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  • Writer's pictureLiza Stirlinglass

Getting Published. Small press, the big 5, or Independent?

Updated: Mar 10, 2021

Publishing is old - according to wiki by the year 1501 over 8 million books had already been printed, newspapers began in 1603 and magazines began to be published in 1603.

Since 2007 the advent of digital media means that publishing has exploded far beyond what was once the gate protected kingdom of a select few. Various platforms now offer diverse and formerly excluded writers the ability to have their say and present their books to the marketplace, either through small press publishers or as an independently self published author. The impact on women writers is especially significant. According to a study in 2015 by 67% of top selling self published titles were written by women versus only 39% of traditionally published titles.

Sadly, mainstream media continue to ignore content not made available by traditional publishers and for most independent writers, trying to get the attention of a literary editor is akin to fishing in the ocean with a piece of string. Take note #andrewholgate at, #HarriettGilbert at, and #alisonflood et al,you are missing some marvelous books!

Despite the opportunities technology offers there are writers, fearing the multitasking and major task of marketing required to independently publish, who still may never have their manuscripts made available. Who knows how many lost works of great merit there have been over the years since 1501, especially works by women, indigenous, black and other writers from diverse backgrounds and with different abilities.

Many self published books that were written off by the traditional publishers have become much loved best sellers and modern day classics. Modern authors need tenacity, a thick skin and a whole lot of luck to get noticed. Hard work is a given.

This writer, through the encouragement of best selling author of #TheBigamist Mary Turner Thomson decided to independently publish a book of short stories in 2020 and posted a writers profile. Whilst Love Bites hasn't become a word of mouth best seller, the journey I have taken as a writer has been significantly more positive than if I had spent months and months sending out query letters. I have since independently published Murder on Morrison, the first in a series of cosy crime stories set in Edinburgh and had the good fortune to work with a small publisher in Scotland - Scaramouche Press for a work of YA fiction. Like many small independent publishers they provide opportunities for new and emerging writers to be seen and heard. They too have to swim against the swell created by multinational publishers with deep marketing pockets, and deserve our support.

Scaramouche Press are launching three books in 2021 and can be contacted at

If you are reading this as a writer, my suggestion is to go for it, sign up for as much free advice as you can - there are some excellent support groups on Facebook and on the web, you will potentially come across a publishing opportunity as I did or gain the knowledge you need to begin an independent publishing journey. The American Facebook group, for authors, offers some excellent self publishing information and tips for new writers.

If you are reading this as a reader, spend some time looking for writers beyond those presented by mainstream media. There are podcasts and newsletters sent out by writers and some independent events where you just might meet your new favourite author. One such is a new event I have started called writers Read. Two writers reading from their work with a q and a. The first is on Match 14th at 4pm. Do pop along and listen to Maggie Cobbett and Kate Donne. Both authors are independently published and can be found on amazon, goodreads or their own websites.

If you have enjoyed this read, please consider signing up for my blog - I usually have a weekly ramble - perhaps there's something you would like me to write about. Please let me know.

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