Jan. 1st, 2011

sheenaghpugh: (Brain)
I've often heard novelists debating whether it's better to be with a big publisher or a small one. The big guys have more clout with people like Waterstones, and bigger budgets to spend on publicity, but if you're a first-time or midlist writer, that may not help you much, because they spend the budget on their big names and ignore the small fry, whereas with a small publisher you may be a big fish in a small pool. Leastways, that's the theory; in practice I suspect most writers, certainly first-timers, go gratefully with the first and often the only outfit to make them an offer.

But this interview on Helen Caldwell's writing blog shows an interesting example of a far from first-timer author switching publishers from Hodder to the small (and to me unknown) operation Plash Mill Press. David Wishart has been writing his Marcus Corvinus ancient Roman murder mysteries for 15 years; I know because I'm addicted to the things and devour them as soon as they come out. He says that "being a small fish" at Hodder, there was little money for marketing his books and describes his frustration at seeing them disappear into a “publishing black hole”. That surprises me because he was always easy to find in Waterstones, got lots of Amazon reviews, and the last few Corvinus books had started to come out in hardback before the paperback, which I always thought indicated success. Yet here he is switching in hopes of more publicity. Whether it'll work just because PlashMill have a blog, I'm not sure. I only found out about the new book via googling him and finding this interview, but to be fair, it's only been around for a month.

I'd be interested to hear what my novelist friends feel about the big vs little debate. And my publisher friends, come to that...

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December 2011

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