Regional Publishers – Pros and Cons

By Guest Blogger Margo Dill

Have you ever considered submitting your manuscript to a regional publisher? YA author Margo Dill published her books through regional publishers. Here she discusses the pros and cons of authors taking that route.

The biggest drawback to a regional publisher is that you won’t get as much support in bookstores, as you would if you had a well-known publisher like Random House or Penguin. Also, you probably won’t get an advance or a huge book deal. But that said, you will still have to market yourself. You will still have to worry about book sales. You will still have to keep writing to keep your audience wanting to buy your books. It’s a myth that a major book publisher is going to send you on a book tour—this happens if you have a well-built audience because you have had commercial success.

The benefits of a regional publisher are you get more say in your book. I have been asked about my illustrator for my picture book (I chose 3 and my publisher secured one of those to do the illustrations for Maggie Mae), and the covers for both of my YA novels (I provided feedback on what I didn’t think fit). You have direct access to the publisher/editors who will answer you in a timely manner. It’s kind of like the difference between going to a huge state college (national publisher) or a small private one (regional publisher). Regional publishers give authors a chance to get their foot in the publishing world, and they tend to be overly supportive and kind.

Either way, it’s hard work to be successful.

Pros and Cons of Signing with a Regional Publisher

Remember that in today’s world, location doesn’t restrict a publisher from promoting anywhere. So being called a regional publisher isn’t a deterrent to reaching the masses. A big pro about finding a regional publisher, however, is in that regional publisher knowing its region, being able to saturate the region, and attracting readers who are interested in reading about where they live. As I teach writers at conferences, if you can sell 5,000 books, what does it matter if they are in your state or across the country? Frankly, word of mouth works more to your benefit if you sell that 5,000 books within your region. And once you are a household name in your region, the next step is to delve further.

The cons are that your regional publisher may prefer to remain local. Unless you are dying to be a nationally renowned author, why not be famous in the Southeast, the Northeast, the state of Colorado, or the eastern seaboard? What does it matter if you are not known in the opposite side of the country, or any other country, for that matter. It all depends on what you seek.

Margo Dill is a professional writer, editor, instructor, and coach in St. Louis, MO. Besides having published three books for children, she also has her own editing business, Editor 9-1-1. Margo has also written countless articles and blog posts. For WOW! Women On Writing, she edits articles and columns as well as judge and critique flash fiction stories for the popular quarterly flash fiction contest and new creative nonfiction essay contest. 

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