Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Big Publisher Vs. Small Publisher

Every now and then I like to look back through my resource materials for interesting blog ideas. Today's blog about publishers comes from information in my SCBWI Nuts and Bolts guide. The topic, Does Publisher Size Matter? by Suzanne Williams. Plus, a few of my own ideas.

First, the advantages of a big publishing house.
*They have the money to distribute and market your book.
* They can sell and market your book internationally.

*They have huge lists.
*They can get your book into the hands of reviewers, book stores, and bloggers easier.
*Their name carries a lot of weight.
* They can pay bigger royalties.

But, their disadvantages:
*It's hard to make it through the slush pile.
* Many only accept agented material.
*If you aren't an A-lister, you might get lost in the mess.
*If your editor leaves, what happens to your book?
*Strict Policies and contracts.

Now, the advantages of a small publishing house.
*You will be one of a select few of writers, and will get personal attention.
*Your book, though maybe a mid-lister, will get special attention.
*Smaller slush pile, and most accept unagented material.
*More marketing attention.
*There are a lot of small houses.

The disadvantages:
*Though you get marketing attention, they don't have the big bucks to publicize and promote.
*Their list is small and they only accepted a few writers.
*Usually they don't have the money for big royalties, if any.
*They are financially vulnerable and might fold.
*Mostly local exposure, not national or international.

In my opinion, when you are first starting out, it doesn't matter. Though every writer dreams of a big contract with a New York publisher, the truth is, we send out queries to houses both big and small that publish our style of writing. If you are very lucky you might get one offer. If I get one offer, and the publisher is a good publisher (any size) I'll jump on board. Hopefully, as my reputation grows and I write more books, I'll make it into the bigger houses.


  1. Good points. Tanglewood is a small press, but does pay a royalty. I've enjoyed working with them.

  2. That's good to hear. Recommendations from other writers are important.

  3. I think you're right: I think this is one instance when at first, size doesn't matter. I think new writers a. just want a contract and b. want to work with someone with whom they feel comfortable.


  4. Nice distribution of Knowledge. Thank you.
    But just a point: you just didn't mention about the amount of ADVANCES they offer.—Whether these are BIG & SMALL(or ZERO)...

    1. Advances are different with each house. My small house offered no advance. My sister-in-law went with another small house and she got a small advance. The big houses usually offer a nice sum. If you have an agent then they will do their best to get you a bigger number.