Monday, November 9, 2009
Small Independent Publishers
copyright by Deborah J Ledford
First of all, let me say what an honor this is to appear on the Murder by 4 blog. I have been a follower of this unique and insightful writers site since its inception and I truly appreciate this opportunity.
When it came to publishing my debut thriller I made the decision to go with the small independent press Second Wind Publishing. Don’t get me wrong, I tried going the big publisher route, even had an agent pitching “A” tier editors at houses for the second book in my thriller series, however I grew quite tired of waiting for others to decide when it was time to be published.
The downside is that small indie’s rely on the authors to promote their own books. Authors of Second Wind are fortunate to have an excellent promotion and PR guru, the talented novelist Pat Bertram who also hosts an excellent writers blog Bertram’s Blog, who spends endless hours touting Second Wind books. Many small houses don’t have in-house PR ability.
As for what I do to create awareness, months before the release of my debut thriller I began establishing a presence on the social sites Facebook, Goodreads and Gather. The plan is to send out personal invitations to each of my “friends” on these sites, but this will take time…a lot of time—unfortunately, time away from writing—but what better way is there than to spread the word virally?
Big publishers push their authors’ new releases quickly and with a loud bang because they only have two weeks to establish a presence for these new titles. During this short timeframe their push is to get these books on bestseller lists and pay for premium space at big box stores and on front tables in Barnes & Noble and Borders. Beyond that amount of time, sales either take off or the books are shelved with the other thousands of books, discounted, or sent back to the publisher as returns. However, small independent titles have a never-ending shelf life. These titles can be touted, for years if necessary, until the writer releases a new book.
If you’re like me, I find typos in nearly every big publisher’s books I read. Another element small independent publishers and their authors have going for them is the ability to make immediate changes in the books. Files are generated in Word for the Print Proofs, therefore irritating typos can be rectified for the next print run.
Independent Presses also tend to be more open to the latest technology. My publisher offers not only printed versions of their books, but also a PDF download, all are available for the Kindle, and many of the titles are available for virtually every Portable Entertainment Device through services such as Smashwords and Mobipocket.
The biggest advantage I found in going with a small indie is the control I have over the end product. My publisher allowed me to keep the title, cover concept, and every creative element I found imperative in order to showcase my original vision. I’ve heard horror stories from writers with big publishers who have been allowed no such control—a few even had to change their name to suit their editors. As a first-time writer, when you sign a big publisher’s contract you are essentially signing over work to a board to individuals who often have a hidden agenda. In many cases you will need to undergo a rewrite that no longer resembles your true vision. Their main goal is to sell as many copies of “your” book as possible, but it is really worth the cost to the writer’s soul?
Additional to her recently published debut novel STACCATO, Deborah J Ledford is a three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize. Her award-winning short stories appear in the print publications Arizona Literary Magazine, Forge Journal literary magazine, Twisted Dreams Magazine, AnthologyBuilder and the collections “Sweet Tea and Afternoon Tales,” two Red Coyote Press mystery anthologies, and the mystery anthology “How Not to Survive the Holidays” published by the Sisters in Crime chapter Desert Sleuths.
You can visit her on the web here: Deb's Site