Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Writing for Small Presses

by Kai Strand

It is a great time to be a writer. The power of publication has shifted more into the author’s hand than ever before. In the past you could be a fantastic writer, but if you didn’t find that ONE publisher who wanted to publish your work, you were dead in the water. Today there are more small presses than ever before, including many that are taking advantage of electronic publishing and doing a good job of it and there is accessibility and affordability in self-publishing. I caution you though, if you want to make a career as an author, don’t just throw your work into an ebook and hope people love it. You still have to provide a quality product that people will feel is worth their investment of time and money. That means more than just your husband or best friend should help you prepare the book for publication, get professionals involved who know their stuff, editing, book cover design, whatever else people in-the-know suggest.

Kai's writing desk
For today’s purposes I’m going to talk about publishing with a small press, since that’s the route I’ve chosen. I enjoy working with small presses for many reasons. A book is a collaborative deal regardless of which route you take. With a small press, the collaboration is more intimate than if you were with a large press and less over-lording than if you self-publish. You usually have good communication with your editor, input into your cover design and can get answers to your questions from the senior editors or the publisher.  Though it is unlikely you will get an advance from a small press, your royalties might be slightly larger, especially on the ebook. Their overhead isn’t as big as a large publisher, so they tend to give more back to the author where they can.

Of course there are drawbacks. Because small press keep their staff lean, the employees are often overburdened and might miss deadlines, pushing back your release date. Small presses often don’t even provide a solid release date because of this, leaving the author unable to prepare a ‘launch’ for their book or having to postpone a previously planned one (that can be embarrassing). Small presses usually don’t provide much support at all with promoting your book. Sometimes not even a Facebook page or Twitter, which costs the company nothing if they can get their authors to add the content for them. And finally, small presses go out of business frequently, which can result in your book rights bobbing around for a while or your publication never coming to fruition. Do be sure to do your homework on the company before submitting to them and if you choose to accept a contract and the company isn’t what you thought…move onto the next book with a different publisher. You usually will have a chance to snag back your rights after three years and then you can take the book elsewhere or self-publish it.

Small press fits my current publication expectations.
I like working with people who know more about the aspects of publishing a book than I do. I love that I can have multiple books being prepared for publication at the same time while I keep writing new stuff. Last year I had two books publish within a few weeks of each other and this year there are only a couple months between book releases. You can’t do that if you are self-publishing, because it is all up to you.

I don’t know that going forward I will only publish with small presses. I hope my career will be long and fruitful, so I suspect I will hit all the options eventually. However, I am enjoying my experience publishing with small presses and I’m learning a lot about the business of writing for children.
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About the Author
Kai Strand writes fiction for kids and teens. Her debut novel, The Weaver, was a finalist in the 2012 EPIC eBook Awards. She is a (very lucky) wife and the mother of four amazing kids. The most common sound in her household is laughter. The second most common is, "Do your dishes!" She and her family hike, geocache, and canoe in beautiful Central Oregon, where they call home.

To find out more about Kai’s books, download companion documents, find links to her published short stories and discover all the places to find Kai both virtually and in person, visit her website: She loves to hear from readers, so feel free to send her an email or visit her facebook page, KaiStrand, Author.

Follow Kai’s Beware of the White book tour for more chances to win epic stuff. There will be spontaneous giveaways that won’t be announced ahead of time and only virtual stalkers will be able to participate in all the fun. Enter below for your chance at one of three book-related prize packages.

About the Book
As is tradition, Terra learns on the Saturday past her twelfth birthday that she is a nature's spirit. It is her legacy to serve in the peaceful underground city of Concord. Learning she is named in a prophecy and being threatened by the leader of the death tribe . . . that part breaks tradition.

The Trepidus are the death janitors of the Underworld, responsible for delivering fatalities with a smile and cleaning up after themselves until Blanco, recent leader of the Trepidus, decides the day of reckoning for his species is coming. He begins organizing the creatures and leads them toward an uprising. The prophecy says there is one person who can stop him. Terra.

With Spirit of Security Frank protecting her, Terra attempts to complete her training and discover her spirit talents. Together, they go on a rogue investigation to learn how to defeat Blanco. In the end, it comes down to a battle of the minds. The future of Concord is at stake. Will Blanco, the older, more experienced being win? Or will Terra, the young, new spirit earn back the peace of the city?

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Thank you for reading! Good luck in the giveaway at Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you so much, Maggie, for inviting me to talk to your readers about my publishing experience. I hope they will check out my rafflecopter giveaway. I've got some unique and fun prize packages to give away and there are only a few more days to enter!

  2. Great pros and cons list! My experience with a small press thus far has been outstanding! But I also have dreams of grandeur... ;)