It’s one thing when a publisher circles the drain, and nearly everyone has known or suspected it would happen for months or years.
It’s another, when a *good* small press fails. One that was, by most accounts, doing everything right: lasting for longer than two years, choosing great books and authors, designing excellent covers, marketing professionally, and offering gorgeous, award-winning books.
Jolly Fish Press is closing at the end of October 2016. This was very sudden and traumatic for them, their authors, and the agents who worked with them. Even doing everything *right*, they still didn’t make enough to continue. They’re reverting rights before the end of the month, so their authors won’t have to go through the extortion hell of, say, Ellora’s Cave.
I had been considering JFP for a fantasy novel submission early next year. I’ll mourn what never had a chance to be. I’m deeply sorry for the folks who did get snarled up in this, and I’m heartened by the outpouring of condolences and second-chance gambits.
There’s still a couple of weeks in which readers can buy JFP books in the wild…go for it, if you can, and celebrate one of the better experiments in small-press publishing. While they lasted, they burned bright!
All this leaves me with that nervous butterfly-stomach feeling, about some of my planned projects.
I’ve stopped looking for agent representation for Singer until I can get it rewritten to my satisfaction. There’s no point in looking for rep for the Moro books, since the first is now a reprint and the others are sequels/spinoffs of a reprint. (No legitimate agent will touch that, if my name isn’t attached to a Hugo or a Nebula.) I’m left with self-pub. Or one small press that is lovely, but could follow Jolly Fish at any time. I can hope they’d revert rights as sanely as JFP seems to have done, but that’s a huge risk to take for something that would have to be self-pub anyway, in the end.
It may come down to flipping a coin.
This is the part of the writing life that new writers are stunned and depressed to discover: that the butterflies and the despair don’t end when you finish the damn manuscript. They’re just starting.