Book publishing has changed dramatically over the past ten years or so. With the ability for authors to publish their own wares via Amazon and other online channels, the book publishers have never needed to adapt more to the changing trends.
So why haven’t the larger companies done so? For an industry that focuses on such a creative model, their working processes are extremely mired in tradition, doing things a certain way because ‘that’s the way they’ve always been done’.
It’s part of the reason, I believe, that the small publisher (or indie press, or micro-publisher – whichever term you prefer) has seen such a boom in recent years. These small little beacons of hope for authors have been quicker to adapt and embrace the changing technology and processes, offering their authors a much more personal relationship than being a simple number on a corporate’s balance sheet.
As has been proven with countless award-winning small publishers over the last few years, small independents can refresh parts of the book market that publishing giants cannot (and perhaps refuse) to reach.
Writers aren’t writing any less – if anything, the ability to self-publish has seen even more writers emerging from the woodwork as they see a way through the endless rejection to finally hold a book of their own making in their hands. Yet big publishers are more and more reluctant to take a gamble on a new author. They’ve hedged their bets on the sure-fire sellers from the big names (which in itself seems a bit of a gamble – what if they lost those big names somehow? What’s that number one business rule? Don’t rely on one big client?)
That’s where us small guys come in. There is a huge stock of writing out there for us to choose from because the biggies won’t touch it. Their books (no pun intended) are closed. Whereas most small publishers are more open to submissions from writers without agents (like us!), allowing us to see stories that may never have been seen by anyone otherwise. It allows us to have the pick of the crop and leaves us spoilt for choice. Sure, we’re no better than the big guys at picking sure-fire winners and many submissions may not be the greatest things in the world (writing is a learned craft, after all, and self-publishing perhaps has damaged that in some ways, allowing someone to hit the big red ‘Publish’ button without much thought), but at least they get a chance through us independents when they wouldn’t have otherwise.
We set up Scorpius Books because we wanted to do things differently. We don’t see authors as a number on a balance sheet, but as the creative individuals they are, involving them in the process of producing the book they wrote rather than simply showing the end result and leaving it at that, thank you very much.
So next time you’re thinking that publishers are a waste of time or they simply don’t care about the writing, just numbers, why not give is small guys a go? We may just surprise you!