I signed with my small press publisher, Immortal Works, in July of 2019. This happy day finally happened after 6 months of rejection from literary agents. Look, I know this where some people stop reading this blog post because 'she shouldn't have stopped querying agents at only the 6 months mark,' but I was emotionally and mentally drained. At first, I didn't want to query the small presses because, well...they were small and wouldn't fulfill ALL my hopes and dreams as an author. Yes, I subscribed to those catchy, swingin' tunes of My Book Must be in Brick and Mortar Across the Planet, I Am Nothing without an Agent, and my personal favorite, If Stephanie Meyer Had a Cameo in Her Movie, Then So Will I! But, then I started to notice something on social media - videos of authors unboxing their author copies, pictures of authors at their own book signings, and Tweets of sheer joy from authors who had received glowing reviews from readers. I was jealous of these authors (who I started to casually stalk on social media) and was shocked to discover that they were published through...wait for it...small press. (gasp!) My goal from the beginning was to get published, so I changed my tune. And if you're still not sure about small press, then here are 5 reasons why you should give them a try:
1. No Agent Required
For many, but not ALL small press publishers, that agent is NOT required. Just make sure your query letter is spectacular and your sample chapters are fiercely edited. Even though an agent isn't required for submission, small press houses are still super competitive.
2. You Will Be a Published Author
Need I say more? You don't need a big 5 publisher to make you a published author. Small press can do it for you too. You will have a beautiful, physical copy of YOUR book in your hands that you can finally sell to friends, family, and readers.
3. Eliminates the Self-Publishing Headache
There are those of us who love the challenge of navigating self-publishing and those of us who really just want somebody else to edit and format our 300-page book for us. Yes, there are plenty of tools and services out there to make self-publishing less of a headache, but I appreciate the ease of not having to bother with this part of the process. Most small press (NOT hybrid, which asks for a fee upfront) should provide free editorial services, cover design, copy-edits, formatting, and some marketing.
4. Those 'Big 5' Authors are Still Your Friends
I'm so grateful for the other authors I have met on my publishing journey and a ton of them have agents and big house publishers. We are each other's biggest cheerleaders and nobody has ever turned me down for collaboration because my book is small press.
5. More Say in Cover Design
My publisher's designer asked about my ideas for my cover and she surpassed my expectations. Bigger publishers may have their own ideas about your book cover and will produce what they think to be the most marketable.
To end this brief post, here's a list of small press pubs, compiled by author, Morgan Shamy. As always, use your best judgement when it comes to small press and reach out to other authors for help/advice if something doesn't feel right to you & check out Writer Beware.