Have you heard the news that small press publishing companies are a dying breed? Well, don’t believe everything you read. With more than 500 small presses in operation today, this sector of the publishing industry isn’t exactly an endangered species. Many of them even maintain viable, robust print publishing operations.
Unfortunately, not all of them have the best track record in looking out for their authors. Look around the web and talk to people you know, and you’ll find some of the best and some of the worst experiences come from working with small presses. It’s really night and day. Some of them are set up and deploy deceptive publishing practices so as to cover their own risks at the expense of the treatment of the author. Some of them are downright scams. Again, we’re talking about dozens of bad apples among hundreds. Many of them fall somewhere in a gray area that they’ve deemed necessary for survival. Indeed, the small press is a volatile, surprisingly competitive market that draws on audiences from local communities, online communities, individual interests, and collegiate affiliations.
The Edmonton Small Press can offer some recommendations in specific genres that may have flown under your radar until now. Have a personal essay or piece of literary nonfiction you want to submit to a literary-minded small press, for example? We recommend River Teeth, but there are a ton of great options. To wit, we couldn’t possibly claim to tell you one-by-one which of the small press publishers you can trust and what you can expect from them and what their publishing model looks like. At least not yet.
In addition to providing an opportunity for writers to get paid something for the “stuff they write on the side,” we’re working to build out our reviews and general tips for submitting work to and then working with a small press publisher. As uncertain as the future of print publishing may be, the future of small presses themselves are looking as strong as ever. It’s much like the notion that “nobody reads poetry anymore,” when in fact more people read poetry today than ever. It’s just that nobody talks about it.