered in the large cities. They have a large staff, and your books are not published as quickly as they are with a Small Press. They do give an advance, but as with most publishers today the marketing is up to you.
The advantages of a Small Press, or with our small press, is the family atmosphere. You’re never alone because there is always someone to help you with any questions, marketing, and problems that arise. We have a professional cover designer that I feel makes the best covers of anyone in the business. I’ll put hers beside the large publishers any day. We do professional formatting using the same programs the large publishers use. We also distribute with one of the largest distributors in the world. All of our books are for sale on Amazon and the larger book stores. Most small presses do not give an advance, but give royalties instead. Small Presses are famous for taking manuscripts that the larger presses have rejected. Most small presses will take manuscripts from authors who do not have agents. I guess we take a lot of the problems of Indie Publishing away from the author.
Indie Publishers do everything themselves. I did do a couple of books Indie, and they were terrible. I hated using the Word program to publish my books. I knew there was something better out there, but my computer knowledge was not up to using them. There is a learning curve with these programs. Yes, you do get all the money, but you also have to pay for everything yourself. If you don’t get a professional cover designer and formatter, you don’t have very good books. The cover is one of the most important parts of your book. The content is the most important part of the book. If your content is not outstanding, you’ll have problems selling the book. The first thing a reader sees is the cover. You want a good cover.
People will tell you how much they made publishing their book. They may be very sharp on marketing, and you may not be that advanced. They may know the right people to help in marketing their book, and you may be lacking there. It’s not what it seems sometimes.
What is best for you? It’s you decision. If you want to do all the work, especially if you’re a hands-on person, then self-publishing is for you. If you want the support of people who you feel close to, then you need to either go the Small Press way or the Traditional Publishing way. It’s up to you. Publishing is not a cheap way to go if you do it right.