Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Large Press Pros and Cons

In December, I posted about the pros and cons of self-publishing and of small presses. As I was trying to figure out what to blog about this time, I figured maybe I should talk about the pros and cons of the big-name publishing companies.

Keep in mind that I am not published with any of the big-names. Yet. (Always add "yet". It's good energy.) So I'm going primarily by what I've read and heard from other authors. Please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments.

1. Name recognition. If you're with one of the big-name publishers, everyone will have heard of the company that's publishing your books, and that's good for you as well as for the company.

2. Higher sales. Books from the large publishers sometimes sell far more copies than those from small presses, which can translate to more royalties for the author.

3. Better availability. Books from big-name publishers are more likely to be on the shelves in bookstores, which means readers will be more likely to find them.

4. Advances. Contracts from the large publishers usually include a payment of an advance against royalties, which means the author gets money up-front for the book. (The downside is that the author then receives no royalty payments until the book has earned the amount of the advance, but a book from one of the large publishers will almost always earn that amount and then some.)

1. You're one of many. While you'll have an editor at the publishing house, you may not receive as much individual attention as you would from a small press, because the publisher has so many more authors.

2. Higher expectations. If your book with a large publisher doesn't meet sales expectations, it might be the last book you publish with them. And I've known a few authors whose careers have come to an end entirely after poor sales of a book from a Big Six publisher.

3. Long wait times. With some of the large publishers, it can take as long as 2-3 years from the time the contract is signed until the book is available. It can also take longer to hear back on a submission to one of the large publishers than from a small press.

4. Need for an agent. Some of the large publishers will not accept submissions directly from authors; you must have an agent submit for you.

Those are just some of the pros and cons of going with a large or "Big Six" publisher. (And yes, I know it's now the "Big Five", but I've gotten used to "Big Six"...) Any thoughts or anything I've missed?

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