We started this blog series to get the information about small presses into the writing community. Today's the last day of Small Press 411, and I think we accomplished our goal, don't you, Jennifer?
I have to agree, Danielle. There so much information here that just isn't available on the rest of the interwebz! At least not all in one place!
I keep thinking about the last three weeks and all the information that we gathered. There's a lot here. I mean, if I didn't know anything about small presses then I would now. What are the three top things that stood out to you, Jennifer?
Top 3! It's so hard to choose! Okay, here I go...
1) When Heidi Kling said: I had an offer from one of the Big 6 for the first book (which was, essentially, the first three installments of Spellspinners), but went with Lisa [at Coliloquy] because of the innovative way she'd publish my series. As a planned 10-book series, is not insignificant.
An author making the decision to go with a small press over a Big 6 publisher because it was a better fit for that book. Not only is that (and I hate this phrase, so forgive me) outside the box thinking, but I think we'll be seeing more and more of this over the next few years as people realize that for some projects a small press really is the best fit.
2)When Kate Kaynak said, When we first started signing authors, none of them had agents, now more than half of our authors do. Many of them got their agents after signing with us for the first book--getting that first big break with us made agents take them more seriously.
Because it is SO true. Having publishing credentials, especially with a reputable small press, is a nice way to let a potential agent you're the real deal. If you can say you were published with Entangled, Spencer Hill, Coliloquy, Month9 or Luminis Books, odds are you're a professional and you know how the publishing business works. Don't underestimate that!
3) When agent Victoria Marini said, If it’s a small press with a good track record, skilled & enthusiastic editors, and a compromising attitude, I’m excited. But if it’s a press with a catch-all approach to rights (film, translation, merchandising, audio, first serial, etc.) or they refuse to negotiate any of their points, than I’m probably less likely to jump on that boat.
YES! This. A million times this. Everything depends on the individual press. Do your research!
I think my top three were:
1) When agent Jessica Sinsheimer said, “The choice between a large press and a small press is often like the difference between an enormous university and a small college. It depends on the sort of experience that is the best fit for the writer." Because that’s totally what it is—and I went to small college, so maybe that’s why I love it so much.
I still talk to a couple of my professors, and it’s been almost four years, so that’s a difference. I remember being in college and telling a friend how I would spend hours in my advisor’s office talking about nothing and ranting and obsessing over every little decision and the friend, who went to really large college, said “Wait, your advisor knows your name?” That’s completely what it’s like, and it’s a great analogy
2) When publicist Jaime said she makes herself available practically 24/7! “I think that we have become one great big family who loves our authors and supports them fully.”
I pick that one because it’s true. I’m about to be published with Entangled and Jaime is my publicist so when I have questions, Jaime is around to answer them. I get the same experience with Cindy at Spencer Hill. Both of my presses as an author give me that always around and available feeling. And, as an editor, I try to do the same for my authors. It’s really important to me on both ends, so it's good to know that it's the standard for others.
3) Agent Julia Webers’s response to misconceptions about small presses. “I think there are writers who think that small presses are not as good as bigger houses. That's not true. They can (and do) publish books with the same (or at times even more/ better) dedication, professionalism and quality as bigger houses. They just don't have the same resources. Sure, they have a tighter budget when it comes to advances, publicity, marketing and advertising — but that doesn't make a small press any less worthy."
I don't think I need a reason for this one because Julia said it all herself and I want to shout it from the rooftops.
All in all, I think this was a success. It seems the consensus on small presses is do your homework, know what you want, and trust your instincts. I think that's really valid advice.
I'm so glad we were able to put this together and get this extremely valuable information out there. Thanks so much to Danielle Ellison for letting me be a part of this awesome series. She's got some really exciting things coming up, like SALT, this August and FOLLOW ME THROUGH DARKNESS, next October!
Thank you so much for joining as we de-mystified small presses! Thanks also to my lovely co-organizer, Jennifer Iacopelli -- and make sure you check out her book GAME. SET. MATCH. in May!
Please pass along this tool to other writers, because #SmallPress411 exists for you. Speaking of, we want to hear from you.
What things will stick with you from the series? Did any of the information surprise you? Was anything you thought about small presses proved wrong--or right? Did your mind get changed (or at least opened) to the truth and potential about small presses?