I recently talked about the glamour of Pagan Publishing. I’m going to let you in on another dirty secret, something not really talked about, but nonetheless present in the Pagan news media, convention scene, and publishing world. If you’re an author, and you’re not with one of the bigger publishers, prepared to be ignored by the Pagan news media and publicity and convention scene unless you are willing to do a lot of work to make yourself heard or have such an interesting angle they can’t ignore you without looking really bad for doing so. Don’t get me wrong, all authors with publishers big and small have to do their marketing, but in general authors with bigger publishers get preferential treatment. Authors with smaller publishers that don’t have the same resources need to advocate for themselves and prepare to be ignored a lot of the time because they aren’t with a big publisher.
For example, a pagan convention recently had a featured guest appear. This author has written few books and has been around for a while. His books are all from larger publishers, so there’s some benefit for suddenly naming this author a featured guest. Now he may have asked to become such a guest, or not. I don’t know if he did or didn’t, but I’m going to guess he probably didn’t. Yours truly, on the other hand, who is attending the same convention and has written more than a few books didn’t even get contacted about becoming a featured guest. So what did I do? I emailed them. We’ll see if I become a featured guest or not. But here’s the ugly truth: When you are with a small publisher you better be prepared to ask for and advocate for what you want, because no one will give it to you. When you’re with a larger publisher, you get some of the love from the news media and the conventions just because you’re with that bigger publisher.
I’ve been writing books for ten years, have a dozen books to my name, with more on the way, and I can tell you it doesn’t mean squat in and of itself. Books don’t sell themselves….your publicity or lack thereof does and any author will tell you that you’ve got to be prepared to work that publicity for all its worth. However when you’re with a bigger publisher doors open a lot easier. The same applies to getting into the Pagan news, becoming a blogger at one one of the Pagan news portals or one of the other outlets, etc. The bigger publishers command more respect, not because they’ve earned it per se, but because they’ve got the publicity and marketing resources that help with these kinds of things. I think it sucks, but there it is: the reality of publicity, the Pagan convention circuit, and Pagan Publishing. If you aren’t with a big publisher, you have to work harder to get noticed and you should expect that even then you’ll get brushed aside, or given delays or told that such and such author from a bigger publisher is the one they’ll give the cover photo to. I’ve had all of that happen to me in the last couple years, despite the fact that I’ve been writing for a long time.
I’ll admit this post is a rant and I’m sure some of you are thinking that I’m being a bit egotistical, but you know what? I’ve worked hard to get my name out there and that, in and of itself, does not guarantee success. I know this, because I know the realities of networking. In my day business, I do a lot of networking and I can tell you that the more well connected you are the easier it is to get access to resources you want. The less connected you are, the harder it is. I’ve been ignored and sidelined a lot over the years and its really frustrating. When I see certain authors favored over other authors and see that for the most part, they are with bigger publishers, what it tells me is that there is some bias in place in favor of authors with bigger publishers. Now it could be argued that I should just play the game, get published by a bigger publisher and then I’ll get some of those doors opened, but I like the publisher I’m with and more importantly I’d rather kick the board over and reset the game and make it so that the pagans new media and the convention people actually recognize authors that aren’t with the bigger publishers and spread some publicity love our way. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to want that, but I suspect that it’ll only happen if issues such as these continue to be pointed out. So to those of you in the pagan news media and convention circuit, I have a simple request: Stop focusing on just the BNPS with the big publishers and start noticing some of us who are with smaller presses, but also have something equally valuable to share with the community.