This week I was browsing along the net when I came across a link to Sarah Sawyer’s blog. The post was about the strong impact small presses are having on the Christian fiction industry. You can view it right here. I agree wholeheartedly, although some may think I’m biased. Well, aren’t we all? I shared the link on my facebook wall and thought nothing else of. It re-entered my mind the next day and I went back to check for any comments. This is where my Crazy-Hair hackles rose.
In case you hadn’t realized, I’m rather fond of small presses. I will be published by one in March and that was no accident. I stalked the market like prey and only submitted my novel to three small publishers. I watched other writers and prayed hard about the direction God wanted my work to go in. I formed true friendships with people that knew more than me by leaps and bounds and was humbled by their kindness. I studied craft and admitted I would never know it all. I submitted my work to others so they may shred it and teach me to put it back together again, far better than before.
When Grace told me she liked I Am Ocilla but thought I should try a bigger publisher (classic Grace), I stomped my foot and said I don’t wanna. But she really wanted me to consider someone “better”. So I agreed to pray about it. I did but the answer I had back was the same. I wanted to throw my lot in with Splashdown Books .
Back to Sarah Sawyer’s blog and the comment that raised my hackles. I will quote below. Please know I have no idea who this person is, but this is a sentiment I hear floating around often enough to infuriate me.
“Small presses can be less picky about what they take for manuscripts, and edit less. (My favorite spec books are all major publishers’) The quality of their printed books can be less too since they can’t afford the high quality materials available in a larger print run.”
I wanted to engage with a few simple questions and would have if it had been my blog. Guess what? This is the blog I share with several other writers that feel just as passionately as I do about small presses.
Just how many books have you read from small presses? Have you never read a crappy book by a major publisher? Have you ever found typos in major publisher books? Which books are you basing your opinions on? Or are you, in fact, basing your opinion on what you heard? Are you, in fact, slandering small presses with a broad brushstroke that applies to all publishers in all genres, CBA and ABA? Yep, that’s what I thought.
Because I happen to read books from all genres and all markets. I have found crap in all of them. But what I have found in the two Sarah mentions is a higher % of wonderful. Two years in a row Marcher Lord Press has dominated the speculative fiction market. I would ask the commenter to look no further than Marc Schooley’s Konig’s Fire, Kerry Nietz’s DarkTrench Saga, and Jill Williamson’s Blood of Kings trilogy. And my publisher, a little newer to the game, has had several wonderful books such as Fred Warren’s The Muse, P.A. Baines’s Alpha Redemption, Keven Newsome’s Winter and Kat Heckenbach’s Finding Angel.
When I hear someone attack people I love in such a nonchalant way, my hackles go up. Because it is a lie. I’ve watched the hard work put into producing a small press book. I know both of these publishers have a high standard and with each book they put out, they only get better. I also know small presses have smaller budgets. The owners are taking a gamble with their own money, not a big company’s. What I see from that is they must be even more selective about books they put out. They can’t have the same fail rate as major publishers. You know, a small % of success pays for the production of the many mediocre?
I have a bias for small publishers. I admit it. The titles and small publishers I listed are not the only greats. Take a minute and check out a few for yourself. I don’t think you’ll be sorry.
I also have a pet-peeve against comments that make no logical sense. To those that say small publishers aren’t charging a new path I say this…we are coming, like it or not. Good times.
Peace, love and God’s will.