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Thread: Startup small presses

  1. #1
    Just the facts, please
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    Dec 2012
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    Startup small presses

    I've been reading quite a few Beware threads about small publishers. Many reveal significant problems and copious red flags with the owners' practices and business models.

    What I'm curious about is: What does it take to start a good small press? One that will last, survive, thrive and do a good job for readers while treating authors well. Experience, connections, capital, for sure, but how much/many of each? How much money per book should a small press be investing, for what sort of return? How does a press find a distributor and get books into stores? etc. etc. etc. ...

    I know each press is different, so what I'm really hoping for are averages / anecdotal observations / lessons drawn from experience on what factors make a startup small press likelier to succeed than the average fly-by-night or vanity operation.

  2. #2
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I joined one press within the first year because:
    * The owner had recent successful experience with another press
    * The owner left that press for a good reason
    * They had start up capital
    * They had great authors signed up
    * They had experienced, kick ass editors signed up
    * Their business plan made sense
    * They had distribution
    Emily Veinglory

  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW benluby's Avatar
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    One knack I would consider crucial, in addition to all veinglory's comments? You need to have the people with a nose for stories that will be popular/potential hits.

  4. #4
    Heckuva good sport frimble3's Avatar
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    And, should the owner get sick, drop dead, skip town or find another interest, who's going to be running the place? It's not enough to hire workers, there should be a competent back-up for management.
    This seems to be a problem for a lot of one-man shows. Or, one-man and a couple of editors.

  5. #5
    Geek Unique LeslieB's Avatar
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    For me, distribution would be a very big factor. There are too many "Print books --> ?? --> Profit!" operations out there.
    Not doing anything with my life is surprisingly time consuming.

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