Self-Publishing with Anklebiters

Anklebiters approaches publishing from a unique DIY perspective.

In terms of ideology, Anklebiters is anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, anti-colonial, anti-patriarchal, and informed by anarchist political beliefs and education, abolitionist values, mutual aid, community organizing, and social justice. We always provide materials at cost and often try to waive or discount services and labor on a sliding basis, and in general be a resource to the community.

In terms of publishing practices and methods, we are distinguished from large publishers and even small, independent presses. Anklebiters Publishing combines qualities we see to be beneficial in small presses, print shops, and online print-on-demand publishers, creating a unique, personal, and community-driven publishing experience.

Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each publishing method will help you decide which one will work best for you.

Large and Small “Presses”

It is best to understand a large or small publisher as a selective investor whose resources are always in demand. As such, the obvious disadvantage is that they have to accept your work from hundreds to thousands of submissions.

Your manuscript might as well be an investment proposal scrutinized based on its return value, how established you are, the particular taste and standards of that publisher, and pure luck. This is what primarily defines traditional publishing as opposed to self-publishing.

Given that your work is accepted, the publisher will choose how best to design and layout your work, which can include selecting the cover art, editing out or altering parts of the manuscript, and choosing how to market and distribute it. Depending on what you want, this could be an advantage or disadvantage.

Large and small presses often outsource the actual production, printing, and binding of your work to printers and binders. This raises the question, “Why are they called presses then?” We don’t know, but some publishers do own and operate presses and binderies, however, these are either large publishers or small publishers with long turnaround times.

Your payment will either be in royalties, a lump sum payment, or some combination of both. Unless you’re on the verge of a New York Times Bestseller, already have one, or are a writer of pulp fiction, you are almost certainly getting one of many short ends of the stick after the publisher, printers, and book stores take their cuts.

Even established literary or academic authors and artists published through a small, quality, independent press might only make enough to pay their bills for a few months. Considering that some manuscripts take years to produce, this hardly seems like a fair deal.

The advantages to traditional publishing, however, are that authors and artists do not have to invest financially in their own work, their work can be distributed nationally and even internationally, potentially reaching a much larger audience, and it’s easier, if all you want to be is the “content” in the publishing process.

Traditional publishing can also guarantee a quality finished book. Small publishers especially can guarantee unique, artistic books because of their more curated selection process and close interaction with the author or artist’s needs. At Anklebiters, we hope to garner similar relationships with the people we work with and create quality books that are crafted to the author’s or artist’s aesthetic.

Print Shops and Online Publishers

Technically, you can cut out the publisher and go directly to a print shop or online, print-on-demand self-publisher, provided first and foremost you have the funds to make it happen.

An aspect that many would-be self-publishers tend to forget is that you will also have to provide your own editing, layout design, cover art, marketing, and distribution on top of addressing any unique characteristics of the book.

Print shops can fulfill a few of these needs, such as assistance with layout design and picking the right paper. Online publishers can assist with editing and layout design, but this can easily double the cost of each book.

Plus, the process for communicating online editing and design needs can be confusing, time-consuming, and impersonal. You will also have to pay for each proof copy and shipping as you dial in the best version of your book.

Because print shops have multiple employees and accommodate a wide variety of high volume services, materials, and equipment, this will often be the most expensive route.

Online self-publishers are essentially print operations tailored specifically to book services and are therefore streamlined and less expensive. Your options for paper and book dimensions will, however, be limited to what they offer.

Your ease of access to print shops and online publishers is also limited to their business hours and locations.

A benefit of both print shops and online publishers is reliable printing and binding services. Many online publishers even have multiple binding options besides standard stapling and perfect binding.

With online publishers, you can easily add an ISBN and also market and sell your book through their websites, although, like any distributor, they will take a cut.

We offer the ability to choose exactly what paper and dimensions you want for your book, like a print shop, combined with the streamlined cost of online publishing, without the impersonal and expensive proofing process.

We can also work closely with you to edit and design your book to your needs cheaper and point you in the right direction if you need cover art.

Publications we take a special interest in will be added to our canon with your approval, meaning we will sell your book online and wherever we consign or vend, without taking a cut.

Anklebiters Self-Publishing Advantages

Self-publishing is a viable option for authors and artists…

  • Who are willing to invest in their own work
  • Want a small-to-medium run published
  • Want to have more control over design and materials
  • Already have a small following in their community

Starting Small

No matter how small your project is, we are happy to help and provide affordable services to get you started in self-publishing. Starting small allows you to gauge how many books (or zines) you can realistically sell or barter, whether it’s 50 or 5,000.

The Community

We have been a part of the Houston community since 2013 and have formed relationships with many DIY organizers, venues, and crafters, locally and in surrounding areas. This can help you source services for your book, host a book release party, or even go on tour. We can also help you consign your work at local shops.

Customized Control: Becoming the Publisher

As the publisher, working with our assistance, you have control over the size, cover paper, interior paper, inserts, artwork, layout, and design of your book. This makes your book a playground of possibilities and artistic freedom, especially if you have a fully-developed vision for your book. If not, we can help you find what you want, work with you closely on layout design and proofing, and provide a hands-on experience printing, cutting, and binding your book.

How Can Anklebiters Help You?

Is DIY or die your aesthetic? Do you want to get the full experience of publishing your book or zine? Then start a conversation with us today.