Bird Face Wendy

Things relevant to reading, writing, publishing or marketing teen fiction.

Marks of a Good Small Publisher

on March 22, 2015

redhighheels  More often these days, authors are turning to small traditional publishers rather than waiting and hoping a large one will take notice of them. Both varieties can and do produce quality books. And as long as you don’t take for granted that size is the only difference, you can benefit in many ways by selecting a good small publisher.

But how can you recognize one that will meet your needs? Are red shoes a clue? Maybe.

Look for signs that demonstrate a desire to get her small press and its authors noticed. Some of these indicators are the very actions that agents, editors, and publishers stress for their authors to perform–all the time.

Does the publisher regularly tweet and retweet her authors’ book news? Does she share information about her authors’ accomplishments, events, and blog posts on Facebook? This is basic stuff important to the success of everyone involved, and something you can check out before querying.

Organized team-building by the publisher and friendly cooperation among its authors are other features to seek. With a small publisher, you will likely have a close relationship with the owner or executive editor because the staff will be small (perhaps one person). Does the publisher maintain and participate in a special Facebook group in which its authors communicate easily as a team? Does the publisher encourage authors to promote one another or ask team members to select from specific marketing duties? Do you see cross-promotion by its authors on Twitter?

Small publishers usually have little to no budget for marketing, but many owners attend writers conferences and do public speaking to promote their presses. You should ask if copies of your book would accompany her to such events.

Each time I read a book, I look for the name of the publisher. If you’re a writer, I’d bet you do too. If the publisher is small, research it online to see if it might be right for you. I hope you find that gem of a small publisher like I did in Write Integrity Press.

What do you write? What is on your particular wish list for a small publisher?


6 responses to “Marks of a Good Small Publisher

  1. shawn says:

    Hi, thanks for sharing! I have just started writing my first book. It is a work of non-fiction dealing with recognizing and promoting good character. I plan to self-publish this work and give it away in an attempt to influence better character in our world. My second book is a work of science fiction that is still very much in it’s infancy. This and any future books, I plan to check out small publishers, but will probably self-publish it as well, unless I find a really great publisher. Things I would look for in a publisher would be a good reputation, honesty, excellent social media presence and connections with cover designers and editors.


  2. Thanks for starting the conversation, Shawn. Many of my author friends self-publish, and it seems right for them. I wish you the best! Character-building is one of my goals in writing fiction for young people, and I hope to see your work of nonfiction in print someday soon. It’s admirable that you plan to give the entire book away, but I have something for you to think about.

    If you post/give it free (in segments or all at once), it proves successful, and then you want to find a traditional publisher for it, many specifically state in their guidelines that they are not interested in publishing a book that was previously a freebie or was self-published. So I wonder if you’ve considered posting or offering a few single chapters or parts that convey the essence of the book and entice readers to purchase the entire book, which might serve you better in the long run while serving the public as well. Your thoughts?


  3. faylamb says:

    Cynthia: I’m one of those writers who gets to work with you as a team at Write Integrity. An excellent post, and you shared so much about our wonderful editor-in-chief and all that she does. We’re all working together (as we learn) and that’s what this is all about. The authors at Write Integrity are not just “other authors” who write for the same publisher. They’re my teammates, and my friends, and we are friends with our editor-in-chief who has faith in us and shares it through her social media, the conferences she attends, etc. The best compliment we ever received occurred at a large event where several of our authors gathered. We overheard murmurs in the crowd, “There goes Write Integrity Press …” as we walked through the exhibits together. Now, that’s when you know you’re a team.


  4. That must’ve felt wonderful, and I hope to be with you in person for such a moment someday! I’ve already experienced some of the teamwork and warm support beaming from Write Integrity Press. And with everything she has on her plate, our publisher/editor-in-chief has found the time to personally make me feel welcome and special. Thanks for stopping in, Fay!


  5. Pat Dyer says:

    You hit the nail(s) right on the head! Great job, Cynthia!


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