The following are my notes from Beth Jusino’s class entitled, “Publishing Facts and Fictions with Beth Jusino,” which I attended at the 2014 PNWA Summer Writers’ Conference. If you’d like to learn more about publishing from Ms. Jusino, I highly recommend her book, The Author’s Guide to Marketing (available on Amazon).
Option 2: Niche Publishers
Smaller houses that produce 25 titles per day are staffed by 1-3 people. A lot of them are listed in Writer’s Market. These are often niche publishers that are looking for specific kinds of books. Sasquatch, here in Seattle, for example, is great with locally-themed books.
Just like with restaurants, it’s a good idea to do your homework before publishing with a small publisher. Do you trust that publisher? Do you like their cover art?
As we get fuzzier lines in the publishing industry, it’s important to always ask that question: “How am I going to make my money?” Small presses don’t always pay advances, but they usually pay royalties. They often do not require you to work with an agent.
Selling 3000 copies from a small press is often considered a success.
Small publishers don’t usually advertise outside their catalog, but “bigger” small publishers do a bit more to market your book. A small publisher will expect the author to do most of the footwork.
The majority of their marketing dollars are spent on a booth that goes to a librarians’ convention rather than buying an ad in the New York Times.
There are success stories from small publishers. When a beautiful, well-written book finds the right audience, it can be a surprise success.
However with a small publisher, a lot is riding on just a few people. In a small press, if the publisher has a catastrophe in his/her life, it can affect your book’s umph. So bear that in mind when choosing a publisher.
(I’ll continue with Beth Justino’s presentation next week, breaking down each of the different options for publishing in the 21st century. Come back next week to see Option 3: Self-Publishing.)