Weighing in on Alternative Publishing Options
Guest post by David J. Kirk
I would like to thank Jen and Melissa for allowing me to guest post on this great new site. Being a small press author, I am here today to talk about the benefits of publishing in this venue.
I have to begin by admitting that, yes, I have submitted to the big six (or five, or however many there are now). I also received five or six very nice rejection notices, mostly on postcards so my mailman could read them. Like many of us who have been submitting for years, my first goal was to get published, and how wasn’t a major concern. However, I started to look into independent publishers as I became more realistic.
University and small presses have had their famous authors and best sellers. The Dummies and Chicken Soup books started out this way. Plus, the independents may also be willing to take a chance on an offbeat story or an unknown author. I hear they give smaller advances, if at all, although I don’t know this from experience. However, keep in mind that advances are not bonuses; they are just what the word implies, advances on royalties. If you receive a generous advance, and your book starts out slow, it may be quite a while before you receive a royalty check.
Generalities aside, I can only speak of my experience with my publisher. I signed with Martin Sisters Publishing and my experience couldn’t have been any better. I entered into an agreement with them on April 1st and my book was released August 11th of the same year. My first expense was the purchase of my marketing copies. Editing, proof reading, cover design, and formatting were all completed by the publisher. I was highly involved in the editing process of the entire book via email. My book is now available in almost every online selling point imaginable in this and several other countries. I have also placed it in several retail outlets through buyback agreements.
While my publisher did not take out full-page ads in the New York Times, they did keep me involved in the development of my release press kit. I was allowed input in personalizing press releases to the targeted markets. I am also free to purchase copies at the wholesale price and sell them as I see fit at signings and other events.
My overall favorite aspect of small press publishing, however, is the almost family atmosphere of the whole organization. I’m never more than an email away with any question I have for my publisher. There is just no substitute for the personal attention I receive. I also have access to a group of accomplished fellow authors, my host Jen Barry being one, who have literally taught me this business. Many of us MSP authors stay in touch and help each other out with promotion.
I just can’t say enough good things about this publishing venue. I hope you give it a try. I also hope that you keep reading this blog as I’m sure Melissa and Jen have many more great things to come.
David is the author of Particular Stones by Martin Sisters Publishing which can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other online outlets. His author page and blog appear at djkirk.net and please follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. Watch for his new book Cornerstones.