Many authors go through the same debate: do I self-publish or try to pitch an agent to have them help me get published? It is something I myself went back and forth on for quite a long time back when I was nearing the completion of my first book, Grim Ambition.
However, there is a third option: small publishers, or the small press.
A small press is a mix between traditional and self-publishing that can really help writers get a foothold in this insanely competitive market of becoming a published author. There are many pros and cons of publishing with a small press, but plenty of writers swear by it, and have become bigger authors because of one.
Magali Frechette, for example, is one such author. Her first book is published through Evernight, a small press for romance stories. I spoke with Magali to get a better feel of the process she went through.
Reinfried: Magali, thank you so much for sharing your experience with me to help aspiring writers!
Magali Frechette: Of course, I’m happy to help!
R: So, your book titled My Soul to Give. What is that about?
MF: Well, my main character, Celina, is a widow who’s in over her head when the demon she made a deal with turns out to be more trustworthy than the husband she’s avenging.
R: Whoa, that sounds really good! How long did it take you to write it?
MF: *nervous chuckle* That’s a bit of a trick question. I finished the original draft, which is very different from the published version, back in August of 2014. Then I rewrote it almost completely, revised three times, and edited it a total of 72 times. Yep, 72 times. By the time I was ready to query, it was in February of 2017.
R: That’s almost exactly how things went for me with Grim Ambition! I had it done, then revised the entire novel after I thought it was done, and after that, did a ton of edits. Although I don’t think it was 72 of them! That’s definitely a common thing I’ve found, when writers finish a piece only to revise and edit over and over, and isn’t something any author should fear, as you’re just making your work better!
What software did you use to write, revise, and edit your book?
MF: I used Scrivener to write most of the rewrite when I added the chapters of the male protagonist/antagonist – let’s face it, her love interest is still the demon she made a deal with, so he’s a bit of both lol).
The software helped me keep the chapters separated better in a visual way. However, it did take me a bit of time to get used to [Scrivener] though, but a free seminar on it helped. I then used Word for edits, as well as back-and-forth with beta readers.
I also use Pro-Writing Aid installed on Word since it helps me catch consistencies (UK spellings versus US) and basic grammar mistakes as English is not my first language.
R: Oh, I didn’t know that existed for Word! I’m going to have to look into it. I also just downloaded Scrivener for my next novel, so I may have to ask you a few questions on it!
MF: For sure!
R: So did you have to get an agent to go through a small press?
MF: Actually, I had aimed for an agent for a long time at first, but decided that with the type of story I had written – and a recommendation from an awesome friend, author, and beta reader – that a small press might be my best bet. I certainly don’t have any regrets not continuing to seek an agent, but maybe one day, depending on what I continue to write, I may try again.
R: So how did you find Evernight Publishing?
MF: When I happened on a Top 10 list for small publishing presses. I found it cool they were based in Toronto, Canada, and from all of the titles I was able to read/check out, I thought they would be a good fit for my types of books.
All the authors at Evernight are really supportive and have become good friends, and whenever I have any questions, since I’m still new to the whole publishing industry, they’re always willing to help out.
R: That’s fantastic! How long did the whole process take, from the end of revisions to publication?
MF: It was pretty fast, actually! The contract was signed April 20th, edits started June 5th and ended June 8th. That same day, the cover art was sent for approval, and after a bit of back and forth, I okayed it on June 11th. Release date was set for June 29th. So all in all, a little over two months!
R: Which is so, so much quicker than being published through the Big Five. Or even getting an agent, which can take many months, even years.
Do you have any tips for publishing through a small press for other authors?
MF: Definitely look for publishers that publish the types of books you’re writing. I also suggest reading the Index of publishers and agents at the AbsoluteWrite forums, but remember that all experiences are different, so take positive/negative comments with a grain of salt. Whenever publishers send you a revise and resubmit, never reply right away – sleep on it, even if it’s a few days. They’re there to help your book succeed, so what they’re recommending is always given with the intent of making it better.
R: That is fantastic advice. Thank you so much for sharing your experience!
MF: Of course! Let me know if you or anyone has any questions in the future!
All right, writers, that’s all for now. Be sure to check out Magali’s book, My Soul to Give, by clicking the image below, and as always, if you have questions, leave them in a comment on this post!
Thanks again to Magali Frechette!