Friday, May 7, 2010

Publishing -- Part 2 -- Small vs. Large Publishing Houses

This subject is near and dear to my heart. I hail from a small publishing house. Though I definitely can’t speak for all small houses, nor can I speak to all large publishing houses, I definitely can pull from my experience, research and the conversations I’ve had with other authors.

(Enter – the main character – the heroine)

My journey has taken me in the direction of the large publishing house. That is where I want to be. I have my reasons for wanting this avenue, but for the newbie, you can weigh the options for yourself.

From my last blog, I made reference to being a “real” published author. This is a bona fide kicker. So the burning question is: What makes a "real" published author? Does it all come down to size? How big is your publishing house? What size is your print-run?

Yes and no. I have a friend who is with a small company here in Winnipeg and she is thought of very highly as an author. Her books are readily found locally. She is definitely a “real” author. I too was with a small company, and I’m definitely a “real” author, though, at times I felt the sting of the “real” author doubts. But here is the difference -- the company I dealt with is American and not known in Canada. This created a dilemma for me. Though my publishing company was just as good as the one here in Winnipeg, the unknown seemed to be too much for some.

Okay, let’s look even deeper. Another quandary for the small house is the global market. Not many of the smaller houses have that far reach and tend to be more local. Course, I am talking physical paper back books here. Cuz, for instance, the books of my friend and I are available online and can be purchased anywhere. But, if no one is aware of you, how will they know to look for you?

(The plot thickens)

So let’s think about this. Big publishing houses can offer you:

1. a bigger global market;

2. book tours; and

3. farther reaching recognition.

Sounds good, right? Not so fast. There are a few strings.

1. more often than not, bigger publishing companies don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts, so you’ll need an agent;

2. one author I spoke to was put on a book tour, but it was fairly limited. The economy affects us all, it would seem. On his own, he stopped off in cities that weren’t on the tour to expand on it – and it really paid off for him. So, even with the support of a larger publishing company, you must be prepared to go that extra mile for your own career. So, this tells me that if you have the misconception that once you’re picked up by a large publishing company that you can just sit back and enjoy the ride, you may be in for a rude awakening. You will have to work really hard to promote yourself and your book – of course, self promotion would be expected with a big or small publishing company; and

3. with the bigger companies comes bigger expectations of you. Go big, or go home, as they say.

(The climax)

So where does that leave you? With a huge decision. Even more so here than in the previous blog I posted, your career goals become the focal point. Where do you see yourself? Just on the local front, or something far grander? How much time you willing to invest? How hard do you want to work?

So we've come full circle. It's all up to you. Take your time. Weigh all the options. Do your own homework (I can’t stress this enough). Things are constantly changing out there. And, decide what is best for you.

Then take a deep breath and jump in with both feet, cuz once you sign on the dotted line – you’re in for a wild ride!

(The end)