Daily Archives: July 4, 2005

Small Press Tutorial

(Posted by Bill Schafer)

Bill Schafer here.

As I mentioned last week, I make my living as a small press publisher. Along the way, I’d like to think I’ve learned a trick or ten.

Not Everyone Will Share Your Taste.
A fan of aquatic vampire stories about hunchbacks? Good for you. It’s a corner of the genre not yet fully mapped. Trying to build your press on such offerings is another matter entirely. Just like with the big publishers in NY, you have to publish what readers want, or you’ll find yourself using unsold inventory in creative ways — anyone for a coffee table made of books?

Do Not Cater Exclusively to the Collector’s Market.
There are a whole host of small horror presses that have cropped up in the past few years: Delirium, Necessary Evil, Bloodletting, Earthling, to name a few. They specialize in small print runs, always under 500 copies, frequently producing editions of under 100 copies. Some of these micro-presses produce sturdy, quality limited editions. Some don’t.

Even at the specialty press level, I believe publishers have an obligation to reach as wide an audience as possible. Microscopic print runs sell to the same few hundred collectors, who don’t necessarily buy the books to read them. Trust me, when we see another economic downturn, when hardcore collectors have fewer sheckels in their pockets for limited editions, we’ll see a winnowing among the micro-presses.

Company’s due here in a few minutes, so I’ll be back later with more, and a few tales of where SubPress’ bodies are buried.