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.

7 comments

  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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