March is Small Press Month, and I am celebrating it with two book releases.
When I was studying the publishing industry, trying to figure out how to get published, one thing bothered me. There you are, a debut author, and because the publisher does not promote you — spending their promotion dollars instead on the big names — your books sit on bookstore shelves or in warehouses until finally the publisher gives up on you and remainders your book. That is the best scenario, because if it is remaindered, at least it will still be available for a time. Generally what happens is that it is pulped. 25% of a publisher’s total output (including your beloved book) is destroyed. This after shipping costs incurred to and from the publisher’s warehouse.
My books, More Deaths Than One and A Spark of Heavenly Fire are being published Second Wind Publishing, which uses print on demand technology, and because of it, I do not have to fear my novels succumbing to such a fate. Nor do I have to fear an inadvertent error showing up in thousands of volumes. As soon as an error is found, it can be corrected. Because of POD technology, there is no reason to destroy unsold merchandise. There is no reason to stop publishing a novel because it does not live up to the bottom-line demands of the traditional publishing houses.
Small presses today are where independent movie producers were in the late eighties and early nineties. They have the ability to publish books that need time to reach an audience, books that might not appeal to the masses but could still be loved by many (and turn a tidy profit in the process.)
Though POD still has the taint of vanity press, my books did go through a submission process, and I like knowing I was chosen. I also like having a say in the editing, the cover choice, the arduous copy-editing. I even like promotion — what I’ve done of it, anyway.
So, new era in publishing? Good for us all. And I am pleased to be a part of it.