“I was absolutely terrified…you are not only competing with books from 2012, but Hemmingway and Harry Potter,” said Baltimore author, Lauren Small, as she describes how she created a publishing company just to get her novel published.
Small is an older woman with wisdom and knowledge in the book writing process beyond her years. She is a dedicated, hardworking author who started something from nothing in order to get her work out into the world.
Her company, Bridle Path Press, has now published four books, and plans on publishing three this year and at least one the year following.
“We’re unique and there is no one else like us,” says Small. Their different structure is what attracts authors who are unable to get published by mainstream publishing companies.
Bridle Path Press has a relationship with its authors in which every author helps each other. Whether from editing or getting the word of each other’s novels out. In the end you must work for your book to be published and to become a success, just as Small did back in 2007.
After college, Small left her hometown of Denver and moved to Baltimore to begin her quest of getting the history of her family put down on paper. “Finding out where you come from should be the most important thing to someone,” says Small.
After completing her first novel, without success in getting it published, she moved on to writing her next one, Choke Creek.
Choke Creek came as a result of research for her first novel, when she came across the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864 which “fascinated and horrified” her. “Being from Colorado, and never hearing of this angered me,” said Small. “Why did no one ever talk about it and why was it deliberately covered up.”
It bothers Small when people don’t tell the truth. So she made it her job to get the truth out about what really happened back then and why it had been covered up. According to a friend of Small, “She has a nose and intolerance for scandal and inhumanity. She is attracted to the untold horrific story.”
In 2007 Choke Creek had been completed and it was time for the real challenge. Small explained that there is more to writing than just “putting on your creative hat and writing whatever you want.” You also need to figure out how to get your work out into the world.
To Small’s dismay she found herself back in the same boat as she was with her first novel; no one would publish her book. She knew this was a story that had to be told, but found it virtually impossible for anyone to back her. According to Small, fiction is the hardest thing to make money on in today’s society.
She had two options: Put it aside and think oh well it didn’t work out, or put her money where her mouth was and publish the book herself.
She chose option two.
To publish this book Small found that again she had two options: Use the Internet and on demand publishing or start her own business and not only help herself but other struggling authors like her.
Once again, she chose option two.
Small set aside $1,000 for the legal fees and startup costs. While publishing her novel she found that she was able to keep most of the costs to a minimum.
The largest costs for publishing a book are proof reading, a book designer, ink and paper. In an era where book publishing is now open to the average citizens due to the Internet, tons of people have been laid off in the industry.
Among those people Small found an editor willing to work for a small fee. She also found a Baltimore University design student wiling to create her book design for free in exchange for school credit.
Bridle Path Press published Choke Creek in 2009. “Your book is one cornstalk in a mile long cornfield,” says Small. Once a book is published you have to plan where you want to and will find success.
Small wanted her novel to be used by teachers in schools, so she got in touch with every teacher she knew and started passing the word along. When you publish your own book, you are in charge of marketing it. Once the book started selling she was able to pay back the price for putting it to print.
Choke creek is now being taught in high schools across the nation.
Small keeps her business small because of the intensive process. She doesn’t want to be a full time publisher because her primary occupation and passion is writing. She never wanted to publish her own book, but feels that she was forced into the business world because of her struggles of getting her work published in an era where publishing companies are dwindling.
She is proud of Bridle Path Press and what it is they are doing. They have not only helped her become a published author but have helped other struggling author’s dreams come true too.