35 Years and Counting: Small Publishers Rock!

Monday, March 9, 2015

     Thirty-five years ago my first book, If I Were A Road, was published by a small educational publisher. Five years later, when sales did not meet the growing publisher's new Sales Standards, the book, along with two additions to the series, If I Were A Table and The Great Bridge Lowering, were cancelled and the rights returned to me.

 Within a short period of time I found another small educational publisher who picked them up and has been selling them steadily for over twenty-eight years. Now, I have to be honest and say all those years have not been rosey. I had to suffer through twelve years with unattractive black & white covers before the publisher began to do colored covers but eventually, the original beautiful four-color covers were returned. Then, the publisher went through Chapter 11 bankruptcy and reorganization during which their reputation tanked and royalties were not paid.  By then I had seven books with the publisher and lacked the financial ability to buy back the rights. Once the new company was up and running, royalties were caught up and they continued to sell my books.

 Last week, I was notified that the first book in the series, If I Were A Road, is on the schedule to be reformatted into an iBook. I am thrilled, of course, and amazed and truly grateful.

     For this kind of longevity a book has to have more than loyalty behind it. It has to be relevant and timely, especially in the educational market. This series of open-ended story books with activities that teach creative thinking, was ahead of it's time when the Whole Language Movement became popular in schools and with homeschooling advocates, as well, in the 1980's, and continues to meet current educational standards especially those proposed in The Common Core.

     Through this experience I've learned that loyalty to these books, now spanning close to thirty years with the current publisher, would only have happened with a large publisher if my book had been dubbed a classic.

     So, when you're looking for a publisher for that manuscript you just had to write, don't discount the little guys. You too could be looking back at a thirty-five year run.

     Small publishers rock!

     What has you experience been with small publishers?

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     WIN an autographed copy of If I Were A Table! 
      The names of the first ten folks who leave a comment will be put into a hat to win a copy of  If I Were A Table. (If I Were A Road, is currently being reprinted.)

     To learn more about the If I Were...series go to http://www.arliebooks.com/educational.htm
     To learn more about books written by Sandra Warren go to      www.sandrawarren.com   or




sheri levy said...

Sandra, It is so refreshing to hear good things about small presses. I've had a good experience with Barking Rain Press, but there's been a lot to learn on my own. My book has been out since the beginning of September. I'm revising the sequel and hope to have it ready for the publisher's eyes, soon!
Sheri Levy

Carol Baldwin said...

This is a great story, Sandra, and I'm glad you've found success this way. Maupin House who published "Teaching the Story" several years ago, was small and good to work with also.

Georgia Ruth said...

Thanks Sandra, for a very encouraging article in an unpredictable industry. My small publisher has a Wednesday blog for their writers to address a craft issue, share a story, and advertise their work. Best wishes.

Linda A. said...


As I search for ways to publish manuscripts, I will keep small publishing companies in mind. Thanks for sharing this post. Congratulations on your many years in print! May you have many more!

Sandra Warren said...

Thank you Linda, Georgia, Carol and Sheri for your comments.

We all measure success differently and expect our first book to make a BIG SPLASH in the publishing world. That may happen but more often, it's just the getting published that is the reward. If were serious writers, we have to keep doing it over and over again. Small publishers can give your writing the credibility it needs to interest the BIGGIES. I'm still waiting. Ha!

Ann Eisenstein said...

What a great story of wonderful, persistent books! Longevity is wonderful and I am happy that your books stand the test.

Sandra Warren said...

Thanks Ann!

The royalties aren't big but you can't beat the longevity.

Small publishers do ROCK!

Thanks for your comment.

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About Me

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Hi! I’m Sandra Warren, a writer with very eclectic writing tastes. I’ve been fortunate to have publications in multiple genres including children’s, gifted education, parenting, how to, poetry, journal, educational activity guides and biography as well as audio and video production. I'm a city gal recently transplanted to the mountains of NC where glorious mountain vistas inspire latest renderings.

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