Considering a small press? Be cautious

ExamineMagnify

I met a writer a few years ago and he was proud to announce that he’d been published by a small press. He was surprised at the fact that I’d chosen to self publish and I told him that it gave me control over most aspects of my novel. At the time, I was giving him a ride to a small authors’ show where we were to sit in a local mall and sell our books. We got to talking about how much profit we were making off of our respective books and what he told me next left me slightly disgusted and dumbfounded.

You see, while I could purchase my print copies through CreateSpace at a wholesale rate (~$5 for a $12.99 novel), his publisher was, essentially, forcing him to purchase copies at a slightly discounted retail rate. In order to get paperbacks, they would discount the book on Amazon for a short period so he could purchase them for $12.99 a copy instead of their normal $14.99 a copy. Being flat broke, he could only afford 5 or 6 copies, but “buying them on Amazon will boost your sales rankings,” they told him. I couldn’t mask my incredulity about it. His response, “Well, they gave me an advance.” He sold 3 books that day for $15 each and had to give the bookstore owner $1 per sale, cutting his take in half. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for his situation.

Now, obviously, this is an extreme example and I’d like to think that most small presses wouldn’t do this. But, in my opinion, you can do for yourself what any small press can do. Sure, you won’t get an advance, but what kind of advance can you expect from a small press anyway? $1k tops, I imagine. Not worth giving up a ton of rights and royalties for.

I’m not here to bash small publishers. I know folks who have done well and are still doing well with small publishers. I’m just sharing an anecdotal story and passing along a great article to read if you’re considering going that way: Salome Jones talks about 8 things to assess when considering a small press over at thebookdesigner.com.

Have experience with a small press? Let us know about it in the comments and thanks for stopping by!

Proofreading after an edit

Proof

It’s such a funny word on its own… 😀

As I’ve documented in the past, I’m a large proponent of having your work professionally edited. The level of quality it can bring to your work is invaluable. That being said, it’s not as simple as handing off your work, getting it back, and then uploading to Kindle and clicking publish.

My revisions after receiving my second read back from my editor took over a week. My editor used track changes and I had to assess each and every one. Most were simple for me to accept. Some, I understood her change, but didn’t wholeheartedly agree (it’s ok to disagree with your editor… sometimes). Plus, she had called out instances that required changes to the story (nothing major on the second read, but still requiring some work).

When I was done, I sent the file off to be formatted. When the mobi file came back from the formatter, they requested I review it in the free Kindle reader app. This way I could see what it would look like on various Kindle readers. I read through it and found an error in Chapter 2. And error? After sending it to an editor? Inconcievable, you say? Nah. I edited for 12+ years. Everyone misses something. Everyone. And, taking a look at the error, it could very well have been due to me accepting one change and not another. I later found a place where two words had run together. Again, probably something that was introduced with Track Changes. Mistakes happen.

I guess the point of all this is that, even after an editor has gone through your book, it’s still up to you to input the corrections and make sure it’s clean before moving on. Whether you decide to proofread the book again yourself, pay to have someone do it, or trick a close friend into reading the finalized version in a short period of time and get back to you with any errors they find… it’s important to put eyes on it before it goes live. You’ll be happy you did.

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P.S. If you’re looking for a professional editor, I can highly recommend Kim Sheard over at Another View Editing. She does great work at a reasonable rate.