Nine Lessons from a Tiny Publisher
Every once in a while, someone will tout the benefits of going with a small or really small press, rather than either scaling the Big 5 wall or going purely indie. So, what is it like from the small press’ end?
From Richard Charkin at Mensch Publishing:
Lesson 1. Finding the right book is by far the most important thing, but getting the small things right is vital and unbelievably hard work. . .
Lesson 3. Treat your suppliers with respect. I’ve taken a policy decision to pay cash owed into a freelancer’s account the same day I receive the invoice. My cash flow is important but respecting other people’s cash flow generates goodwill, and better relationships are vital for a small enterprise—perhaps for big enterprises too.
In unintended contrast, is the following…
Morten Hesseldahl, head of a major Danish publishing company, says this:
It’s necessary to work closely with other media businesses. At the same time, we shouldn’t forget that the markets are structurally different. I don’t see why a super professional player in one market would strive to appear as an amateur in other markets.
Partnerships make a lot of sense when we want to publish in new formats and media. But publishers also must ensure that we have qualified people on staff. And when it comes to distribution, publishers must produce every piece of content in the most suitable formats—print, ebook, audio, or platform.
Publishers are primarily suppliers of content, and we’re always looking for recipients to whom this content will be valuable. [Emphasis mine. AB]
Later on, Hesseldahl talks about how tight things are, and how it is a “life or death” business. https://publishingperspectives.com/2018/09/denmark-gyldendal-morten-hesseldahl-book-publishing-safeguarding-old-culture/#at_pco=smlrebv-1.0&at_si=5c6481b8d17dc9c9&at_ab=per-2&at_pos=3&at_tot=auto
Isn’t it the author/composer/artist who is the content supplier? The first interview suggests that it is. The second interview has a rather different take. Granted, the two interviews are aimed in very different directions, but I though the contrast was intriguing.
Either way, keep your options open and your powder dry.