Big Publisher vs Small Publisher

I’m receiving pressure from several writing friends to submit to two different publishers. What is your opinion regarding submissions in the LDS Market for a first time author? Do you think they should start out with the top LDS publishers, or try for some of the smaller publishers, and what do you see as the benefits or disadvantages of each?

First off, submitting to the “top” publisher and working your way down the popularity list is not the smartest way to work. Look first for a good match with your book. The “top” publisher may not publish your type of book and to submit to them would be a waste of your time and money, and theirs.

Visit DB and/or Seagull—in person or on line. Find books that are on the shelf/site that are similar to yours—similar in genre, topic, etc. Make a list of those publishers. Then go to their websites and carefully read their submission guidelines, which usually include what types of books they’re looking for.

You’re also looking for whether they accept multiple submissions or if they require an exclusive. If they require exclusives, plan on your mss being in their hands for up to 6 months. This makes is a very slow process.

Once you’ve got your list of publishers that are a good match for what you’ve written, talk to any authors you know who publish with them. See if you can get them to give you their honest opinion on things like how easy the editors are to work with, the amount of time it takes to get from acceptance to store shelf, how much publicity and marketing they do. If you find an author who just raves about their publisher, you might consider putting that company at the top of your list.

Bigger publisher. Advantages—they have more money to promote/market your book; they generally accept a higher number of mss in a year; they have name brand recognition so your book will probably sell better. Disadvantages—you’re one of many authors they’re working with; if another book explodes, they’ll concentrate on them and your book may be neglected if it’s not selling as well.

Smaller publisher. Advantages—you generally get more personal interaction with the editor/publisher; they need your book to sell so they’ll focus on it. Disadvantages—they don’t have the budget or the connections of the big guys. No signing tours or other perks.

Here’s some info from Evil Editor. Click this link:
Large Press, Small Press, Short Press, Tall Press
Then copy and paste the title in his search box.

Author: LDS Publisher

I am an anonymous blogger who works in the LDS publishing industry. I blog about topics that help authors seeking publication and about published fiction by LDS authors.

7 thoughts on “Big Publisher vs Small Publisher”

  1. I wouldn’t say that small publishers give more personal attention or that you get more interaction with the editor. I think the opposite is true because they have smaller budgets, less staff, and often a big workload. I have published only with a small publisher, and at times, there has been little or no communication. Often, you feel like you’re on your own. Maybe not all small publishers, just this one. I don’t know what it’s like with larger publishers.

  2. I agree with the above comment. I have published with one of the smaller ones also, and feel like I’m not getting much attention at all. I never hear from them, my book just came out, and I feel like I’m on my own. I’d love to hear how those who publish with the larger publishers feel and how much attention they are given.

  3. When trying to get a book published in the LDS market, I do believe that finding the right fit is the most important thing. I spent many hours in the local LDS bookstore (when we still had one) looking at which books were similar to mine and who published them. Knowing that I had a sequel in mind helped me narrow my choices down to the best fit. I’ve been happily publishing with that company ever since.

    And as for the above comments, let’s face it. All editors in the LDS market are probably overworked and underpaid including those in the larger companies. I have been very pleased with my dealings with Covenant, but I also try not to ask too much of them. I do as much as I can for myself and then I ask for help in those things that are beyond me. Thankfully, the people I have worked with have all been extremely supportive.

  4. I submitted to multiple companies when I published back in 1999. I didn’t know any better. The market has grown so much since then I almost don’t recognize it as the same place.

    It happened that the company who accepted my manuscript was the one best suited for what I needed. I’m so glad I landed where I did. I’ve been happy and treated well. I, also, try to do my part to promote, sign, etc.

    If I had it to do over again, but this time with some market research behind me, I’d still pick Covenant. I very serendipitously landed in the best place for me.

  5. Well, my novels aren’t likely to ever be picked up by any of the LDS publishing companies because I don’t mention the word Mormon or LDS anywhere in them. Still, I think I would rather be published by a large house than a small one. I’m not much on marketing (but I’ll do my best), so the increased marketing budget will be most helpful.

  6. A lot of this is “go with your gut” too. As you’re doing your research, pay attention to how the company does business, if you like interacting with them, etc.

  7. Very informative. I’m looking to submit a mss soon and have done what’s suggested in the blog. Hopefully, I’ll find a match.

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