Monday, December 5, 2011

Another one bites the dust

Damn. I've lost another small press publisher this year. It's been happening more and more recently. If you're in the indie/small press circuit, I'm sure you've personally seen at least one small press business close its doors in the last six months. And as a writer, I must admit, this trend kinda scares me. 

I love small press publishing. They take more risks than bigger companies and are more willing to give unknown writers a chance. As a writer in a small press company, you get to know the editors and other writers on a personal level--the work environment feels like a family setting. But nowadays writing for small press publishers can be a real gamble! At any moment your publisher can shut its doors, leaving you and your fellow writers dangling in the wind. I can't even imagine investing two or three novels into a company and in a single instant, lose it all. Poof. Just like that. 

You see, when a publisher closes its doors, it's sort of like being laid-off. The writer may or may not get the cover art rights to their book, and although they get full rights to all of their written work, finding another publisher who'll reprint it is rough. Self-publishing is an attractive option--but for many writers, publishing their own stuff can seem daunting, if not impossible. 

I admire self-published writers. I really do. They work really hard but so many of them often fail. Just yesterday, a writer friend of mine at my local coffee shop (and unofficial "office" haha) told me a horror story about a fellow patron/writer who self-published and spent thousands of dollars on his latest novel. He had his book on display near the cash register--no one was buying it. And according to all the whispers, the guy was in serious debt because of it. It just made me realize not everyone is going to make it--and that goes for self-published or not! 

The truth is, the publishing industry is changing. And as a writer, you have to adapt. 

Think smart. Weigh your options. If you're going to do small-press, make sure you gamble wisely. If you're going to do self-publishing, make sure you research and really know what you're doing before you jump into it. Don't be that moron who wastes thousands of dollars investing in a book only to end up with a mountain of debt. Writing is not for the faint of heart. In fact, I would advise everyone to stay away from the "profession" entirely! 



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