While the giant firms sink huge sums into fleeting fads, the commitment and passion of the smaller imprints leave a larger impression in the long term
Here’s an observation: it sometimes feels as though smaller independents are the research and development departments for the big publishers, where literary fiction is concerned. We find great writers, nurture them, wipe their brows, polish their work and buff it until it shines. Then we send them out, readers love the books and they get shortlisted and win major literary prizes.
Then the big money imprints swoop in; whisking them away to put them in a sparkly marketing jacket and present them in their new package to the world.
Why are independent publishers managing to get more of their authors’ work on to prize shortlists and win more awards than the bigger firms? Two of the last three Man Booker winners were published by independents. How could that be?