Archive for the ‘Small Presses’ Category

A couple of years ago, Publisher’s Weekly decided that for the low, low price of $149, self-publishers could buy the right to MAYBE get reviewed by them.

One blogger, a self-published writer herself, says that she feels PW is so entrenched in the “traditional” publishing model that they are deliberately trashing self-pubbed novels in their reviews.  She gives statistics that of 99 novels submitted one quarter, only 25 merited a review and of those 25 only 4 were at all complimentary.  In fact, she calls the other 21 reviews “scathing.”

I do not see any proof of her implication that PW is deliberately trashing these books in order to squash traditional publishers competition.  I’ve always heard that 99% of queries received by publishers are rejected.  By those numbers, giving 4 good reviews out of a total of 99 books sounds like a win.

What do you think?  Is big publishing and their cohorts trashing indie books unfairly, or no?

I know there’s a lot of bad writing out there (I’m not defending it!) and that self-publishing was, and a lot of the times still is, a venue for vanity. But it’s becoming more and more mainstream, the way to go, and I find it hard to believe that of the nearly one hundred novels submitted, PW couldn’t have found a few more things to like. You can practically sense the glee emanating from the reviewers as they rip apart these books. …read more

via Publishers Weekly seems to relish scathing reviews of self-published books | A City Mom.


My publisher, New Libri Press.  has some concerns that the Science Fiction Writers Association is too commercially focused.  What do you think?

First, let’s examine the continued prejudice against self-publishing. You might think that as an editor at a small press, I would be for this sort of prejudice, as it steers some authors toward a publisher, rather than toward self-publishing. I am not, for a variety of reasons.

via Small Press Dances with Elephants: Irony: Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America stuck in the 20th Century..

I ran into a wall when I went to my local Barnes and Noble and asked if they could carry some copies of my novel Painted Black on their shelves.  When the manager looked it up in the database, she said they couldn’t because it is Print On Demand and they aren’t able to return unsold POD books.   I had no response to that so left a promo packet with her anyway and went home, dejected.

However, my publisher made it clear later that the manager did not know what she was talking about, and sent me a link to the article below.  If you use Lightning Source as your POD publishers, don’t let them blow you off with that excuse.  Read this whole article and go in well armed.

Nowadays, there’s an odd belief circulating that self publishing a book
as print on demand will keep it out of bookstores. Actually, the
opposite is true.

The Stigma of POD (Print on Demand, Lightning Source, Barnes & Noble, Borders).

Eat Your Words

Posted: November 15, 2011 in Marketing, Self Publishing, Small Presses

Small presses and self published authors have come up with many interesting and unique ideas to promote their books.  But here’s an article about a larger press taking a new approach that everyone could probably use, though on a smaller scale.

Random House is partnering with others to sell tickets to events that include a free copy of the author’s book.  You can read the article below for specific details of what they plan, but to put it in a smaller perspective, let’s think of a way it might work for you.

Is there a restaurant in your area that has a reputation for great food?  This could be anything from a famous greasy spoon to gourmet, award winning fine dining.  If there is a way to forge a connection between what they do and what your book is about, even better.  If, for instance, your story takes place in Paris, how about approaching someone well known for their french cuisine?

Now, pitch the idea of their hosting a special event, possibly on a night when their business is slow.  They could offer special prices on some of their signature dishes.  You could offer copies of your book to give to each party that makes a reservation.

You might even be able to throw in an author signing.  You could sit at a table near the entrance and sign books as people left with a full, happy belly.  Bring a few books along in case someone wants to buy an extra copy.  Advertisement for the event could be shared between yourself and the restaurant, and benefit both.

Then again, why stop at restaurants?  What other venues can you think of that might be open to this type of event that could be good business for you as well as them.  Be creative.  Isn’t that, after all, what writers do best?

Random House of Canada is experimenting with a different kind of book tour this fall–one that guarantees book sales from every person attending a launch. Working with strategic marketing partners such as Fairmont Hotels and Air Miles, the company is creating ticketed events that include a copy of the book in the price.

via Random House of Canada Tests New Book Tour Model.

Choosing Book Covers

Posted: September 14, 2011 in Small Presses

One important advantage to being published by a small press is the amount of input you are allowed to give to the final product.  This story linked below would never happen at my publisher, New Libri Press, who has listened to my suggestions from our first conversation about what the cover should be.

She said her new novel, It’s A Man’s World, was given a racy jacket and inappropriate title against her wishes.

via Novelist who left banking because of sexism fires publisher for putting fluffy and degrading covers on her books | Mail Online.

Out With the Old

Posted: August 31, 2011 in e-Publishing, Small Presses

If you find yourself lamenting about how the new generation doesn’t read anymore, think about it this way:

People are reading more than ever.

