Is Bigger Always Better?

Recently I saw this line pop up in an email thread on the topic of self-publishing: “It is near impossible to get in with the big name publishers.”

I hate to tell you, but that’s not news. And while “near impossible” might be a bit of an exaggeration, it can be difficult. It takes a certain level of writing ability and a certain degree of professionalism to make it into the big houses. And publishing is about making money. A publishing company is not going to publish a book that it thinks it can’t sell. Add to that the fact that the big houses receive thousands of submissions a year, then yes, it is going to be an uphill battle.

Then again, if you are the right person with the right project, you might just make it.

The writer’s rationale for self-publishing seemed to hinge on the fact that it’s tough to get a book accepted by one of the big houses.

So, why not look at a smaller publisher?

There are some excellent small presses working out there today, and a small publisher has some definite advantages:

  • More author/publisher interaction
  • Books stay in print longer (a HUGE plus)
  • More input into the actual publishing process (cover design, etc.)
  • Same distribution channels as the larger houses

For example, my novel, Something Stirs, is coming out via Sonfire Media. A small publisher. The first class editing job their editor did would have cost me a lot of money had I contracted it out. The cover design, which they consulted me on, nails the book (not because of any suggestion I made, but it was nice to be asked). The editorial staff has been proactive in finding additional venues for promoting the book. And, while I won’t disclose the contract and royalty rate details, I will stack my deal up against someone with one of the larger company’s any day of the week.

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with self-publishing — unless you get on with one of those cheat you blind companies, and yes, there are a few in the Christian realm — don’t be lazy. Do the research. Find out who is buying what you’re selling. Explore all the possibilities available to you. And don’t be tied to the idea of writing for the big houses. If you get there, great. But if not, they are not the only game in town.

Here are a few links to help you with your quest:

Randy Ingermanson on e-publishing
Christian Small Publishers Association
Sally Stuart’s Links for Writers


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