Last time, I posted about some of the pros and cons of self-publishing. This time, I'd like to take a look at some of the pros and cons of publishing with small presses instead of the "big six." Small presses are royalty-paying publishers that are pretty much what it says on the tin: small. Sometimes as small as a single person working from his or her kitchen table.
Publishing with a small press can be a good start to a career as a published author, but it doesn't always work out that way. As with any route to publication, it's important to do your research into the company you're considering, and to carefully weigh the pros and cons.
Some pros of small presses:
1. It can be easier to get answers from your editor and the owner of the company (if they aren't the same person) because they aren't dealing with as many other authors as personnel at a larger company.
2. The turn-around time from signing the contract to the book being available can be shorter.
3. It can be easier (and faster) to be accepted by a small press.
4. You may receive more individual attention from your editor and the owner of the company.
1. Small presses in general are more likely to go out of business for financial reasons. (One bit of advice that's often given is to wait until the company's been in operation for at least two years before submitting; that tends to be the mark at which you can trust the company will continue operating, though it doesn't always hold true.)
2. Small presses generally have less of a promotion/marketing budget, if they have any at all, so the bulk of promoting will be on you, the author.
3. Some small presses don't have as good quality control as larger publishers, and some don't have trained editors. (Check out other books from that publisher; if there seems to be a tendency toward typos and content issues, there may be quality control problems.)
I'm published with small presses myself, and my experiences have been varied. As always, do your homework before you sign any contract.