The advantages of working with a small textbook publisher
Small textbook publishing houses offer author some distinct advantages that may be worth considering. According to Linda Null and Julia Lobur, authors of Essentials of Computer Organization and Architecture, published by Jones & Bartlett, one of the advantages is that small publishing houses will likely have fewer books in their portfolio, which means that the sales staff will push your book to the targeted audience, rather than yours and several others similar to it.
Another advantage of smaller publishing houses, said Null, is that they tend to focus on a particular textbook for a longer period of time. “While new books are pushed heavily at a larger publishing house, once a book has been out for some time, I believe the larger publishers put that book into a ‘box’ with the others and they are all treated more as a group,” she said. “With a small publisher, the book is as important in year five as it was when it first came out.”
Null and Lobur said they particularly like the prompt and personal attention they receive from the editorial staff at Jones & Bartlett—which they received even before their book became a bestseller—and the creative control they have over their work.
Paul Krieger, author of A Visual Analogy Guide to Chemistry, published by Morton Publishing Company, said he also appreciates the attention and creative control he receives by working with a smaller publishing house.
“Being both the author and the illustrator, I had complete autonomy over my books,” he said. “I was also able to choose my own content editor for the project.”
All three authors said that the minimal amount of red tape they encountered was another advantage of working with a small publishing company. Krieger only had to go through one editor to get any ideas approved, and they were all pleased to receive their royalty payments on time, along with easy-to-understand royalty statements.
Although small publishing companies offer many advantages, Null noted that they do have smaller budgets than larger publishers, which could mean fewer resources with which to promote new books and update textbook websites.
On the whole, however, all three authors are very happy with their choice of a small publishing company and resoundingly agree that they would publish with one again: “Unless something changes, I wouldn’t even consider going with another publisher for my next book,” Lobur said.
Dionne Soares Palmer