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Small to Mid-Range Publishing Companies

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Old 09-05-2010, 12:59 PM
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Default Small to Mid-Range Publishing Companies


What are people's thoughts on small to mid-range independent publishing companies?

Over the months, as I'm querying agents, I'm beginning to believe that my work isn't "mainstream" enough for an agent, that they don't feel confident they could represent my project because of the market, or that it'll be too much work to cram it into what the public supposedly likes (or big name publishers' ideas of what they want to put out on the shelves: i.e. big money makers).

Anyway, after my upcoming final round of agents, I'm thinking about querying small to mid-range publishers. I'm comfortable with this idea; however, I want to make sure I'm not selling myself short (and no, no pun intended here). I'm first going to query Ace/Roc, Baen, and DAW, and possibly Tor. And if those come up dead ends (they might only take agented work), I'm thinking about (in order of preference):

Pill Hill Press
Elder Signs Press
Bell Bridge Books
Leucrota Press
Reliquary Press
Snowbooks
Arctic Wolf Publishing

. . . among a handful of others. Does anyone know anything about any of these publishing companies? Any experiences with them, good or bad? I don't want to 1) sell myself short, 2) be taken for a ride, or 3) lower my standards (like a good rescue dog, my project deserves a decent home).

So . . . thoughts? Give me the lowdown, even if it's a kick in the teeth. One warning, though, I might sue for the cost of my dentures.

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Old 09-06-2010, 02:24 PM
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I guess nobody here has much experience with any of them. That's too bad, because I was looking forward to seeing an answer.

It might help, if you're seriously interested, to contact some of the authors published by them. In this day and age, everybody has a blog or a website (or both), so it shouldn't be too hard to find out.

But as with anything, I'd always go for the big boys first, and see what happens. If you run out of major publishing houses or literary agents, then go ahead. But if you're serious about not selling yourself short, then don't give up on the big names until they've all said no. That's my opinion, anyway.
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Old 09-07-2010, 11:38 PM
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Hey Devon,

Here are my thoughts:

1) It's incorrect to assume that agent's do not take mainstream or only "commercial" works. Different agents target different sections of the market, and therefore it's not about commercial works, it's about where their focus of business lies. More often than not, agent's will do that.

2) I'm curious as to what makes you think that if the big publishing houses cannot sell your work, then the small ones can. After all, the bigger ones have more clout, and far more variety. Besides, the publishers you mentioned, Tor, and the others, are mostly just imprints of the bigger publishing houses. Tor is an imprint of McMillan.

3) Agents do not only sell to the big publishing houses. Sure that's what you hear because most often they hand out the largest advances. (Because they can.) But a lot of their work consists of selling to the mid size houses. There are agents who actually specifically target these houses. They do this because they know the smaller houses are more focussed on one genre, therefore, they're more likely to take on your work, and even more likely to know how and who to sell it to. And also, yes, most of them do accept only solicited work. It's only the small and start up publishers who accept unagented work. Well, at least for the most part. One or two of the bigger players do accept unsolicted manuscripts but those are sort of like different schemes, and it's a bit round about. A lot of variables here.

For example: McMillan accepts unsolicited manuscripts under their "New writing" scheme which is only for previously unpublished authors. Check them out here: http://www.panmacmillan.com/Features...%20information

By sending it to the mid sized publishers, you're not selling yourself short. There are a LOT of variables to consider. And frankly, if you want me to give any more inputs on this, I'm going to need more specific info. What is your project about? What's was your query letter? Which agents did you send to? How many did you send to? When did you send it to them? Is this your first novel? Did you send a generic letter? Did you follow the submission guidelines? ~ I could go on and on. But suffice to say, please give me more specifics if you want any more inputs from me on this.

I've been around the query block quite a lot of times to let you know that it's not a simple question of writing a letter and sending it out. There are FAR FAR too many variables. And all those variables need to match in order to get your work published.


Cheers,

Best of regards,

Ananth.
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Old 09-08-2010, 12:22 AM
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Pneuma Springs Publishing Ltd.

It does what it says on the tin. They're honest and work to strict deadlines.

I have been with them for three years, after being shunted around the 'publisher/agent' merry go round.

They may well be worth a try, as I know that they are always on the lookout for fresh talent. Be advisedf though, that they are NOT vanity press, and will not simply take any or all writing.

Good luck.
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Old 09-12-2010, 06:01 AM
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Devon, I don't know anything about those particular small presses, but I wanted to say that I intend to submit my book to a local small press first, before going the more traditional route of the NY houses. I've seen them have enough success with local authors that I want to give it a try.

I think JB Stone gives excellent advice above, to study up on some of the authors they've worked with, and maybe contact them. I like to study the back stories, you know - like the one author here who inspires me the most was able to quit his day job in 6 months after his first book was published. Since then, he's cranked out 1 - 2 books a year, and they get better with each book. That's my dream, and I think if this local small press can do it for him (and a bunch of authors like him, actually) they may be able to do it for me. (I'm referring to Brandon Mull and Shadow Mountain Publishing, by the way.) I found all this out on-line. Most of it right off of the author's blog.
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Old 09-12-2010, 07:32 AM
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I think the most important thing is to know the audience you're writing for. Then target publishers who sell to those audiences.

The same holds true when dealing with agents. They don't make money if you don't make money. So, first and foremost, they're looking at the marketability of your work. If you can sell them that you have an audience, they should be able to sell a publisher.
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Old 09-12-2010, 03:39 PM
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Whoops! I'd forgotten I even started this thread. I'm sorry, everyone! Lol! I'll read through the comments and give mine in kind. Thank you in advance for responding.
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