Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Publishing With a Small Press

Getting your work published has never been easy. For a period of time it got progressively harder as many of the mid-sized presses were purchased by the bigger ones in an industry consolidation.

Happily, the entrepreneurial spirit is strong in the writing community and a wealth of small and indie presses have sprung up. That does mean that the quality of work has diminished. Just that there is a bigger market than ever for good work.

I have had the pleasure of meeting and speaking at length with several publishers from these smaller presses. Some of the conversations have come at conventions and others through my “Get Published” podcast.

What they have all told me has left me very encouraged. In essence, an author can get his or her book published in paper format and/or eFormat and have the same level of distribution (or virtually so) as the big presses.

There is, perhaps, a higher level of involvement for the author with a smaller press; the author might have more say in things like title, cover art and so on. In my opinion, that’s a very good thing. Where you might suffer a little (note I said, “little”) is in the actual promotion of your book.

Even there the difference is not so big between the big and small press. Unless you are an a-list author (Grisham, Rowling, King), chances are good that you will have to take a lot of the promotional duties into your own hands.

That’s why, when I first started showing my book around, I focused on the smaller presses. I wanted to have the experience of seeing my creation go from manuscript to published book. I wanted to have more say in how it will be presented to the world.

It’s not that I’m a control freak. Far from it. I simply wanted to grow my understanding of the industry from the inside and work my way out. That way, when big six presses start knocking on my door (can you say, “Optimistic”, anyone?), I will be better positioned to make the most of the opportunity. That is, assuming that going with a big press is even a good option at that point.

How has it been so far? My publisher has been great. She has always been available when I had a question. It is taking a while to get the book finished, but publishing is slow no matter the size of the publisher. I’ve also had some creative input for the cover too. And, my publisher has even been helpful with the book I’m planning to self-publish.

It is a partnership for us. If I’m successful with the self-published book, it will help the other and vice-versa.

I strongly recommend any writer to go with the smaller press. The experience has been fantastic for me.

Michell Plested is a writer, blogger and podcaster. His first book, “The Mystery of Lake Chulala, An Outcast Club Mystery”, is due out in September, 2011 as a self-published book and eBook and his first contracted novel, “Mik Murdoch, Boy Superhero” is scheduled for release in Spring 2012 from Five Rivers Publishing.

His podcasts include “Get Published” a podcast about writing (available on iTunes) and “GalaxyBillies” a science fiction comedy (available on iTunes and Podiobooks.com).


  1. Delighted to see Michell Plested and 5 Rivers get together.

  2. I really enjoyed Michell's podcast novel Galaxy Billies, and I look forward to his other titles. I can't wait to have one of his hard copy books on my shelf and read them to my kids. This was a great post, thanks for sharing Mike! Always fun to see a little behind the scenes.