Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Small Press Taxonomy

I've failed to make an actual post today, so I must dig into the archives. Here's something that may be amusing -- Joe Bernstein got hold of a horrible book sometime last year, and told rec.arts.sf.written about it. He asked if mainstream small presses were different from those in the SFF field, and here's what I said:

There are many different kinds of small presses.

SF (however you define it) has a dozen or so established operations that put out at least a book a year and that know the field. Many of those publish a lot of short fiction -- either novellas-as-books or collections -- or do fancy limited editions of popular books at least some of the time.

There are also small presses that know nothing at all about the genre -- or any genre -- and yet publish in it regularly. They used to turn up in my submissions pile at the old job with depressing regularity, and their books were generally about as awful as the one you describe.

And then there are the presses that exist only because Jane Writer can't find anyone willing to bring out her masterpiece, and so she does it herself -- those, generally, you'll want to run screaming from at first sight, to save some of your SAN.

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