What happens when Random House or HarperCollins doesn’t offer you a quarter-million dollar advance for your masterpiece? Mike Jastrzebski has had a lot of success with self-publishing. He’s put a lot of work into marketing and promoting his books. And it has paid off.

But, there is another option.

When my agent started shopping around a few years ago, she hit all the major publishers in New York. For a year we received polite rejections saying “not for us” and “not marketable”. There were positive comments on the writing and the story, but no one knew what to do with it. Yachting is a small community that no one knew how to tap into. I was about to give up.

But, my agent branched out further and found a small publisher that was just starting up. NorlightsPress.Com was an independent press that wanted to publish Sea Fare as their first book. I was thrilled.

We started sending e-mails back and forth and exchanging ideas. Not a day went by that I didn’t have multiple e-mails from one of the editors or the publisher himself. They asked my opinion and answered my questions as they arose. I felt like I was a star with a whole team of publishing professionals behind me. I felt apart of their family. They gave Sea Fare 100% of their attention.

Now, you might say that that was easy since I was their only client at the time, but in the two years since publication of Sea Fare, NorLights has expanded. They now have 35 published books and work with dozens of authors.  And not once in that time have they ignored me or shuffled my work to the bottom of the pile (like I hear authors at big publishing houses complain about).

Today, I sit poised to release my second book with NorlightsPress and have found the experience to be just as intimate and rewarding. The last week of October, I sent in SEAsoned: A Chef’s Journey with Her Captain, thinking that I would have a few weeks break from writing before I heard anything back. NorLights received my manuscript on Friday. By Monday, I had my first set of revisions to approve from the copy-editor. By the end of the week we were discussing cover design. SEAsoned was receiving as much attention as Sea Fare did and it was going fast! The editor and I discussed what I liked about my first book and what we should change. When I suggested including “Chef Victoria” graphics as chapter openings they bent over backwards to accommodate the request. We sent rewrites back and forth with the speed of a cigarette race boat. Much faster and with more input from me than a big house offers their authors. I felt like I was apart of the whole process.

And not only did they focus on SEAsoned but they decided to revamp Sea Fare adding similar graphics and changing the type-set so it would match the second book. NorLights looked to the future of my brand and wanted both books to reflect where we were headed. What other publisher would go to those lengths?

SEAsoned will be released in two weeks time, faster than any publisher I’ve heard of, and once again I am impressed.

For anyone looking to publish in this ever-changing publishing industry, I would strongly suggest taking a look at a smaller publisher. Join a family. Be loved.

Victoria Allman - SEAsoned and Sea Fare