Musing on Small Presses

When I started my blog several years ago, I had always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to focus more on small press publications than on the big books making news everywhere.  So I tried.  I contacted small presses for review copies, got on some lists but very few, and eventually got swept up by other larger publishers and their glossy covers.

When I get books from small presses, they usually fall into similar categories as larger press.  There are the ones that exceed their promise, those that disappoint and those that are simply OK.  But what I love about small presses is that there are true undiscovered gems in there.  And even better, there are books that take real chances, risk it all and some work and others fail horribly.  But at least the risk was taken. 

So I wonder, how do we get copies of books by small presses to review?  How do we
bring to people’s attention great books that are being overlooked
simply because of the size of their printing?  How do small presses
afford to even consider sending review copies? 

And my question to all of you is if you are reading small press materials, how did you get your hands on them?  I would much rather wade through unknown material never before reviewed than find yet another book whose marketing promises the moon and then the book is mediocre at best.

4 thoughts on “Musing on Small Presses

  1. As an author who is published by a smaller press (Millbrook Press, imprint of Lerner), my comments will probably sound a bit like sour grapes. But I would certainly applaud more coverage of books that aren’t being covered by everyone else. My publisher happens to focus on the school and library market (I write non-fiction books about art) and these books don’t get nearly as much coverage as trade books. And while I understand why this is so up to a point, the fact is there’s a lot of crossover between school/library books and trade books. In short, I think there are plenty of gems to be found in the school and library book market. Trade publishers aren’t the only ones taking chances.

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  2. Tasha,
    The only bit of advice I can give to you and fellow bloggers is ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE.
    The worst someone could say is NO but I doubt that would be the case.
    And just because you receive automatic copies from a small press at certain times of the year doesn’t mean that you can’t ask for more books, or backlist titles.
    People who WANT what we have to offer and who are just as excited about what we do as we are tend to make their way onto our radar one way or the other.
    So, think of yourself as one of us, someone who enjoys children’s literature, wants to spread that joy and is looking for ways to make that happen.
    SSL

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  3. Tasha, I have a hard time getting a hold of the small press–and university press–titles, too. Often I don’t even hear about them at all.
    At the recent NCTE convention, I made sure to stop and talk with some of the smaller publishers–whether this turns into anything remains to be seen. I would like to hear more from the publishers who target the the school and library markets; you can often find some fascinating nonfiction there–like Mr. Raczka’s “3-D ABC”!

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