This is a guest post by Caleb J Ross as part of his Stranger Will Tour for Strange blog tour. He will be guest-posting beginning with the release of his novel Stranger Will in March 2011 to the release of his second novel, I Didn’t Mean to Be Kevin in November 2011. If you have connections to a lit blog of any type, professional journal or personal site, please contact him. To be a groupie and follow this tour, subscribe to the Caleb J Ross blog RSS feed. Follow him on Twitter: @calebjross.com. Friend him on Facebook: Facebook.com/rosscaleb
Mr. Bosworth is fast becoming a small press staple, having authored When the Cats Razzed the Chickens from Folded Word, the amazing Grease Stains, Kismet, and Maternal Wisdom from Brown Paper Publishing, and the forthcoming Freight from Folded Word, not to mention thirty-eight bajillion stories in the worldwide small-press net, a manifesto/diary about how awesome he is, and a series of masturbatory dream sequences staring his own lingerie-clad writing (nothing is more awesome than turning an author’s generosity against him by forcing him to post tons of praise on his own blog. Thanks for the blog space, Mel).
Mel has done well for himself on the small presses. But with publishing becoming more and more destabilized and options for authors to self-publish becoming more and more prevalent, the question becomes not so much one of “which publishing route will accept me?” and more “which publishing route should I choose?”
Here, I’ve outlined a few considerations for the author who has decided not to self-publish but still needs some help choosing between small and large presses.
Go small press if…
…you are an artist and an author.
Small presses generally allow more creative freedom. If the visual representation of your work is important to you, go small.
…even you can’t explain what you write.
Small presses are generally more open to experimental work. They don’t need to meet a strict bottom line so are often more flexible with their resources.
… you only have seven friends, five of which read.
Having some form of platform is important no matter where you go. Small presses will often ignore a small or non-existent platform simply because they like your work or like you as a person.
… you have enough for donuts, and don’t need the icing.
If money is not the main motivating factor for you, then a small press might be perfect. Fewer and fewer authors, on big presses or small presses, are able to make a living as a writer, but a small press career is almost unheard of.
…you work in porn.
If you have a great day job and don’t mind keeping it, lean toward the small press.
Go big press if…
… you invented science fiction.
Commercial presses thrive on meeting customer expectations. An established genre can be a gold mine for both publishers and authors.
…you are Oprah.
Commercial presses demand a platform for their authors. If you are someone special who has done something special (and more importantly, people know of the special things you done), then you might be welcomed by the big boys.
…you have a family who for some reason feels it necessary to eat.
If you need money, I would first suggest you not become an author. If you need money and you need to write, then I suggest going commercial.
…you don’t work in porn.
If you have a shitty day job that you simply must escape, then the only real option is to try the commercial press route.