Recent years have marked the rapid growth and quite successful independent book publisher market. Many of these have proven to be an invaluable outlet for writers for a number of reasons. To mention a couple, not only do they provide the yet unpublished author a way to break into the publishing world, but they can also provide a more intimate experience for the writer who may be able to have a more “hands-on” publishing path with the help of trusted professionals.
In the children’s book market I have a few favorites, though by no means are these the only independent/small press publishers out there doing an incredible job.
Independent and small press publishers are often open to submissions from the general public, making it another positive for those writers who have yet to find an agent to represent their work. Many of these publishers are beginning to feel the pressure of success though and have begun limiting submission openings or have closed them entirely. So please be mindful of these should you choose to submit un-agented work. The same care and consideration should be given to these submissions as you would sending a query to an agent.
On the other hand, recently I came across an independent publisher asking writers to pay a $250 fee simply to submit a manuscript to them with no promise of any return on investment. This is something I’d advise against doing. Much like I would advise against paying an agent in advance, I’d also warn against paying someone you know little or nothing about in exchange for what could essentially end up being your manuscript in the “round file.” Do your research before submitting. Much like agents, small press and independent publishers are not all alike but finding just the right one could set your writing on the path to a very happy career in publishing.
A little less than two weeks ago I was able to negotiate a deal for my client Joanna Rowland with Tilbury House for her debut picture book, ALWAYS AND FOREVER. This independent publisher initially began their business centered around books featuring their locale, Maine, but quickly grew to accommodate a number of wonderful books for children and adults. Their focus with children’s books centers around cultural diversity, building character and exploration of the world we live in. With this focus in mind, publishing Joanna’s book (centered around children experiencing growing up in two loving homes due to divorce) with Tilbury House made complete sense and I couldn’t be happier for her.
Have any of you submitted to a small press or independent publisher with luck or success? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.