So. You’re wondering what’s the big whup about small publishers. After all, they’re smaller, have less money, don’t have as big a marketing/distribution footprint, blah,blah, blah. May I give you another little something to consider?
Let’s talk editing.
I can’t tell you how many times we’ve gotten submissions that we knew were going to be big hits but needed a lot of editing to make them sing. In some cases those books went to large conglomerate presses, where I got the pleasure of comparing their editing results to what I would have done.
Far be it for me to say that any established, reputable publisher does crap editing jobs because that would be incredibly disingenuous and untrue. HOWEVER, there are degrees in publishing that allow the gift of TIME, and that’s a pretty big consideration if your book happens to need some heavy editing.
The first consideration is that you or your agent may have a harder time selling the project because everyone loves a clean, polished story.
Truth: Editors don’t want to work any harder than they have to. And they won’t – not with all the talent out there.
Exception: But they will if they see a story – no matter how raw – that they are passionate about.
And that is where the rubber meets the road. See, editing a book is like scratching an itch. Have you ever had an itch that you just couldn’t scratch?At first you think it’s on your leg, then…oh, it’s there, on your calf…no…it’s on your knee…DAMN, it’s on your ankle. If you take enough time, you’ll find the darn itch and scratch it. Same goes for editing.
But this takes TIME, right? After all, it’ll ensure that the book will be the absolute tops. The problem is that TIME isn’t something a large conglomerate publisher has a lot in supply. They are beholden to a corporate beast who cares less about literary quality than they are getting lots of product out to market. Editors are under the gun to move through the editing process quickly. I’ve talked to plenty editors with large houses who express their frustration at not being able to spend more time on a project.
It’s that time factor that prevents the larger houses from offering contracts on books they feel require more editing. And guess who cleans up? Us little spuds. Independent weenie beanies have the luxury of time to caress, love, and finesse a manuscript so that it rocks. And we do that because we see huge potential in the story – and I’m talking books whose authors have very nice/big platforms. What’s even better is those independent weenie beanie publishers have the distribution in place to get those marvelous slabs o’ love out to market.
And what’s so wrong about that?