These publishers still have some of the issues and practices of the traditional publisher, but many are saving money through on-demand printing and Internet marketing of their books. Now, becoming a NY Times best-selling author using this method is much more unlikely, but since they will still be basing their choice of you as an author on your content and fit with their mission, they will provide you with publishing services and royalties. You will still be intimately involved in marketing your work, but the relationship will be more personal, and they will have editorial and distribution support all set up. You will find my list of recommended small publishers below. Keep in mind that small publishers are often also niche publishers, so their niche may not be yours, but check out the list and see if there’s a match for you. I’ve worked with these organizations as an editor and/or indexer and have found them good to work with.
BenBella Books—A boutique publisher owned by Glenn Yeffeth and focused on health and nutrition, business, and popular science. I worked on some indexes for their early science fiction and pop culture titles and found Glenn and Co. very cool to work with.
Hierophant Publishing—This one is the spiritual self-help publisher developed by Randy Davila, the head of the much larger traditional publisher, Hampton Roads. I recommend them based on my respect for Jacob Nordby, who works on their marketing and PR team, and I also like Randy’s philosophy of serving both writers and readers.