Why I Love Small Presses

Just a quick note on one of the many reasons why I love small presses.

A few days ago, my friend and publisher Martin Shepard of the Permanent Press sent me a few books he thought I might like. One of them was a novel that was published in 2007 and sold about 400 copies. A subsequent novel by the same author, Marty explained, only sold 140 copies. Yet Marty and his wife, Judith, decided to go ahead and publish a third novel by the same author. In Marty’s words, “Hey, if you like a writer, no reason to give him or her up just because sales are almost non-existent.”

As someone who’s spoken to a good number of editors and agents (and who reads extensively about the publishing industry), I can say with complete certainty that I’ve never heard anyone associated with a major publishing conglomerate say anything even close to what Marty said in his brief note. He publishes books because he loves them — and loves sharing their work with the world — not because they might make a buck or two.

To me, this is what the small press movement is all about.


  1. While I’ve not yet had the privilege of having any of my work picked up by a small press, Marc, I can say with much confidence that I think they are the cornerstone of what “real” publishing is all about. The big guys could take a real lesson from them. And I’d like to add that small presses have brought us such literary giants as THE SINGULAR EXPLOITS OF WONDER MOM AND PARTY GIRL, which I have to say was a superb novel!

  2. Needless to say, it also helps that most titles from The Permanent Press sell far more than 400 copies — otherwise it would be impossible for them to stay in business! In fact, if you love small presses like I do, check out my “Support a Small Press!” page and buy a title from an independent publisher today!

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