The Happy/Terrifying Truth about Small Publishing Houses

A friend of mine just emailed me an excellent question about what it is like to work with a small publishing house. For those of you who are thinking about trying it, I thought I might post some insight into just what my experience has been so far…

My publisher is Brighter Books. They are an amazing company with great vision and they are capable of producing a high-quality product. The troublesome part is that as a young publishing house, they don’t yet have the contacts to do much more than sell and promote my book online.

My dreams are bigger, and I’m willing to work and risk for them. If I never took the chance, I think something inside would begin to wither and die.

So I’m working with a publicist I’ve hired on my own dime and have been doing all the legwork myself. This means I’ve been going personally to bookstores, writing other authors/reviewers/book buyers and organizing promotional events myself.

I’ve joined toastmasters to improve my public speaking and I am preparing several educational presentations of creative writing so that I have something to offer local high schools and young adult groups. I’ve also quit my job to give me time to do both writing and promotion (I still have another 3 books coming!).

I work about 1 to 2 days at a retail store and this just barely covers my expenses of working with a publicist and buying pre-release promotional copies of my books from Angela. Fortunately, my amazing husband works hard and covers the basic cost of living or else I would never be able to afford doing what I do.

The good news? Angela (my publisher) created a beautiful product and the hard work of the last few months is really paying off. A lot of people are excited about my book and the word is spreading. My first book signing went amazingly well and I’m actually selling enough promotional copies of my book to help cover some of the expenses. Promotional copies can be bought online, at the Buzz coffee shop in town, and at Alberni Outpost (the retail store where I work. They’ve supported me from the start!)

I’ve just made contact with an interviewer on Check TV and in an amazing breakthrough, Save-On-Foods will be carrying my book once it is released. I think Chapters will carry it locally as well.

The idea is – if I can sell enough books locally, a bigger distributer may become interested in carrying me. A major distribution company can place my book in stores across the country but first… I need my book to do well here. 🙂

A big happy shout out to my friends and family who have supported me this far. The journey is frightening but the risk is part of the thrill. I feel alive, happy, and terrified all at once.

It’s a good thing. 🙂

Merry Christmas!


About cjgosling

I paint, I sing, I walk in the rain. I'm clumsy and I love the smell of campfire. My head is full of imaginary things and the only thing I ever really want to do in life is write. My first book "Shadowlands: The Guardian" was released in Feb. 2011. The sequel is coming in 2012! View all posts by cjgosling

2 responses to “The Happy/Terrifying Truth about Small Publishing Houses

  • Rusty Biesele

    It’s a hard road, isn’t it. For me, the bottom line is being read. Getting the kids to read the books. Most teens listen mostly to other teens. Robust and avid readers will listen to their librarians/teachers and then if they like it, their recommendation spreads the reading to more reluctant readers. But is really hard to get those initial readers, even if you give the books away. So I look at the process as a series of milestones. The first milestone is to be read. The next is to be read by say 20 kids. The bottom line is that if you are read by 20 kids, even if you never sell a book, you have influenced 20 kids lives. Just that milestone is a pretty good lifetime achievement. From there, it only gets better.

  • Arianne

    Thanks Charity! I know the feeling…I call it exciti-fying ( a mixture of terrifying and ecciting). Living the dream is often the opposite of comfortable (which is not always the bad thing). So here’s to women who take the risk, face their fears, and make it happen! You open the door for others. Thanks for sharing!

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