Every writer who hopes to become a published author should be an enthusiastic buyer of books, not just an avid reader. Why? Because you're supporting the industry you want to become a part of.
Another small LDS publisher recently called it quits. That statement may seem like it's unrelated to the previous paragraph, but it's not. Why? Because many of this small publisher's titles were pushed into the Dead Zone and sales tanked.
They were acquired by another small company so I'm not sure how that will shake out—if the acquiring company will keep it as an imprint or if they'll just sell through the current stock in print and let it die. Regardless, the whole thing makes me sad because now we have one less avenue to publication, which means by default, the control that Deseret Book/Covenant has over the LDS publishing industry has just increased.
I'm not dissing DB&C. The products they release are top-notch and despite the fact that their business decisions are hurting smaller companies what they are doing is not bad or evil. But when you have one small group of people deciding what is and is not appropriate for a market of readers, it's just not healthy. We need more small publishers, more opinions, not less.
So, how do we help? What can we do to influence the market and insure that alternate avenues to publication stay open? We can buy books.
You influence the state of the industry with your checkbook. When you find a book that you really like, buy it—especially if it's published by a smaller press. Buy several copies and give them as birthday and Christmas gifts.
Another thing we can do is to support published authors by attending their book signings and other appearances when possible. Even if you've already purchased their book, even if you've met them before, go out and meet them again. A well-attended signing says something to a publisher and author, even if the sales at that signing are low.
So here's your assignment:
1. In the comments section of this post, name one (or more) title(s) published by a small press that you purchased in the past six months.
2. Take my poll in the sidebar.
3. Go over to LDS Fiction and post some recommended reading comments for titles by smaller presses—titles that you've read and you like.
4. If possible, buy a book this week.
Correction: When first posted, I mistakenly identified Spring Creek as the small publisher that had been acquired by WindRiver. That is not correct. Mapletree was the company that was acquired by WindRiver. I apologize for the confusion here.