Amber Skye Forbes

Writing Words With the Tips of My Toes

Guest Blogger Mary Cote-Walkden on Indie Presses

So I’ve blogged on traditional houses and the self-publishing route, but what about micro publishers? Well, Mary Cote-Walkden decided to comment on this, so here is what she has to say.

 

Indie/Micro Publishers vs Traditional Publishing Houses or Self-Pubbing:

It’s an interesting discussion, and one that really has no right answers. It depends on what you’re looking for, both for you as a writer and for your work, and what your expectations as a writer might be.

I should start off by saying that, yes, I am a bit biased when it comes to publishing. I have tried the other routes, and they were absolutely wrong for me. I am not one who wants to be just a number on a ledger sheet, and as far as self-publishing, I learned the hard and expensive way that good freelance editors are a rare commodity, and that no one should be allowed to edit their own work. Suffice to say that marketing and editing on your own, or through services claiming to do that sort of thing, has its own special set of challenges.

So, what is micro-publishing? It’s a small house that publishes fewer than 20 books a year. We don’t compete with the big houses, but we are not shackled as they are. I often think of the big publishing houses as real estate agents. When you go to buy a house, they tell you what areas are good, what are bad, which places are the ones where you really need to be…sort of like telling us which books are good, which ones are marketable and which genres are passé. (There are no passé genres). Because micro doesn’t have the huge overhead, and are not tethered to a corporate demand for shareholder dividends, we can look at those genres that are not currently deemed hot by the big houses. You can write a book that doesn’t have a werewolf or vampire in it, or that is not intended for a YA audience, and still get published. That doesn’t mean that a micropublisher will turn down a book with vampires or that is a YA novel, but it means we have the ability and the flexibility to showcase those genres that big houses won’t take a chance on, and there are a lot of very good books out there that are passed on because of this. We are able to say that the quality of the writing and the content of the story matter more than giving the public what they already have.

We also have the ability to be more environmentally friendly than the big houses. That’s because traditional publishers will tell you there is a stigma attached to using POD, just as there is a stigma attached to adding that you self-published on your writing credits. For us, POD was a conscious choice. The waste that is the publishing industry is phenomenal. They do massive runs of books, to make them profitable. Those books are printed, stored, shipped to warehouses, stored, shipped to stores, set out on shelves for 60 days, have the covers ripped off, are shipped to warehouses, are stored and, finally, they are destroyed. The carbon footprint is massive for each book. The other drawbacks with the traditional print distribution process is topic for many more blogs, but let’s suffice to say that the consumer and the author, as well as the environment, pay dearly for it, while corporate pockets get lined some more. Don’t ever kid yourself: the big publishing houses are in this for the money, and nothing more than that.

The biggest plus to micropublishers is that they are able to get the books into their finest duds, can give a better payoff to the authors, can help to get the books out there, and can do that while maintaining a more personal connection with the writers. We can take the time for each, work with them, work around their other lives. We work to head a team of writers who support each other, help promote each other, and encourage each other. Idyllic? No, not always, but having tried the other routes, this is the right one for me.

You can find Mary Cote-Walken here: www.writersamuseme.com

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7 comments on “Guest Blogger Mary Cote-Walkden on Indie Presses

  1. Mary Cote-Walkden
    April 17, 2013

    Thanks, Amber!

  2. theparasiteguy
    April 17, 2013

    Interesting article; thanks alot for posting this. I certainly think that small presses sound more attractive than self-publishing, but to be honest I have yet to do much research into the matter.

    • amberskyef
      April 17, 2013

      I myself received a request for a partial from a small press. I subbed my blurb on a whim, so whichever route I go, it won’t be traditional. At the end of the day, I want some control, at least!

  3. Steve Park
    April 17, 2013

    I mention it quite often in my letters as I beg for reviews that small, independent publishers need to be recognized also. They just don’t have the marketing power (NY Times, etc.) that big houses have.

    • Shay Dee
      May 7, 2013

      I was just about to ask about marketing, how does that work for independent publishing? Do they mainly stick to online, or are they able to get their stuff into the big shops?

      • amberskyef
        May 7, 2013

        They do the marketing plans so you don’t have to worry. You just have to show up and participate in whatever they have. Now, social media is on you. They mainly stick to online because the problem with the big stores is big stores want the prices slashed and the books made returnable. But I think my local bookstore will sell some of my books, and I’m going to have a book release party there.

    • amberskyef
      May 7, 2013

      Yes, they absolutely do need to be recognized. It’s so annoying that people think there are only two options, but I love independent presses because you can still become a big shot (as with self-publishing, but marketing help is always nice).

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