Monday, June 1, 2009

Chip MacGregor Answers a Tough Question

Chip MacGregor is known as a "Book Guy." His insight is timely and at times, remarkable. His blog about the current publishing trends highlights some thigns we've been discussing lately.

Questions Writers Are Asking

I've had more than 50 questions sent my way recently, so I'm going to dip into the mailbag and pull out five that I can respond to today...

Evan wrote to ask, "Do you think it's a good idea to start with a smaller publisher and try to have some success, as a way of getting the attention of a larger publisher?"

That's not only a good idea, it's pretty much the pattern writers follow in today's market. (Occasionally we'll see a great novelist get discovered and published by a large house, but that's become the exception instead of the rule.) Again, the best thing an author can do is to write a great book. Greatness gets discovered, in my view. Whether you move to a larger house is probably going to be part of the "career" conversation you have with your agent. Some writers have done very well at smaller publishing houses, and prefer feeling like the big fish in a smaller pond. Don't think that landing at a large publisher is going to be a dream come true -- it might be great, but larger houses have unique issues (for example, you can become writer #37 on their list of top authors).

And an addendum -- a couple people have written to ask about doing a book with Xulon or PublishAmerica. Those are not really publishing houses; they are printers. I don't have anything against an author choosing to self-publish, but a book with a self-publisher doesn't count as a "small house." As I've noted here before, unless you have a sales channel to move a lot of your books, publishers will completely discount the fact that you paid to have your novel self-published.

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