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3 unique research methods to identify small publishers Writing

3 unique research methods to identify small publishers

Today’s guest contribution comes from the author and publisher Rosalie Morales Kearns (@RMoralesKearns).


When I was looking for a publisher for my novel, it was a random process to find small presses. I would compile lists from different sources just to find out that some of the presses have specialized in categories other than literary fiction (e.g. poetry) or have not published anything in recent years.

After starting my own small press and being more familiar with the small press landscape, I have some ideas on how we authors can not only find small presses, but also narrow our search to presses in certain categories. (For more information on finding publishers, see this article by Jane.)

1. Browse the venues that specialize in books with a small press.

If an upcoming book receives reviews from a small press, there is a good chance that the press is actively publishing and that its titles are effectively in the hands of reputable reviewers. Foreword reviews is especially dedicated to checking books by small presses in many categories. Subscribe to or read the quarterly magazine Book ratings Section on their website, and look into the category your own manuscript belongs to – for example YA, memoirs, literary fiction, etc.

Websites like Small press reviews, the Independent book reviewand Melissa Duclo’s newsletter Enlarge are much smaller, but also worth a look, especially if your manuscript is literary fiction.

2. Identify awards for small press books.

If you look at literary prices that are specifically for small presses, you can also compile a list of active publishers who send their books to check prices. The Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) has its annual Firecracker Awards especially for literary fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry. A larger selection of categories can be found in the Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards, which are managed by Foreword reviews. Here is the List of winners 2018. The finalists for 2019 will be announced on March 20.

3. Check out best sellers and new booksellers that specialize in books for small presses.

A number of dealers specialize in titles published by small presses. My own press is distributed by Small Press Distribution (SPD), which represents over 400 small literature publishers. Instead of adding all of these presses to the list you are putting together, here is a link: Check out the SPD lists of new releases and bestsellers. Here are the relevant pages for new fiction and Bestselling fiction at SPD; There are also similar lists for poems and creative non-fiction.

Also note:

Ask questions or add other useful resources in the comments below. And good luck with your search!

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