Troy Cook (Guest blogger)
Our guest is a reformed filmmaker who decided, after working on 80 movies, that he’d rather write novels. His first crime novel, 47 Rules of Highly Effective Bank Robbers, was nominated for major mystery awards. His second, The One Minute Assassin, was released this fall.
Troy Cook here, with a topic near and dear to my heart, the indy presses. In light of recent changes to the MWA guidelines for their list of approved publishers (which I won’t go into here), I wanted to take a moment to champion some of the wonderful companies that have been bringing us great books and new discoveries.
But why should we care about the magnificent independent presses? We all love the big NY publishers and want to be published by them, so why do indy presses get me excited?
It probably starts with my background in independent filmmaking. In the film business 80% of all films are produced by the independents. Yes, a lot of them are crap, including plenty of the 80 films I made in my career. But it’s also where you discover the next great filmmakers of our time: Quentin Tarantino, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, and Francis Ford Coppola, among others. These guys, with their crazy ideas about filmmaking, explored and created works of art in the independent world before being snatched up by the big guys.
I think it’s the same with big publishers as it is for the studios. Big publishers are defined by their stockholder value, which makes it next to impossible for them to take too many risks. And every new author is a risk. That’s where the independent presses come in. They can take a chance on a new author because they don’t need huge sales numbers to be profitable. They can grow an author from scratch all the way to big sales.
Of course, then the NY pubs swoop in and lead the author to bigger and better distribution and sales. Which is pretty cool.
Will this happen to me? To you? It remains to be seen, but it is possible to make a splash even when you’re with a small press. My debut mystery picked up rave national reviews and won multiple awards, garnering interest from a big NY pub, selling out its print run, and landing me a film deal. So I think it’s plausible.
A couple of examples of the small press rags to riches story are Sean Doolittle and Victor Gischler. Well…rags to riches might be a stretch since very few authors get to the riches stage. But these guys were with a cool small press called Uglytown, with good sales, and eventually got snatched up by Bantam/Dell. One day, I hope to follow in their footsteps.
Visit the author’s web site at www.troycook.net