A small press, growing? How could it be?
Against market trends, Dzanc Books is a small publisher poised to succeed, hiring staff and expanding quickly. And that may be because it sprouted from a blog rather than a traditional printing press, and it is certainly web-savvy.
Naturally, with my involvement in Shimmer, I have a vested interest in the fate of small presses. In particular, I’m interested in some of the viral marketing Dzanc has been employing. A lot of the things in the article turned up in the panel on Small Press that I was on at WFC.
I’m of the opinion that one of the things that small presses need to do is to rediscover what they do that no other media can provide, in much the same way that painters had to discover what paint did that photography could not.
I believe that small presses need to really pay attention to the package that they deliver the fiction in. There are other ways to get a quick cheap fiction fix so the people to whom a printed book will appeal are those people who like a physical artifact. A savvy publisher, like Subterranean Press or Nightshade, will recognize that and cater to the people who want their fiction in a nice package. And look at the way Clarkesworld magazine or Fantasy magazine are leveraging the online presence to publicize their anthologies.
I suspect that printed pulp fiction will vanish because there are other ways of getting it. But I’m betting that as the internet allows publishers to reach niche markets more easily that small presses can ultimately thrive.
What do you think?