One housekeeping note: I added a search option to this blog. You can now search for your favorite posts. It's at the top of the right column.
I know a lot of people who read this blog are aspiring authors in equestrian fiction. I thought I'd blog today about publishing alternatives for equestrian fiction.
Equestrian fiction is a hard-sell to a large publisher. The books just don't sell well enough. Of course, there are always exceptions, such as The Horse Whisperer, but those exceptions are few and far between. Authors today have some exciting options in publishing which weren't available in the past. I thought I'd cover those options for our aspiring authors out there.
Small presses are becoming a home to niche markets. Fiction which only serves a specialized group of readers isn't a good risk for large publishers. The writers might be as good or better than writers for big publishers, but they've chosen to write in an area which is not popular with the masses.
There are three basic kinds of publishers, you can consider:
New York Publisher (large press): These publishers typically have offices in New York City. They do large print runs for their author's books, which are distributed to book stores. They pay royalties (a percentage of the book's cover price, usually about 6-8 percent). The author gets paid an advance before the book hits the shelf.
Vanity Publisher (Self-Published): These presses typically publish anyone if you have the money to pay them. You will be expected to pay for things such as cover design, editing (if there is any), may have limited distribution, if any. They are good choices if you're publishing something for a targeted group of people, such as a family history.
Small Press (includes epub or Epublisher): These presses operate like NY presses. They do not charge any fees to the author. They provide editing, cover art, and distribution. The distribution varies between publishers. They pay a small advance nor none at all.
I find that there are two primary types of small presses:
Electronic or ePubs: Their books are primarily available electronically. They usually do not pay an advance unless it’s quite small. The author earns royalties (usually about 30-40 percent) from the cover price of the book sold in the small press’s bookstore and royalties from the distributor (usually a percentage of what the publisher receives). Many of these presses also offer their books in print via print on demand (see definition below) and through distributors such as Barnes and Noble and Amazon.
Traditional Small Presses: These presses do small print runs. Their books may or may not be available via other distributors. They may pay a small advance. I'll admit that I don't know much about this type of press. So if someone can fill us in, that'd be great. I think Laura is with a press like this.
Here's some other terminology you might have heard batted around:
Print Run: NY pubs do a print run of each book published. The books are then distributed to bookstores. Unsold books can be returned to the publisher for a refund. Returns of fifty percent or more are not uncommon.
Print on Demand (POD): This is a green alternative to print books. Over half of the books printed by NY pubs are not sold and are destroyed. Print-on-Demand books are printed when the buyer places an order. They are usually more expensive to buy as the process is more expensive than a print run. POD books are rarely available in bookstores because they are not returnable. POD is often confused with self-publishing. While it's a method self-publishers use, it's also used by small presses to get their books in print.
I'm finding more and more equestrian fiction available through small publishers. They're willing to take the risk and fill a niche with readers hungry for such books. As I do searches on Amazon for horse-related fiction, I find more and more popping up every month, compared to years ago when there were few choices.
If you're interested in knowing more, let me know.
On a personal note, Gailey is doing very well. We're back in full work, and she's moving well and seems to be pain-free. The leg is still big, and I'm considering some alternate therapies.