Today my guest is publisher Billie Johnson. Find out what she has to say about the advantages of serious writers publishing with a small press.
Just Like Random House, Only Smaller…..NOT!
Setting aside the obvious elements
of authors and books, there are few similarities between indie presses and the
biggies. I think authors would be better served if they mastered these
distinctions. Like many relationships, a successful author/publisher relationship
hinges on managing expectations.
We’ve all seen the fact lists
contrasting large and small publishers, so let’s focus on what I see as the
primary one…duration. Perhaps there is an inverse relationship to the size of
the house and the length of time your title will be its focus….the bigger the
house, the shorter the time your title has to make its mark?
At Oak Tree Press
, we plan for a
year of active promotion, whereas major publishers compress this into a short
few weeks. Plus, we expect the author to be a vital part of the process. Our
goal is to separate the career writer from the hobbyist, identify those with a
long-range vision of their book-business path, then support them in our system.
Our guidelines outline OTP’s
posture on authors and promotion, and advise that the query cover the high
points. We check an author’s visibility on the Internet, the social networking
sites. Is there a blog? Contributions to someone else’s blog? A website? A newsletter?
This is all vitally important to us
because, if we go forward together, OTP will be putting its resources into the
production and distribution of the title. And if we pick wrong, there are no
deep corporate pockets to pick up the shortfall. A Random House editor once
told me they expect to go big on one out of ten titles, so they accept the nine
lackluster ones. That doesn’t work for OTP, and I suspect, not for most indies.
Survival means a much better ratio than that.
Hmmm….Maybe there is an inverse
relationship for margin of error as well!!