A History of the Small Press, And Me

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At the time of this writing, the industry is ruled by thriller novels and romance.

But historicals have some unique advantages; first of all, they are a part and parcel of other genres. There are historical romances and historical thrillers. There are even historical fantasies. A second advantage is that historicals have a very long shelf-life.

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Because of the nature of historicals, they can often be considered more weighty and literary than other genres, and, depending on a whole host of factors, have great potential when it comes to subsidiary rights like film and foreign sales. This combination of advantages lends itself well to the strengths of major publishing houses. Big Five publishers can negotiate that precious front-table space in bookstores.

They can put a marketing budget behind your project. They can get you industry reviews, appearances, advertisement, and superior distribution.

Small-press comics lot from the 1980s

The question is: will they? Not all books are treated the same way by publishers.


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These factors are largely out of your control. And I cannot stress this enough: Publishing is not a merit based business. The only thing you can do is write the best, most marketable book that you can, and be proactive throughout the publishing process so that if a lucky break is coming your way, you can seize it. Sometimes even embitterment.

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But which of the big five publishers is the best one for your book? I have no idea. With big five publishers, editorial feedback can range from non-existent to excellent. Marketing and publicity support can range from non-existent to excellent. Contracts can be great and fair, or draconian. No matter what the circumstances, what I have loved most about working with major publishers is the professionalism. No matter how frustrated I have become at any juncture, everyone has behaved cordially and professionally.

I have not published with any Amazon imprint at this point, but would consider doing so in the future under the right circumstances and with the right project.

10 questions to ask before publishing with a small press

I know of many success stories, particularly from the Lake Union imprint. Amazon publishing imprints seem to go out of their way to make their authors happy with little gifts and recognition that go a long way in a profession that can be so solitary and devoid of validation.

And of course, Amazon has a number of tools at their disposal to help with distribution and visibility in the marketplace. Some small presses can push industry reviews and garner awards and all sorts of success for your book. Book packagers combine aspects of small presses and printers, but they are technically neither small presses nor printers. Small presses became distinguishable from jobbing printers at some time towards the end of the nineteenth century. The use of small letterpress machines by amateur printers increased proportionately to the mechanization of commercial printing.

Later, the advance of practical lithography made small press publication much easier. A recent burgeoning of small presses has been caused by the introduction of digital printing, especially print on demand technology. Combined with Internet based marketing, digital typesetting, design tools with the rise of eBooks , the new printing technologies have lowered the economic barriers to entry, allowing many new niches to be served, and many new publishers to enter the industry. In recent years though, the small publishers have especially made gains as big publishers have backed away from publishing literary works.

There was a strong upward trend in the number of titles published by small press and shortlisted for the Miles Franklin and the PM's Fiction Awards in the two years preceding The Small Press Network SPN , located at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne , represents small and independent publishers in Australia, which promotes independent publishing and supports diversity within the industry "as a vital component of Australian literary culture".

Founded in , it has grown to represent more than members in Australia and New Zealand. Its members include such publishers as the Griffith Review , National Library of Australia Publishing , Scribe and Wakefield Press , as well as many smaller publishers. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. It is not to be confused with Alternative media.

It is not to be confused with Indie Press Revolution. TCK publishing. Retrieved 18 April The Conversation. Journal of Australian Studies. Archived from the original on 22 October Small Press Network.

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10 questions to ask before publishing with a small press | Julian Barr

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