Friday, July 9, 2010

A Bit on Small Publishers

Greetings dear Hoosier Ink bloggers and readers:

I'm late with my blog this time. Usually I pre-post a week or two ahead of my scheduled date. But not this month! So that should be a clue to you that I've been swamped with another word task and one I always enjoy -- A NEW BOOK!

For several weeks now, I've been revising and expanding my Women of the Last Supper book in preparation for the start of my fall speaking engagements, and because I'm down to the last six copies of my previous edition. Since I'm self-published and use an online printer, I do all the paginating myself. That has a HUGE good side, mainly that I get the final say for everything. The bad side is that I have no one to blame for errors. So right now my dear hubby Dave and son Peter and my writing buddy Melissa are helping me out by reading through the pages for me before I do the final upload. I hope they'll catch everything my author's closure missed. (You all know about that, I'm sure.)

I promised in my last blog -- which was actually a blog by Hartline agent Terry Burns -- to share more about small publishers this time. And I'll do that now since several of you expressed an interest, but I won't be as thorough as I'd planned. So maybe next month I'll add some more to this topic, unless one of you fills in my blanks.

Just so you know, I "kind of" consider myself a small (VERY TEENY SMALL) publisher. To date, I've done all the publishing work for four of my books, except the printing part. That means I just pay for printing, not the setup of the book. Even beyond that, I've had several people ask me to publish their books. But I've declined each time, gently and gracefully, I hope. After all, my dream is still to find a REAL publisher whose contract I can happily sign.

That said, I have rejected (hey, agents and editors aren't the only ones who do so :-) the contracts of several small publishers. Early on, Dave and Peter (my consultants, as well as my proofreaders) advised me not to go with any small publisher who couldn't do more for me than I (and God) already were doing. However, one small publisher I "rejected" didn't come under that advice, but they turned out to be Mormon. Since I'm an Evangelical Protestant, I declined -- although regretfully, for I liked everything about them, especially their family and mission values. If it hadn't been for Sally Stuart's knowledge, I might have gone with them and discovered their church affiliation too late, as it wasn't obvious.

As most of you know, I have an excellent agent and agency backing me (Diana from ). I've rejected one small publisher she secured a contract with because, for one reason and there were others, I would have been been their first novel. At my age, I don't want to be someone's experiment. Most of the large publishers she's submitted my books to have so far rejected me, not because of my writing and storytelling, but because of my topics. So we're looking at smaller publishers these days. And a couple of them are considering my books.

One of those small publishers is . I'm very interested in them, and one of their publishers expressed strong interest in my books when I met her at a Write to Publish Conference. Oak Tara caught my attention when they published two Jonah books (yes, the Old Testament prophet) by Bruce Judisch. I've long been fascinated by Jonah (starting when I taught a Sunday School class to college students years ago as a teacher at Grace College in Winona Lake). And Bruce's books are fabulous historical novels! (One of my next projects is to write a five star review for his sequel, The Word Fulfilled, to The Journey Begun. Check out his books on or his blog He and I are now online friends. I look forward to meeting this gifted novelist some day.)

Since it's almost noon on my blog day, I'll end with this comment. Sally Stuart's Christian Writers' Market Guide is FULL of small publishers. I need to check with an authority what the publishing standard is, but I consider any publisher that publishes under 50 books small. I expect the general standard is probably higher. Next time I'll share some from Stuart's guide that look good to me and my agent.

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy the peek at the cover proof of my newest book. It will be out in a few weeks. That's another thing I like about self-publishing with "my" printer -- the speed with which I can get books, usually in just a couple of weeks.

Oh, one more comment -- a PS, so to speak -- when I say small publisher, I'm not referring to subsidy or self-publishers. There are SOME of them that are excellent, and I'm always tempted to use one (like WinePress or ACW Press) because they have distribution and marketing options "my" printer doesn't have. But so far, their prices give me pause. . . and I've sold around 4000 books without distribution and marketing because I have a local speaking platform (I'm eager for a national one in God's timing).

HEY, more on small publishers next month. Until then, publishing guidance blessings!
Millie Samuelson


  1. Thanks for the link. I have a couple of non-fiction books on patternmaking and sewing for the uniform the ladies from my ana-baptist community wear. I used to print them out on our laser printer and bind them myself. Husband keeps telling me to find a printer.

  2. is great online-accessed printer, Sharon -- very rea$onable, quick, efficient, and helpful. This newest book of mine is my 9th printing job with them, which should tell you something. . . :-)