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Publishing mistakes

Started by fnord33, November 18, 2012, 03:58:33 PM

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I know a lot of you have had books published through small presses. What advice do you have for someone who is about to get their first book in print?
Life is an entanglement of lies to hide it's basic mechanisms. - William Burroughs


When you say 'about' I assume you have already found a publisher (congratulations!) so there is no point me sending you a list of small press publishers I would avoid for various reasons - including some with whom I have been published.

The best advice I can give then is to network, network, network because you'll be doing nearly all if not completly all, the promo. Put some money aside to invest in advertising in genre mags, and possibly some pay online marketing such as facebook and google ads. Be prepared to spend more money than you'll get pack in online sales - at least for the first year, but if your book is as magic as your stories then you'll probably be a runaway hit anyway  :dance:

Remember your friends here when you hit it rich.


My biggest mistake that first time was rushing. Take your time, listen, make sure you are done with final edits, etc. They will set the deadline likely, but make sure to drive thee train at your pace.

Also, make sure to get out there. This was and still is the hardest part for me (see my awful reading at Confluence filmed by my son on my website). For me it has always been difficult to put myself out there at all, but people want to meet and talk with you. You can't rely on your publisher to do it all for you.

Most of all, have fun. Congrats!  :cheers:
Author of Dark Fiction -


Thanks guys.  :P You saw right through me. I didn't want to jinx it, but I may have found a publisher. I haven't signed anything yet, but they did offer me a contract. I think it's a really good fit, but they are really small (only 4 books in print right now). Of course my first instinct was to jump in head first and sign anything they put in front of me, but I've learned to be very cautious about this sort of thing. I have to have a little more information before I commit. Anybody know anything about SAM (Sex and Murder) Publishing or Douglas Rhodes that might be helpful? I know they started as a magazine for people who like extreme/graphic/generally considered offensive literature. I've seen their site and read an interview with DR, but there isn't a lot of information available beyond that. One of their books (based on amazon sales rank) is about 3.5 million above my first (self published) book. Another is about 1 million below me and the other 2 don't rank at all. All those came out January of this year. I'm not sure whether I should be worried about that or not. I expect to have to do most of my own promotion, but none of them even have reviews.

Geoff- If you have a list of crappy publishers I think that would be a great thing to add to this thread.

Any other advice?
What is a good royalties percentage for a small press?
What should I do to safeguard my rights?               
What are the best places to network?

Life is an entanglement of lies to hide it's basic mechanisms. - William Burroughs


I checked S A M Publlishing and they seem legit. Actually difficut to sort wheat from chaff because of the prestigious Sams Dot Pubishing.
I aways check unknown publishers with the Water Cooler section of Absolute Write. They have tons of writers, agents and publishers checking others out for many years. Only brief comments on S A M (and why the space between the letters?) at

Not helpful really since in spite of an inauspicious start they could shoot upwards and onwards.

My first book was Escaping Reality - a humorous thriller inspired by The Fugitive TV series only based in Britain and Amsterdam. I really thought BeWrite Books would publish it. They were one of the first ebook publishers and for a time had the longest title list of any ebook publishers - they did paperbacks too. But apparently by error they rejected it. Now BeWrite Books is in trouble and closing down, so maybe it was as well ER wasn't published by them. Instead a tiny press with only ONE other book took it on - Brambling Books. About 3000 sales in 5 years so that's not bad for such a small press with no funds for promo. But Brambling Books has now gone. I've done a lot of editing for Adventure Books of Seattle and cheekily asked them to publish Escaping Reality even if only as an e-book to keep the title alive. They agreed to do that months ago but it hasn't happened yet. I couldn't have published it msyself on CreateSpace or wherever but a) didn't want to be self-published and b) didn't want the hassle of figuring out all the formatting issues. Got a good new cover art too from Steve Upham of Screaming Dreams. The point is so many good small press have their problems let alone those who are dodgy to start with.

I don't want to publish here a list of small press to avoid because as I said I am still published by some of them!

I am supremely happy with LL-Publications, the publishers of ARIA. I've met them in person and they supplied me with my 10 author's free copies, sent me free posters, postcards, goody bag contents at cons. And they have a marketing department setting up blog tours and the like. However, I still have to do most of the promo. Hopefully, you'll be as happy with S A M.

As for how to network. Mainly go to genre conventions to meet and greet other writers and shakers in the business. Befriend them on social media. Get into the genre magazines with short stories, articles on how to write your stuff, offer to do reviews cos your review will be published along with your publication details. Join online groups besides Cafe Doom - especially if you find them, where reaers hang out. As a whole I don't find writers keen to put their hands in their pockets to help other writers even though moral support is there. I have joined a few Yahoo Groups but probably annoyed too many of them now with ARIA posts. Need to find more new ones to annoy  ;)  It's time consuming, not for everyone but necessary unless you go the other sure way to gain publicity - the kidnap a prince / princess kind of route.

Good luck!