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Everyone agrees that the publishing industry is changing at the speed of light, but no one can predict for the individual writer wanting to get published what the best choice might be: agent and big publisher, small publisher, self-publishing.
I’m not going to discuss big publishers and their cumbersome requirement of having an agent before they look at your work. There wasn’t enough time in my life to do that for long, and this post has a similar urgency. We want to get our work out to our readers soon. Small presses are nimble enough to accomplish this.
I think it’s important to really know yourself to choose the right publishing venue. If you’re a confident and adventurous soul who prefers to chart your own course, and you like doing things by yourself, then self-publishing is for you. You can set your own schedule and decide if you want to hire an outside editor for your work. You’ll have absolute control of the final manuscript and the cover. You are the kind of person who enjoys seeking out clever ways of promoting your work, and you do this well. You’re pretty much your own writer, editor, book designer, publicist and marketer. You’re going it alone. You love it that way. No doubt for you. Aside from what Amazon, Nook, Smashwords, Createspace, etc. take, the lion’s share will be yours. And you might, like a very few others, make a boatload of money. Too scary? Try this.
Small Press Check List
When I talk to writers about small presses, I like to emphasize two things. First, not all small presses are alike. Do your homework to find out what they provide in the way of editing, publicity, or author input into cover design. Second, researching the small press is most important only after you do a truthful assessment of what you as a writer need in your publisher. Below is my recommended check list for accomplishing your writer’s self-assessment:
I am a shy person who enjoys writing. I think I’m a good writer, but I’ve been told by my critique partner or writers’ group that I lack self-confidence;
I am willing to develop a marketing plan, but I may need some help doing this. I have a presence on the web, but I know I need to do more.
My goal in writing is to write the best story I can, but I am open to making changes in my manuscript and will do so to strengthen my work.
I like the idea of being able to talk to writers in a group to exchange ideas
about marketing as well as other issues in publishing.
I’m eager to get my work published, but don’t feel I can take the steps to do
I understand I must do most of my own marketing although I would like some support from my publisher.
I need a personal relationship with my publisher, one where I can contact her and
expect a timely reply.
I need my publisher to respect my opinions as a writer as I respect hers as the publisher.
I’d like to share input about my book cover.
I’m most interested in developing my career as a writer and having a publisher
who wants to grow me as an author.
I believe any small publisher would love to have a writer with most, if not all, of these characteristics. Working with a small publisher like Oak Tree Press is a collaborative effort. This is true of most small presses. With Oak Tree the association between author and press is intimate and the other authors are supportive and friendly.
If most of the items in the checklist describe you as a writer, you might find a small press will suit your needs. It’s certain the press would see you as a writer to foster and develop as you are eager to create a platform to serve you over your writing career. It should serve your publisher and readers as well.
Do you have other items you want to add to the list?