Wulfinghoff adds that the typical small publisher doesn't want to do the homework of learning details about postscripts and PDFs. But, he cautions, "Independents cannot be a success if they disdain certain details," he says.
Compounding the problem is the difficulty in obtaining adequate fulfillment. "The only saving grace is the Internet," notes Wulfinghoff. "Most small publishers would not be in business without the Internet because they simply could not distribute and promote otherwise."
Yet another element of independent publishing that can be an impediment is understanding and correctly utilizing related software, like Dreamweaver for publishing on the Web, suggests Wulfinghoff. "And … this has nothing to do with the subject matter being published," he says. "The reality is that the technology end of the business takes more time than writing."
Typically an author's royalties range from 5 percent to 10 percent, and these figures are getting lower. The reason: writing is a small part of what it costs to get a book out there, says Wulfinghoff.
For some independents, however, such added tasks are not an issue. According to Crawford, Allworth Press works with suppliers around the globe, delivering files to them via the Internet.
"Once you get ahead of the learning curve of this process, it is a tremendous advantage," says Crawford. "We are very careful with respect to production costs. We have a relatively high gross profit margin and keep administrative costs as contained as best we can."
On the upside of production, Nathan notes that once independents make a decision to publish a book, they can put it out within six months. "Major publishers can't do that under a year," she says. "There are too many levels of command."
Prevailing as Experts
The one issue that offers a major boost for small publishers is subject expertise. Megapublishers put out so many books, that they don't usually offer significant focus on a topic or niche area of publishing. But independents do.