(By Christina Anne Taylor of Middle Island Press)
I have a friend who owns a thrift shop and occasionally puts books in a “FREE” box outside his shop, but he does, however, sell a lot of books inside (including Middle Island Press anthologies). He told me recently that a woman picked up a book from a shelf and asked him, “Would you call me to let me know when you put this book in the FREE box?”
What?! Did she ask, “Will you spend your valuable time to take a financial loss on my behalf?”
Most everyone wants something for free, it seems, and of course I understand. Needless to say, after a few lessons learned, I (as a subsidy publisher) have spent a lot of time dismaying writers who do not believe that one’s time is worth paying for.
Ever the literary philanthropist, it is a painful realization that “made with love and crafted to perfection” does not guarantee good karma in the way of gold and green raining from the sky-palace of prosperity.
Middle Island Press has undergone another shape-shift, shaped by the personalities and the needs of those whom I have done business with over the past few years and in the spring of my being as a literary service-provider.
Middle Island Press is a subsidy publisher. It’s as simple as that.
Hey, it’s all good. Subsidy publishers are relatively rare, because they are the sacrificial little guys, the good guys who make less money and do more to enhance quality than vanity presses. Subsidy publishers pay royalties and are more author-friendly. In general, they do their best to spare writers’ (*ahem*) vanity.
So it’s not quite the free VIP pass to events of literary awards. It’s more like balcony seating with Benefactor rewards for those who are willing to pay for a good thing.