Writer's Digest

THE INDIE TRUTH

This issue of WD celebrates the work that independent publishers do to serve authors and better the literary landscape. But don’t just take our word for it; hear the case for independent publishing straight from the staff behind the books. While every publisher is different, I sought interviewees from four small publishers in “Think Small, Win Big” that represent a broad range of the books being published throughout the independent publishing realm. Here, they reveal everything that authors should know when considering a small publisher for their books.

AN INDEPENDENT PUBLISHER IS GENERALLY UNDERSTOOD AS A FULLY STAFFED, TRADITIONAL PUBLISHER THAT OPERATES ON A SMALLER SCALE THAN THE BIG FIVE. BUT WHAT ELSE SEPARATES INDEPENDENT PRESSES FROM THEIR CORPORATE-OWNED COUNTERPARTS?

LELAND CHEUK: I categorize the indies in two buckets. The larger ones like Coffee House and Graywolf are often nonprofits, with the typical limitations of nonprofits in terms of staffing and resources, which are dependent on grants and donations. Then there are the smaller indies, or micropresses. They’re usually run by one to two book lovers as a passion project. The key for the author is finding a press that wants their work and has strong national distribution, and usually the indies that have national distribution are in that first bucket.

With the big houses, obviously they’re for-profit with for-profit resources

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