Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Why Publish with Savas Beatie?
That question came up today in a phone conversation.
This is an on-the-fly post, written after hanging up with a potential author. It was an interesting call that boiled down to why he should publish with us and not with a larger East coast press. He had submitted his manuscript to us recently and was thinking of doing the same to the big guys.
AUTHOR: Typically, a larger publishing house has more financial resources, more marketing clout, a more established reputation, and often lots of big name authors. Do you agree?
AUTHOR: But I love the books you do, and your authors have lots of good things to say about you and the company. So in one minute or less, tell me why I should publish with Savas Beatie and not XXX?
SAVAS: Lots of reasons. Large presses are generally over-committed and are not in love with their books. It is pure business and numbers to them. The decision-making process is agonizingly slow in almost every department, including marketing. It often takes six months or a year or more just to get a contract offer. Once the decision is finally made, it often takes 2-3 years before your book finally sees print.
Smaller presses like Savas Beatie provide more personal attention, almost always bring projects to market much faster, and your book could become the lead title instead of a project that is buried on page fifteen of a large catalog. Why not be one of ten new books instead of one of 125?
Smaller presses only take books they have a passion for and know they can sell and sell well. Larger presses throw a lot of books out there, and see which take off and then reinforce those, discarding the rest into remainder bins. (I am generalizing, but it is generally true.) Just ask someone who has worked with a large press whose last name was not Clancy, Rice, Cussler, or Rowling.
[One author who was with a larger house and now with Savas Beatie told me he worked for three years on his last book, and his "large" publisher got him a grand total of one radio interview and one book signing, and then told him he was on his own and stopped returning his calls. Typical.]
AUTHOR: So it really depends what you expect as an author.
SAVAS: There are pros and cons either way you choose, but smaller vibrant houses with a firm track record ideally suited to your trade project niche are almost always a better bet than a Penguin or a Random House, and usually even a university press.
[If I could share my email from some of these disappointed authors, more writers would understand why that is true.]