Self-publishing, usually through Amazon, seems to be the latest hot thing, displacing getting a book accepted through the Big Six publishers. But there’s an alternative between those two that people tend to overlook: publishing through a small press. Our own founder David Rothman had his own book The Solomon Scandals published through a small press, for example.
Another author who published through a small press is Liana Brooks, who has an interview on indie fantasy author Lindsay Buroker’s blog discussing the book she chose to publish through a small e-book press instead of publish herself. The book, Even Villains Fall in Love, seems to be another one of those super-people-marry-and-settle-down stories that have emerged as post-modern takes on superheroes have become popular. It sounds fairly entertaining from the description, actually, and at $2.99 for 93 pages is fairly tempting.
Brooks chose to go with a small press publisher because it didn’t require the up-front expenditures and risk involved in self-publishing, but still offered decent royalties (albeit not as much as she’d make from Amazon) without the risk of not earning out an advance from a larger publisher.
She also notes that the fact that the book is a novella played into her decision:
Not-So-Secret-Secret: E-publishers love novellas! The whole idea of word counts by genre are expectations built by the limitations of print. E-books don’t have the limiting factors of paper and ink costs, so word count is just another way of measuring length for the reader.
This seems to fit with what The Atlantic says in a recent article about a revival of novellas. Though it mostly covers Melville House’s issuance of a line of novellas in print, it points out that e-readers are making the traditional problem with printing something that long-yet-short a thing of the past.
Brooks discusses the experience of working with a small publisher, and what they were able to do for her in terms of editing, promotion, and cover art. She is very satisfied with the experience, and though she is going to try for a big six publisher for a future novel, she would not mind at all publishing with a small press again.
I found Brooks’s experience interesting, and it is very much worth remembering that your choice in publishing a work is not limited to either big six or going it alone. I expect that small press publishing could be beneficial for a number of people who can’t publish through the big six for one reason or another but don’t want to deal with all the work needed to do it themselves.