Veronica Bartles, author of The Princess and the Frogs, gave an informative presentation Saturday at the From Dreaming to Doing 2017 MD/DE/WV conference about the differences between publishing your work at a small press vs a large press.
She began by listing a few things to the audience that I think every writer (and illustrator!) should think about:
- Figure out where you want to go.
- If you do not know where you want to go then it doesn’t matter what path you take (just think about the cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland when Alice asks what path she should take)
- WHAT DOES SUCCESS MEAN TO YOU?
She then went on to listing the differences between the two types of presses.
- Niche market or specific audience. This is good if you have a VERY specific type of book that may not work in a Large Press.
- Individualized attention.
- “Family” feel. Basically everyone knows you in that small company and you have like a sibling rival feel with the other published authors there.
- Innovative marketing. You’ll be pretty much marketing yourself.
- No agent required.
- Advance and royalties. Some have a higher royalty rate, some don’t even have them.
- Also, make sure to know your contract inside and out because the small press could own your rights one day and then they might go under the next day and STILL have the rights to your book despite not existing anymore.
- Expanded market, which is great for a wider distributer.
- Perceived status.
- “One of the gang” feel, like you are now with the “big kids.”
- Powerful marketing.
- Agent required.
- Advance and royalties.
- Again, pay attention to contracts. Every press is different!
As for picture books, a bigger press would be a better option so for me I would not go with a small press.
Bartles ends on this note, “Whatever path you’re taking, make it YOUR path, not someone else’s.”