Everywhere you go, people are reading, reading, reading. They may not be reading traditional paperback books or magazines. They’re more likely to be reading Facebook pages or Twitter streams or their emails or blogs or ebooks or what have you. They are reading, though. This suggests that publishers need to radically rethink their offerings (can the first Twitter novel be far away?). It’s vitally necessary to adapt to the new reading dispensation. The old model isn’t broken – just consider the success of, say, Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy – but it isn’t sufficient any more.

via Brown: “The old model isn’t broken, but it isn’t sufficient any more.” « 40kBooks.

New Models of Publishing

Posted: August 2, 2011 in Small Presses

The site mentioned below is another example of how people are looking at the publishing industry in a different way.  In many ways, this company’s goals are very similar to New Libri, the company that is publishing my novel Painted Black this fall.  It’s kind of cool to be engaging in what could easily be called an “experimental” wave of new publishing ideas.

Since Shelfstealers focuses on e-books and audio books, we worry less than traditional publishers about marketability when we acquire a book, and more about helping good authors. Once we acquire the rights to publish a book, however, we work closely with our authors—and our readers—to develop and implement a comprehensive marketing program to maximize sales.

via ABOUT :: What is Shelfstealers?.

U.K. publishing house Pan Macmillan announced plans to launch Macmillan Compass, a new digital only publishing imprint. While the new imprint will release e-books for all formats and distribution will be through Pan Macmillan’s established channels, it has not been determined as yet if the e-titles will be available for sale in the U.S.

via Pan Macmillan to Launch Digital-Only Imprint, Macmillan Compass.

News like the article above increases my confidence that the small press releasing my book this fall is on the right track.  New Libri puts a big emphasis on eBook publication, and in some cases, may even choose not to print hard copies if concentrating on eBook sales makes the most sense.

If even well established traditional houses like Macmillan is promoting a digital emphasis, can success for New Libri (and by default–me, too!) be far behind?

I met with my publisher at New Libri yesterday and we talked about a few  minor edits for Painted Black to look at which they will send me soon.  And we talked about cover image suggestions.  And we talked about promotion and marketing ideas to get started on. And we set the release date for this fall.

And…I am getting SO excited that this is actually going to happen.  I’m still a little (read “a lot”) fuzzy on this whole marketing thing, especially the web/social media presence.  But the great thing about working with a small press who is just starting out is that marketing me and my novel is essential to marketing New Libri as well. So I feel more supported than I might have at a larger house, or even a well established small press which has more important, market-tested authors to spend their time and budget on.

New Libri encourages their authors to get to know one another and set up a support network.  So we are going to touch base soon and brainstorm what we can do as a unit to make sure we are all successful.  There are plans to upgrade the New Libri website and I will be making a few changes to my blogs to establish a more professional, authorial presence.  (Yeah, will see how that works–right now I feel more stumbling geek.)

I’ll keep you informed on changes I’m making as they happen, but here’s an overview of what I’m planning to do:

  • Create an author website and link my blogs to it
  • Change my email signature (see below for example)
  • Set up a new email address specifically for the novel
  • Start posting comments on the New Libri Facebook page
  • Continue to be a presence on Facebook and Twitter
  • Print professional business cards

You can expect this blog to start focusing more on self promotion and marketing, but I am planning on doing some self-publishing experimentation when I have time, so will continue to muse on the self e-pubbing journey I started out on.  One idea I might try is epubbing some of my short stories for free to generate a buzz for the upcoming novel.  Other authors I’ve been communicating with have tried that and it seems to have a certain degree of success.

I am enjoying this publishing journey I’m launched on and hope you are looking forward to Painted Black’s release as much as I am.

Debra R. Borys
Author of Painted Black to be released fall 2011 by New Libri Press

This is a little trick I learned from my friends here at the Indie Book Collective. #whoImetonTwitter

Find the three words that represent what you want people to know about your work. Then make those words sing for you in each tweet.

via Twitter Branding « Indie Book Collective.

Kimberly Kinrade started out as a Twitter novice like me but now seems to know her stuff.  If she can do it, I can, too.  Right?

I like her idea quoted above.  So what are the three words I would use to brand myself and my work?

  1. Suspense – My novel Painted Black is a suspense novel, as is the series it kicks off.  Even the short stories I have had published have a suspenseful  element.  All good fiction has some conflict that causes tension (aka suspense).
  2. Homelessness – The novel and many of my stories highlight the homeless condition.  My history of volunteering with organizations that serve the streets has given me an appreciation for the people who live there and those who work to better their condition.
  3. Chicago  – Moving to Chicago made a big difference in my life.  It opened my eyes to a wider world.  When I set a story or book in Chicago, I feel like that city is more than just the setting.  It is a living, breathing character as well.

These three words are not as bright and cheerful as those that Kimberly chose (magic, love and chocolate) but this is what I write about, what I enjoy reading.  I’m betting there are others out there who feel the same.