5 Big Tips For Small Publishers

And by small, I mean the person who sits at their laptop typing-up that story without knowing how they’ll go about marketing their work. “How am I going to make money off of (this novel / short story / these essays / these X number of poems) that I’m working on?,” that writer wonders.


There’s two ways for that writer to go about solving their dilemma.

  1. Self-publish through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) feature. The simplicity of this process is that you type-up and complete your story (like our example writer), then sign-in to the KDP service (and fill-out the information for your work, verify their copyright specifics, and the book’s retail value), and finally–utilize Amazon’s “Merchandising Tips” on promoting their work.
    1. They could also look into other self-publishing services such as Xlibris or OutskirtsPress.
  2. They could invest in submitting their work to a literary magazine (publishing house is another term; but we’ll stick to the former instead of the latter). Some of the biggest literary magazines out there are:
    1. Penguin Random House
    2. HarperCollins
    3. New Yorker
    4. The Atlantic
    5. Harper’s Magazine



No matter which of the two methods you choose, it is vital to understand the literary market–and this isn’t just limited to what you find on the web. Books in your local library on the subject, professionals / employees of literary jobs (or even employees of publishing houses) are fine sources to rely on for information as well. In fact, coming across someone who’s had first-hand experience in the business is probably your most important source out there. Some questions you may wish to ask publishing professionals are:

  1. Which genre is currently reaching the most readers out there?
  2. If you have some time, could you review what I’ve written? Where does my (novel / essay / poem / etc.) stand in terms of other writers in my genre?

These questions don’t just have to be limited to the writer’s perspective. Ask how you may become an editor and what skill set is required for the job. In the event you one day wish to transition from writer to editor, it would be nice to know that you made the connection with an employee or professional years prior.


So let’s dive into the 5 big tips you’ve been waiting to hear:

Make a blueprint. Who do you want your audience to be? What will your story be about? Are you writing an essay, short story, novel, etc.? Once you gather your barrings and have a map for where you’re heading, you can start the travel.

Start writing! But certainly don’t feel like you have to rush in completing your work. A quality work of literature takes time to complete–and the more time you invest in your story, the more time your editor will put into considering it for their publishing house’s magazine.

Once you’ve finished your work, act like the hound. Sniff out the publishing house you feel will best meet your needs. Keep in mind also that different literary magazines work with different genres of writing. You can browse through some using NewPages’ Big List feature. Visit the literary magazine’s website and see their policies for story submissions. You can either edit your work to fit their criteria –or– find a literary magazine that fits the criteria of your work.

After choosing a literary magazine, it’s time to submit! (Keep in mind that different literary magazines have different submission policies–so submit according to those.) At this point, you have to await the magazine’s feedback to your work (which takes time as editors of the business work with who knows how many stories on a weekly–even monthly–basis). Patience is key at this point, and all you have to wait for is the house’s response / letter that states if they’ve either decided to accept your work, wish for you to edit your work, or have–sadly–chosen to reject your work.

This is where step 5 comes in. If your work has been approved, you may (or may not) already have a literary agent who advises you on the marketing strategy / specifics of revenue you’ll receive. (Keep in mind that many publishers, however, do not pay their authors for the work they submit–or may not be able to, considering the slowness of the book market that is quite prominent in the business.) The bottom line: know where you’re stepping before you move forward with false expectations.


There is even a 6th step–the self-publishing we mentioned earlier. If you feel that you could have more success with your work through marketing it on your own terms, go for it! Try what you must in order to fulfill your goal for your story. But keep in mind that all things take time, and the process of building your audience / fan base / etc. can take time.





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