A New Opportunity for Writers

I have learnt much about publishing and marketing in the last year. I now know the things that work and the ones that don’t. I vented below about the lack of interest from some avenues for independently published authors and learnt a lot from that. I posted the vent on LinkedIn and sparked a lovely debate about independently published books. I realised in the end that I have been quite successful in the marketing of my book. And I learnt a lot about why there is still bias and how to overcome it.

 For those of you who don’t know, I teach writing to adults. In my last workshop of the year, I spoke to my students about the option of self-publishing with a POD publisher, and, listening to their thoughts and laments, I realised that it is not as simple for others as it was for me. Most POD publishers want a finished, print ready product and don’t offer any marketing.  In my former working life, I worked as a graphic artist and marketing consultant, so I have the advantage of knowing how to design, set up, and market my books. If writers use someone like me, it costs more than they can afford. There are also small partner publishing firms out there who say they will act as publisher. But they charge for their services. The cost is quite high and the marketing they say they do, and charge extra for, is only through on-line bookstores, and anyone can organise that. Some still want to take a percentage of the revenue from the book. This is great for them because they take no risk. You have already paid for the service they have supplied, and yet they still want to profit from your book. 

 A few of my writer friends have asked me to be their agent. I believe that an agent should have connections with publishers, and I don’t have that. If I did, I would have used it to get my own books published. I do however have the skills they need to get their books published POD and help with the marketing. With that in mind, we have decided to throw our hat into the publishing arena. There are so many good stories out there and so few opportunities that Lou and I decided to put our skills to work to help other writers achieve their dream. We won’t be able to take too many to start, as it will be just me editing and setting up the books at first, and I still have to get my own books out. But I do have the services of another experienced editor and a publicists to help me. They will be hired as and when we need them, on a contract basis. We have decided to publish five books from other writers in 2012. We have set up Morris Publishing Australia to do this.

 The books will be published through Lightning Source Australia, and distributed in Australia through Dennis Jones and Associates. They will also be on many on-line stores. We will handle all the marketing and publicity, with the usual input needed from the author for appearances etc. Morris Publishing Australia will handle all cover design and setup for printing, and develop a marketing campaign for the book, all at no cost to the author. We will charge a royalty on the book sales to cover our expenses, but it will not be high. My accountant husband is crunching numbers and working out a contract with our solicitor. We decided that the easiest way to get started was to hold a competition. Full details are on the Submissions page on the website http://www.MorrisPublishingAustralia.com  The competition will open for entries from November 1st, 2011 and close on January 30th 2012. So, if you have tried the usual avenues and have decided to look for an alternative, enter our contest and see where that leads. Or if you are not looking for a publisher, just go to our website and tell me what you think.

The importance of feed-back

As a self-published author, all feedback on my novel is important to me. While I confidently published my book, The Mystery of Nida Valley http://themysteryofnidavalley.wordpress.com), and have worked hard at selling it, I guess in my sub-conscious mind I sometimes still feel a bit of a fraud. Why? I guess because when I say that I have independently published to some people, they suddenly lose interest in the fact that I have a published book. The praise it received from publishers, editors and experienced authors, both before and after, should negate that feeling, but sometimes it doesn’t. With independent publishing becoming more common, I wonder how long it will take people to get used to the idea that self-published does not mean it is not as good.

But on the plus side, on our trip there were two twelve year-old girls and I just happened to have a couple of my books with me (as you do). I gave the books to them to have a look at and the next day their parents bought the books. One mother said she couldn’t get it out of her daughter’s hands and she wouldn’t stop reading even to go sightseeing. She read it in two days and said it was the best book she had ever read. The other girl was in the middle of another book at the time, but when she started reading mine, I got the same feedback from her and her parents.

I have had the same reaction from the kids at the schools where I have conducted author talks; the feedback has been wonderful from them and from teachers. The teachers love the fact that the children are learning about the animals as well as being engrossed in reading the story. Their reaction goes a long way to helping boost my confidence.  So how do I get this information to the rest of the children in Australia? Slowly, I guess – one school at a time. Once I have sold the amount I printed, maybe I won’t allow the reaction of others to affect me so much.

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