I am in the heavy process of editing the second book in my "Familiar's Tale" series, entitled "Tree of Bones," with my publisher, Joe Dickerson. It is a fun time though, because we go back and forth with fun perspectives on the story and characters, as well as make suggestions and catching teeny but annoying typos.
Working with a small publisher has it pluses and minuses. The minus is trying to get into the bookstores, even small ones. Again, the market is tough for everyone now. I did score a big success with Barnes & Noble when they picked up Gate of Souls, A Familiar's Tale, Book One, and ordered a small but respectable number of copies for actual store placement. This was a wonderful example of the larger corporation wanting to support the smaller book publisher. This may seem like a small victory, but for small publishing houses and their diligent and struggling writers, it is a mammoth success worthy of champagne and chocolate.
But despite our topsy-turvy existence, the plus of writing for a small publishing house is the personal attention you get from your editor. At least it is for me. My publisher is very supportive and knows that things take time. They are open and do not try to change my vision of what I write. I love working with Joe when we edit. It is almost as much fun as writing the book (except for the chapters where I bang my head against a virtual wall when stuck on some literary trouble spot)
One point I would like to make, is the quality of small publishing houses is first rate. Gone are the days when substandard writing was the product of the independent publisher. Not just my own house, HD-Image, but many small independent houses are putting out great work, even though they too have tough times getting bookstore placement. They sell by whatever means necessary, and use a variety of formats. E-books and PDF format downloads for example. In this ever changing technical world, times are changing. I love the traditional book. Yes, I am an old-fashioned girl. I love book covers and the tactile feel of paper on my fingertips.
But I will sell my book by any means necessary too.
I recently sat on an interesting panel at Baycon 2009 in Santa Clara, where we talked about small publishing houses. Really marvelous novels and short stories are bring produced by the independent publisher and written by not only new struggling writers, but by many seasoned and well-published authors with great resumes with big publishers.
The point is-the work is a labor of love, whether it is through a major publisher or a tiny struggling publishing house using the tools of the web to survive in this ever changing publishing world. Small publishers are not just for lazy writers who submit stories that are good, but not good enough for their bigger publishers. That attitude is just wrong. You can no longer use that judgment. There is some wonderful stuff out there, and these authors just want to do what all good writers desire-tell a great story.
I believe that being a storyteller is important. That magic of storytelling-and the venue in which it is presented, will always be there. I think you just have to be creative about where you look.