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.

3 Comments on “Small Press Tutorial”

  1. Go Bill!

    Success like yours couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Looks as though the hard work and smart choices are really paying off!

    Keep up the excellent work — I look forward to seeing that MoonHeart Limited Edition. I still treasure my Triskell Tales!


  2. Hey Jane,

    Fancy meeting you here. How’s the married thing going for you? I took the plunge last year and couldn’t be happier.

  3. Wow! Hey, not to hijack the thread, but Congrats! Hope you guys, all the kitties, and SubPress are all filled with good luck and happiness.

    The married thing is heaven, lemme tell ya, especially when you marry another comics person.

    To turn the tide back to relavent topic — I turned Paul to the Dark Side — he’s self-publishing his new graphic novel this fall, and it should be ready for SPX. We’ve often used your advice and tips (and I may be calling you for more information about your splendid basement inventory-filing system, since we’re about to have seven books in print between us, all self-published), though we’re not doing novel-novels, most of it’s still relavent. Listen to this man, folks — he’s admired by fans and pros alike.

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