Friday, June 1, 2012
The Small Press Squeeze-out?
What occurred to me? Small presses seem to be getting squeezed out by the big presses on one side and the mass of self-pubbers on the other side. This may seem a weird conclusion to come to, but bear with me.
We're in a time when publishing is available to pretty much anyone. For almost nothing, and sometimes absolutely nothing, any individual can "publish" a novel, in print and/or ebook, through a multitude of self-publishing venues, like CreateSpace. The vast majority of what is self-pubbed is complete crap. You don't need to research or even read any to know that. Any time there is open opportunity like that, you'll end up with mostly crap. Just watch the initial auditions for American Idol to see for yourself.
But a few self-publishers have wowed the world. Amanda Hocking and Colleen Houck are both paranormal YA romance authors who got their start with self-pubbed ebooks and then were snatched up by agents and bigger publishers because they sold so many books on their own. And this week I learned of an author named Hugh Howey, who self-pubbed a book that seems to be taking the literary world by storm. We all remember The Shack, too, but that was before the mass availability of free/nearly-free self-pubbing.
Those authors have made the world take notice. Enough notice that the other 99.99% of (mostly crappy) self-pubbed books get forgotten in the fog of admiration. We writers stand in awe of the idea of being the next big publishing rebel--and readers, most of whom don't know squat about the publishing industry, look at us and say, "Well, just do what they did."
On the other hand, there are the Big Six publishers, whom most aspiring authors strive to be accepted by. We want that big advance, the marketing budget, the prime spot on the shelves at the major bookstores.
Stuck in the middle of those two: small presses.
I'm going to end this post rather abruptly--and since I'm telling you about it, you need to forgive me. But even if you find it irritating, just think about what I'm saying here:
People see the Big Six as "legitimate" publishing. People are wowed by the guts and glory of the self-pubbed best-sellers. But they seem to see small press authors as the ones who didn't "qualify" for a Big Six house, but don't have the balls to hack it on our own.
Am I the only one to whom this has occurred? Am I seeing it all wrong?