My Thoughts on the Big Five Becoming the Big Four

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On 11/25/2020, Penguin Random House publishing bought failing Simon & Schuster. On Twitter, traditionally published authors, some my friends, lamented that it was going to be even harder to get a publishing contract. I feel for them. There’s some incredible talent out there that can’t afford to invest in the top notch marketing, covers, and editing a Big House provides. I’m lamenting with them because I love their work and truly believe the world is better for their stories.

I’m new to the industry. Although I’ve signed with an indie press to publish Eastside Hedge Witch in 2021, I never for a moment considered going with one of the Big Five. Why?

Because I don’t like institutionalized gatekeeping. I understand that agents and purchasing editors for the big houses have to have discerning tastes so that only the top notch talent gets past the slush pile. That would be fine if it was an equal opportunity. For the entire history of the publishing industry, anyone who wasn’t a cis-gender, heterosexual white man had a harder time getting their work seen. I know the big houses and agents are turning that around, even their boards are more diverse now, but it’s still not a way I’d go. My reasons are here:

I hope more authors turn to smaller presses and indie publishers, and let the giants monopolizing the industry either fall or change their policies about how much they pay authors for their work, allow for them to have more of a say in cover art and titles, and how much support they give new authors a few months after a release.

©TJ Deschamps

Published by TJ Deschamps

Tammy loves to build worlds with words, exploring themes the effect of diaspora on the generations born elsewhere than their ancestors with the backdrop of tech or magic and dragons (sometimes both). These stories are inspired by her own family's immigrant experience. She's queer and many of her characters fall somewhere on the LGBTQIA spectrum (though that is not the focus of her work). She's married to an engineer who dances. Together they are raising three precocious teens in the Seattle suburbs. Two of her children are neurodiverse. Her experiences have taught her much about the world, its beauties and its injustices. All of this comes through in her fiction with a healthy dose of absurd humor.

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