Should You Consider Submitting
to a Micro-Publisher?
By Deb Salisbury
Copyright © 2009 by Deb Salisbury, All Rights Reserved
published with a micro-publisher, I can offer a few hints about how to
choose and work with one. Micro-publishers are usually in the business
because they love the written word, and want to see more well-written
books available. Some of these houses began as self-publishers, then
expanded to include other good authors. There simply are not enough
slots available in the big publishing houses for all of the great books
written each year. Don't rule out micro-publishing houses just because
they are not big name publishers. They may fit your style now and they
might become well known in the future.
to think of a micro-publisher is as an agent who owns a publishing
house. Treat the publisher with all of the respect you would give any
agent or editor. Format your query letter exactly as you would for any
agent you hope to work with.
read the guidelines carefully. Micro-publishers have a very clear idea
about what they want and even stronger opinions on what they don't want.
Here is a micro-publisher's blog as an example:
edit your material carefully, including your query letter. A
micro-publisher, like any publishing house, will not correct your
spelling or grammar. The owner will send you an automatic rejection
letter without considering of the brilliance of your work if she finds
many errors. Consider the words from an earlier blog,
email a micro-publisher with the words: "The editor will take care of
problems." You will guarantee yourself a place on her blacklist. The
micro-publisher is the editor, and she definitely will not fix
obvious mistakes the author could have corrected.
see what marketing the micro-publisher does before you submit. Does the
company link to Amazon.com, Barnes & Nobles, Chapters and other retail
outlets? Does it have a website? How about a blog with books listed?
Look for the sites that are important to you and even ask if the
publisher has considered sites they do not work with at this time. Most
serious micro-publishers are looking for new ways to market and promote
their list. Keep in mind that the publisher has a tight budget and
cannot pay for much advertising.
consider the number of books the micro-publisher has listed. The larger
the number, the more likely the imprint is going to be noticed,
especially if your book is similar to the backlist. Does the publisher
have several books in your genre, which might create connections to the
community you hope will buy your book.
reviews about the micro-publisher's recent offerings. Look for things
like spiral bound or poorly printed. There is no excuse
for bad quality in the physical product.
into the payment methods. Be aware that most micro-publishers do not
offer advances. You will be paid strictly on sales completed, probably
quarterly. The micro-publisher's website should state her terms clearly.
new Print on Demand technology, micro-publishers need not create a
limited run of your book. As books are ordered, they are printed and
delivered. This means your book will rarely go out of print and you can
receive royalties indefinitely. It is one big advantage over the larger
what the publisher will expect from you before you sign a contract. Be
honest with yourself about your willingness to promote your work and
what types of promotion you can do. Be aware that you will need to work
harder to promote your book if you publish with a micro-publisher. Your
work will not automatically go on bookstore shelves. Even when the
micro-publisher has relations with the large outlets, many will not put
your book on the shelves until after you have achieved a certain
level of marketing and promoting.
with a micro-publisher is not for everyone, but it is an option worth
Deb Salisbury is the editor of
Elephant's Breath & London Smoke:
Historical Colors, Names, Definitions & Uses
Published by Five Rivers Chapmanry, Canada