The first of two workshops I went to on Saturday as part of Birmingham Lit Fest was hosted by Mslexia
's editor Debbie Taylor, who I'm afraid didn't make a very good impression on me. She wanted to postpone the start in case anyone arrived late (a suggestion that was firmly quashed by the organisers!); she had rushed to get there and told us she hadn't had time to read through her notes: and when she did start talking she realised she was using the wrong
notes! And she didn't know how long the session was supposed to last. Most unprofessional, I thought.
Anyway, the theme was: Meet the editors
- specifically, the brains behind a selection of small press publishers. The panel comprised:
What was clear was that running a small press is a labour of love. All the speakers were keen to point out that they don't make any money. In particular, Carlotta said that despite not taking any advertising and not charging for the online edition, she still pays her contributors. OK, only a fiver a time, but still. That's just crazy!
Nor should you think that you stand a better chance of being accepted by a small publisher. Each was oversubscribed, whether operating a submissions window or an open-door policy.
Certainly the books on show were lovely, but I came away thinking that if you can't get a deal with a mainstream publisher, why not simply self-publish?
Does anyone have any experience of these or other small press publishers?