Mr. Independence

I hate to admit it, but up until now I’ve been a bit of a snob against independent presses. Even though several of my favorite authors started with small presses and were later picked up by major houses with success, I always thought it was an option I was “too good for” if you will. But my frustration with this latest book and my general mood about getting very, very close with agents but never getting all the way has changed my mood. I also realized I’ve pretty much started off in the smallest of presses anyway by publishing my stories online.

Through my online stories, some of which I think are the best things I’ve ever written, I’ve developed a nice little base of fans and readers, met some great people, and even had a story picked up for publication in an anthology to be published by a major New York house. Why couldn’t the same thing happen with a novel? So I’ve decided to dip my foot in the water a bit with three independent houses and submit THE SCARS WE CARRY while I continue to work on the new book.
The first is Poisoned Pen Press. I actually submitted LUNCHBOX HERO to them a while ago and when it made it almost made it to the final round of the selection process I started worrying because I wasn’t sure I wanted them to actually publish it. But now I know better. They do good books and are the second most prolific publisher of mysteries after St. Martin’s, and they’ve also made deals for several of the authors to be published in mass market by major houses. The next publisher is Midnight Ink. I see this company’s good looking trade paperbacks popping up all over the place at my local Borders and Barnes and Noble stores, so I know they have good distribution, and they are out of Minnesota so I think the Midwest connection might give me some points. The final place I’ll be submitting to is Bleak House Books. I’m not sure SCARS is dark enough for them, but I like the work they do and they did publish a PI novel (Soul Patch) with a similiar tone so I’ll let them make that decision. They’re out of Wisconsin so they have the Midwest connection as well.

We’ll see what happens and you’ll here about it in every excruciating detail.

6 thoughts on “Mr. Independence

  1. Good luck, Bryon. Although not small publishers you might also want to consider Dorchestor and Tor, both of which accept unagented material. There is a danger, though, in starting off with small publisher, in that sometimes it’s hard to break out of them–at least I’ve seen that with a couple of very talented friends of mine.

  2. Bryon, at least you’re picking from a better crop than I did. Of the five publishers I considered for my book, including the one I signed with, only Poison Pen is still in business.

  3. Yeah, good luck, Bryon. The publishing business is quite different here in Canada where I am, but we also have big and small publishers (though the small would tend to be microscopic by American standards, andt he big not really so big) and I had (and am having) a great experience with a smaller publisher.

    Actually, my experience was that agents were a bit of a bottleneck between writers and publishers. I think maybe Canada is a little worse in this way, but I found most of the agents I talked to were pretty set in their ways, absolutely certain thatthey knew best and certainly not interested in anything new or slightly tough to categorize.

    I guess it goes with the territory, agents are all about the business, all about what they think “sells,” and really, what will be the easiest sell.

    So, sometimes the small presses can get really interesting books out. And then, anything can happen….

  4. Hey man, I would never look a gift horse (in this case, a publishing contract) in the mouth. In my view, seeing your book printed by a publisher is a grand accomplishment, regardless of how big or small the house is. … Good look, and have fun.

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