You did it! Finally, your manuscript is finished! Months, possibly years of hard work and eventually, it is done. You rewrote, edited, and reshaped this baby more than anyone else knows. You poured your heart and soul into this project. You gave it everything–every spare moment, every tiny bit of creativity you could squeeze from a jam-packed schedule. You incorporated feedback from beta readers. Put down your pen, your work is done.
Deep inside, you are certain your manuscript has wings, you just have to let it go. So, what’s the next step? Send your manuscript to literary agents? Cold call all the big publishing houses you’ve discovered on Google? Send your work to your favorite publishing house, and look for ways to kill time during the long wait? Consider self-publishing? Or gasp, vanity publishing? People, there is another way.
Gather in close. Listen carefully, while I share my take on how to get published as a first-time, green about the gills, author.
Reality check: you know you’re not going to get rich off your books, right? There’s only a few J.K. Rowlings or E.L. James or Dan Browns. Anyway, it isn’t earthly riches you seek. It’s the ‘P’ word. That’s right, for you, it’s all about publication. Publication is tangible proof that someone other than your mother believes in you. Publication is proof you have talent. So much so, that a publisher is going to take you on–invest in you. They’ll shove cold, hard cash behind you. They’ll invest in you–in your manuscript–in the words you’ve sweated over, cried over, poured your life’s blood into.
Forget big publishing houses. They’re your future, but maybe not your today. Forget literary agents, for now. Now is your season of the small, independent publishing house. You will meet passionate, highly-driven individuals. They will rejoice in your potential. You will form strong working partnerships. Small independent publishing houses will become your home: they will be the birthplace of your publication dreams.
The Top 10 Benefits of Publication with a Small, Independent Publishing House
- Independent publishing houses have a shorter production process than traditional publishing. Small press can launch a book within six months.
- Author contracts offered by small publishing houses generally have more generous terms and authors can be offered higher royalties.
- Small press work hard to form close working relationships with their authors. Independent publishers often take time to nurture authors. Signing authors requires a significant investment from the publisher so they go out of their way to help authors establish themselves within the industry and to develop their author platforms.
- Authors have more scope for input into the production process with small publishing houses.
- Small press typically have fewer books on their catalog which means they promote their books for longer. Independent press is motivated to foster their titles.
- Small press is better able to take risks than traditional publishers. They are uniquely placed to push genre boundaries, change trends, and bring books to market that would never normally see the light of day by traditional routes.
- Historically, traditional publishers pull back on marketing after the first six weeks of a book’s release. Small press continues to market their catalog for months and years.
- Signing with a small publishing house provides mentoring opportunities. Small press may commission you to write another book and may help you to develop your writing abilities.
- If you sign with a local independent publisher, you will have plenty of face-to-face contact with your publisher.
- Independent press have direct connections with their buyers, readers, and enjoy close relationships with their distributors.
So what are you waiting for? Go on. Submit your manuscript to an independent publisher. It could be the first step in establishing a flourishing business relationship with small press.
Disclaimer: I am not a literary marketing specialist. I’m just a writer who dreamt of publication since the days I played with my Barbies. I want to show you, nay, I want to inspire and motivate you to chase down your publication dreams. Good luck! You can do this!
PS: My debut book, Jenna’s Truth is published by small press, Serenity Press.