The past few months have been difficult. I have two novels that I thought I had placed with a small publisher. I had a contract for the first one and a strong expression of interest in the second one. Then nothing. I was given a release date for the first novel which I announced and promoted. Much to my dismay and embarrassment, the release date came and went with no book and no response to my increasingly frantic and caustic e-mails. Long story short, the publisher has a serious illness and will be unable to move forward with either book.
That’s the risk of going with a small publisher, not that most authors have much choice unless they decide to self-publish. The Big Six don’t accept unsolicited submissions – you need an agent. If you think finding a publisher is hard try finding an agent. I’ve probably sent queries to over a hundred agents. My chances of finding representation are only slightly better than my chances of replacing Derek Jeter at shortstop for the Yankees next season.
Small publishers are limited in what they are able to offer. Many only publish e-books. The ones that do publish trade paperbacks pay only a small royalty because of the costs associated with the print process, and the odds of seeing your work in the bookstores are not great. And you can forget about a small press having the connections to sell or option your work to the Hollywood movie people. Perhaps the greatest limitation is the fact that so many small publishers, like most authors, are unable to make a living solely from their publishing business. If the publisher is working a second job communication with the author will suffer. E-mails will be ignored. Authors will get angry and frustrated. The relationship, and possibly the work product, will suffer.
There is some good news. “Haven,” my third novel, will be available on July 1st. I also have two publishers that are currently reviewing the manuscript of one of my unplaced novels. I remain hopeful that both will be placed so I can get back to writing. It feels kind of pointless to move forward on the next book when I have two completed novels that are still looking for a home.
Thanks for listening.