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

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