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The Small Publisher

Dear Writers,

This month’s Write Now! Mastermind class will be held Wednesday, May 23 at 12:00 noon CDT. My guest this week is my husband, Harold Eppley, who recently published his first novel, Ash Wednesday. You’ll hear about all of the hurdles he had to overcome to find a home for his book. And, if you’re interested in winning a signed copy of his book, do one of the following for a chance to win:

*Comment on the blog.

*Follow the blog

*Tweet about this post!

Today’s article is about a powerful publishing secret: the small publisher.

Happy writing, Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach


The Small Publisher

by Rochelle Melander

When a writer dreams about publishing her book, she often imagines living the book publishing fairy tale: a big agent scoops her up, several editors—all from one of the big six publishing houses—bid on her book, she receives a six-figure advance, and the book is optioned for a feature film by an A-list star.

Admit it. You’ve had that dream, too. It’s hard not to hope for a big house to bless our work, when we see so many tales of success all around us. But I’m here to let you in on a little secret: you might have better success if you publish with a small house.

My husband Harold Eppley, author of the novel Ash Wednesday and our May Write Now! Mastermind Guest, found publishing success with a small, traditional publisher. Most of the books we wrote together were published by small niche houses. And there are benefits to working with a small press. They publish fewer books, so they have more time to commit to editing your work. The marketing and sales departments are often small enough to give you individual attention. Finally, because many small presses have specialties or niches, they may have developed a network for marketing and selling your work.

So where do you find these small houses? Here are five places to find the perfect small publisher for your book.

1. Your bookshelf. Writers who read (and that should be all of you!) can take a look at their bookshelves. Examine the books on your shelf that are most like yours. Who published them? If you’re a poor writer who does not buy many books, visit your local independent bookstore or library and read the shelves. Talk to your local bookseller. They can often tell you about the small presses that publish in your niche and that put out a high quality book.

2. According to its website, Duotrope is “an award-winning, free resource for writers of fiction, poetry and nonfiction.” I love this site because it has a large database and a helpful submission tracker.

3. This site offers a comprehensive list of independent publishers and university presses. It also offers lists of contests, submission requests, conferences, and other opportunities for writers.

4. Professional organizations. My husband finally found his publisher in a listing on the Small Publishers, Artists, and Writers Network ( I’ve found many helpful listings in resources published by The American Society of Journalists and Authors ( Many of my colleagues and friends have found publishers by attending writing conferences supported by a professional writing organization like Romance Writers of America or The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Check online for an organization that fits your niche.

5. The usual suspects. No list would be complete without a reference to the biggies! Writer’s Market Guide offers a helpful online market guide for a reasonable fee. They also publish a hard copy, but the online subscription saves paper and provides up-to-date information in a searchable database. The annual publication, The Christian Writer’s Market Guide, is a great resource for writers who want to tackle the spiritual market. In addition, most writing magazines like The Writer, Poets and Writers Magazine, and Writer’s Digest, offer a column on opportunities for submission. Don’t forget to check their online sites as well; they often have regular resources for writers looking for publishers.

Your turn. Where do you look for opportunities to get published? Leave your comment below!

Now that you know where to look, you lost your last excuse for not submitting your manuscript this year! Go forth and conquer.






2 Responses

  1. Thanks for this post, Rochelle. This is exactly the kind of encouragement I’ve needed, actually, to do the kind of writing I want to be doing. And as for Harold’s book, let me just say that I’m planning on reading it a second time — because it’s such a fantastic read!

    1. writenowcoach

      I’m glad to hear that this encourages you! And delighted to know you like Harold’s book, too. It’s one of my favorite reads of the year! 🙂

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