Earlier this week, a fellow author who'd written a trilogy asked me the prize question: Should I find a small press or should I self publish?
This author has ten books to her name already, but she'd recently broken up with her agent and former publishing house. No earth-shattering reason. It was just a poor genre fit for all parties. So here she is, out on her own.
You'll be proud of me. For once, I did not say "it depends". Instead, I asked her what she wanted. We went through the pros of each:
- You maintain control of every aspect of your books.
- You decide what the covers look like.
- You decide how much covers and formatting cost.
- You decide how quickly or slowly to release your novels.
- You assume all of the monetary risk.
- You're entirely on your own for marketing.
- You're responsible for every aspect of your books and some days, that's a heavy burden.
- Print versions of your book may require extra formatting, extra cover costs, and may be priced out of most readers' reach.
Small Press Pros
- A sense of legitimacy.
- A contract.
- Editors you don't have to pay for.
- You can usually leverage your publishing house mates for mutual marketing boosts.
- Most publishing houses have a marketing coordinator on staff and/or a marketing mailing list where authors can lean on amassed experience.
Small Press Cons
- You may not have a print run if the press is e-book only.
- Someone else controls the book cover process.
- Your rights are tied up for a few years.
- Some presses tie up more than just print and digital rights.
- Some presses have long publication lead times and cannot guarantee your preferred release schedule.
- Small presses occasionally go out of business and that makes a mess.