How to choose a good small press

10 November 2014 / Leave a Comment

I recently had to part ways with one of the small presses that was publishing one of my books. It was a tough decision to make, but I’d been feeling uneasy about a few things for a little while. I asked to be released from the contract and luckily they agreed.  However, it’s a stressful situation that I don’t want to find myself in again, so I’m going to be more careful about who I send future manuscripts to. Here are some of the things that I’ve learnt from now working with three small presses about how to choose a good one:

How to choose a good small press:

1. Dig deep into their website. Go past the aesthetics ... Is it up to date? How do they showcase their list? Are their blurbs well written? Do they have cover endorsements? Would you like to see your own book on there?

2. Make sure you like the look of their book covers, as you’re likely to end up with a similar designer for your book.

3. Ensure they use professional editors. If they won’t edit your book, you may as well self-publish.

4. Look at their social media networks, make sure they have a good following. Check that they’re promoting their own authors on these channels and they are positive and articulate in their posts.

5. Stalk them. Check out key personnel on LinkedIn to see if they have a background in publishing at all. Editors or anyone who has worked in publishing get a big tick from me, so would someone who has a background in marketing or publicity. Make sure they haven’t had twenty different small businesses in the last five years.

6. If they mention the author paying money for anything, run. Fast.

7. Do a search for them on Writer Beware or Preditors & Editors.

8. Check out how their other authors are doing with reviews on sites such as Goodreads or Amazon.

9. Find out how they distribute their books. Many small presses use print on demand and make their books available through wholesalers like Ingram, but this is quite different to using a distributor to get books into actual stores.

10. Investigate how innovative are they? What are they doing differently to promote their books? How engaged are they with the literary community?


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