GIVEAWAY: Small Presses vs. the “Big Houses” – Something For Everybody

BUY: A Bloody Good Cruise by Diana Rubino
Small Presses vs. the “Big Houses” – Something For Everybody

by Diana Rubino

Writing for a small press can be a stepping stone to a career leap—or it can be your entire career. Since no author can plan on a best-selling career with a big house, pitching to the small presses can be your ticket to publication.

The small independent publishers are much more willing to take chances on new writers and cultivate their talents. Sure, their bottom line is important, as it is to any for-profit business, but they don’t have the time constraints the big houses have. This gives their editors the luxury of taking more time to work with authors, and spend much more one-on-one time with them on technical details such as point of view, character consistency, and basic grammatical and style issues. Small presses also accept unagented material, so authors can avoid the Catch-22 of not being able to land an agent because they’ve not yet established a track record.

Most likely, your small press book will be POD (print on demand) which means copies will be printed only when a customer orders one. It’s up to the author to visit her local bookstores, and some will order a few dozen copies, arrange for a signing, have posters designed and give your books a valuable promotional push. But most small presses run on tight budgets, and the author must take the necessary time and funds to finance a promotion; i.e., costs of designing a website and keeping it current, ads in magazines such as Romantic Times, business cards, bookmarks and other giveaways, travel expenses to various conventions, etc.

I always like to inspire aspiring authors by telling my unique story: I received my first publishing contract 18 years after writing my first novel. I believe it was my ninth written novel that became my ‘first novel’ – the first that got published, with British publisher Domhan Books. At the time I signed my first contract, it was the fastest-growing publisher in the U.S. Unfortunately, the owner suffered health problems and could no longer actively run the company, but my five-year tenure there earned me many rave reviews and a Romantic Times Top Pick award. I never gave up on my dream of that ‘big house’ contract, but continued submitting to small presses, eventually landing contracts with Dreams Unlimited, Stardust Press, Eternal Press, the Wild Rose Press, and Moongypsy Press, where I’m now Acquisitions Editor.

The small houses have been very good to me, I’ve cultivated a following, and the ads I run in Romantic Times and their reviews have brought me sales that I’m happy with. My editor at The Wild Rose Press, Laura Hogg, is the best editor I’ve ever worked with, and we’ve become friends and crit partners. She makes my work sparkle.

There’s a lot of talent out there in the small press world, and I advise any aspiring author to submit to them, because they offer great opportunities to start your writing career on the right path.

A few caveats to look out for are the vanity presses, which require that authors pay to have their books published. Some writers decide to go this route and self-publish. Of course some of these books have become best sellers. But make sure you choose a royalty-paying publisher if you don’t wish to go the self-published route.

Moongypsy Press ( accepts nearly all genres, and we consider unagented material. Our guidelines are on the website. We’re open to new and established authors, and have a very talented staff of editors. We pay royalties based on net sales, and do not ask authors to pay any publishing expenses.

Small presses have always been around, but with the miracle of the internet, many more are thriving, and authors have the choice of a great variety of outlets for their work. Some specialize in certain genres. You need to do your research to find the best fit for your work. But never before have authors had such a wide range of publishers; something for every taste.

Now that the Kindle and E-book readers have come down in price and their sales are increasing, E-book sales are exploding. E-books have been around since the 90s, but never before have they been so popular. Look around on a commuter train and you’ll see many passengers absorbed in their E-book readers.

With the outlets that small presses have to offer, so many more writers than ever before can now share their talents with the world, which shrinks more and more every day!

QUESTION: What 3 historical figures would you most want to have met?

For a chance to win this book please answer the question above and leave your email address, so that we can contact you if your name is picked out as the winner!
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Good luck and thank you for your support!

Competition is open to all and closes: 9th November 2010
Winner announced the next day. 
While you are here, don't forget to enter the M.J. Rose competition below! 

October 2010
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  1. My choice would have been Winston Churchill, Elizabeth I (Tudor Times) and Issac Newton (he studied at Cambridge University!) Oh, and if I could have one more...Caroline Norton (Victorian campaigner for women's rights).

  2. Thanks for your comment, Brita. An interesting selection. I think the Prince Regent would be a great man to meet. I can't help thinking of Blackadder's comedy version played by Hugh Laurie. Do you get that over there?

  3. BritaAddams3:10 am

    I will have to check BBCAmerica. I love Hugh Laurie. We get him in House, sans the accent. I've seen him in several British movies though.

  4. hewella11:02 am

    I would love to meet: Queen Elizabeth 1, George Washington, and Cleopatra.

  5. Good choice! Hewella! Thanks :)


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