Indie publishers

9 April 2012 / Leave a Comment
While many publishing houses' doors are shut, with door bitches demanding entry only via a literary agent, there are a number of independent publishers that have a friendly 'submissions are welcome' sign on their door.

Somehow, late last year, I came across Transit Lounge press - an independent publisher in my home town of Melbourne. It was the first time I had read the term 'independent press' and after some further Google searching, I discovered that there are loads of these small presses operating around the world. What especially piqued my interest was that when reading submission guidelines on these independent publishers' websites, they often stated that they were willing to take on new writers and sometimes had the capacity to publish books that mainstream publishers would not usually take on. Eureka!

Take Pantera Press - they say: 'We welcome unsolicited submissions. We don’t have a slush pile. Instead, we see unsolicited manuscripts as a diamond mine. And we are finding a few gems.'

I spent a few evenings trawling through SPUNC the website of the Small Press Underground Networking Community in Australia. I went through every members listing, looking for publishers that publish fiction. I then visited their websites and made a shortlist. If they had a daggy, badly designed website, they were out. And who said they didn't judge a book by its cover?

I sent my manuscript off to Transit Lounge and Sleepers Publishing

A few weeks later, I received a standard rejection email from Sleepers, and a few months after that a lovely email from the publisher at Transit Lounge saying that while they weren't able to publish my book at this time, he believed that it certainly does deserve to be published.

I also made a shortlist of independent publishers in the UK from the Independent Publishers Guild website I sent my book to Citizens House Publishers (although they have a pretty ugly website, I really liked the name 'Citizens House Publishers' - it sounds so sophisticated. It was actually the most random submission of mine yet - as they are a Czechoslovakian press based in London ... go figure), still no answer from them, and unlikely there will be one! I also submitted to Rickshaw Publishing (received standard no way email), Holland Park Press (thumbs down email again) and Snowbooks (failed to respond).

Today I have discovered a couple of new Australian indie presses that look interesting (thank you Twitter, Facebook and Google):

Rag and Bone Man Press (Extra points for their beautifully designed website)

O&S Publishing

MidnightSun Publishing
I loved their introduction: 'MidnightSun Publishing has grown out of a disenchantment with the established publishing houses in Australia. We know there are plenty of fabulous manuscripts about unusual topics floating around, but publishing new and unknown writers poses a big risk. MidnightSun is prepared to take that risk.'

So its good to keep an ongoing list of publishers to target. As who knows, as one door shuts, another one may open...

Rowena Wiseman writes literary fiction and children's stories. Her novel Searching for Von Honningsbergs was longlisted for the Australian Vogel Award in 2007 and has been published as an ebook on Screwpulp:*=info&id=70



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