Small Press
Large Press

One Author’s Experience

The thrill of receiving a money-paying offer for the words you’ve poured onto paper is not only exciting, it’s validating. You’ve just been told you are good enough at your passion to be paid. The temptation to jump at the first offer is overwhelming. In the case of my first accepted novel, The Sisterhood Hyphen, that contract came from a small press. Yes, I jumped. Then came a second offer with a tiny advance attached (under a thousand)—the one I eventually chose. I’ve experienced offers from both small and large publishers. Here’s what I found.


A large press supplies a deep team of editors: developmental, at least two versions of copy editors, proofreaders, fact checkers, (one caught an error in my description of a knife handle on page 89 that did NOT match the same description on page 281—shame on me), legal checkers, and more if needed.

Small press editing is done by one poor soul (usually the company owner) and maybe one volunteer. In Sisterhood Hyphen, you’ll find multiple typos. That’s why I barely acknowledge authorship of that book though it tackles a deep current topic about who best fits the description of an American-American, wrapped in a typical romance format. Yes, the three African American girlfriends get their men during their tourist trip to Senegal.


Large presses differ on the amount of marketing they supply. In my case, it is massive. In the case of a family member who published with another major, marketing was modest.

A small press usually lacks the funds to provide the writer anything other than a thin layer of generic publicity.

Communication and Royalties

Large Presses are a business. You will be paid per contract without question.
A Small Press may be iffy in issuing future royalty payments and IRS dealings.
This has been my experience with both large and small presses. Each author’s aspirations for getting the book “out there” is different. If a small press works for your goals, go for it.