Introducing Writer Beware’s Small Presses Page

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

Writer BewareA brand-new page on Small Presses has been added to the Writer Beware website.

Here’s what you’ll find:

  • An overview of issues to consider if you’re thinking of submitting to a small press. For instance, stability can be a problem–the attrition rate among small presses is very high–as can competence. It’s easy and cheap to set yourself up as a publisher these days, and not everyone who does so has the necessary expertise.
  • Tips on evaluating small presses. Is there a fee? Are there any complaints? What kind of distribution is in place? How does the publisher market itself and its authors? These questions and more can help you identify the right publisher for your manuscript, and screen out those that are less desirable.
  • Warning signs of vanity publishers masquerading as small presses. Unfortunately, it’s quite common for fee-charging publishers to pretend to be legitimate small presses. Some of them are quite inventive in hiding their fees, or pretending they don’t charge fees at all. This section provides a handy rundown on some of their sneaky tricks.
  • A discussion of misleading terminology. Whether out of inexperience or an active desire to deceive, small presses may describe themselves in misleading ways. For instance, the term “traditional publisher”–which is intended to conjure up images of commercial publishers like Random House or Sourcebooks–is almost meaningless. A small press may also be confused, or want to confuse you, about the difference between a wholesaler and a distributor.

  • Links to helpful resources that will, among other things, help you research a small press’s reputation and identify common bad contract clauses.

We’ve also discontinued the Electronic Publishing page, and folded much of its content into the Small Press page. When we first put the Electronic Publishing page online over a decade ago, epublishing and print publishing were parallel universes, but those differences have eroded–over the past couple of years especially–and we no longer see a need for a separate page on epublishing.

Please visit the Small Presses page, and let me know what you think by leaving a comment here. All comments and suggestions are welcome.

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