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Market yourself!

14 Apr

At the beginning of April, I attended the Maryland Writers Association at the University of Baltimore. I found Mary Shafer’s presentation to be informative. Shafer is the president of the MidAtlantic Book Publishers Association (MBPA) and publisher of Word Forge Books. One thing that she said stuck out to me. She mentioned when you purchase an ISBN, an indie press should purchase a block of ten ISBNs for $250. She said that when an indie press purchases one ISBN at a time, it signals that you are a self-published author. The panel about publishing was also useful. Literary agent Jason Ashlock of Movable Type Literary Group made the suggestion that writers should spend three years building a platform before publishing a book–that way when the writer has something to sell, he has established his audience. So for all aspiring writers, I advise that you develop a web presence. Create a blog. Post regularly on Facebook about your writing projects. Tweet. Don’t expect huge book sales if you haven’t marketed yourself. In this new publishing industry, the author has to do a lot of his own publicity. I encourage authors to visit local independent bookstores and sell their books on consignment. Inquire about using the space to have a small reading. Pitch your book to local editors of the arts and entertainment sections. Get book reviewers to review your book. But most importantly, write a book that people want to read!

Do you want to be published?

30 Mar

If you’re an aspiring writer, you’re probably asking yourself what are the major differences between a large publishing house and an indie press? Well, two of the major differences are distribution and marketing. A large publishing house has the money to market books on a national level; whereas, an indie press tends to market its products regionally. One of the advantages to working with an indie press is that there is usually more collaboration between the writer and publisher. Instead of being dictated what your book will be, indie presses tend to involve their writers in the publishing and production process. For example, at La Muse Press we value our writers. We want your input. It is a team effort, not a dictatorship. Another incentive to being publish at an indie press is the writer’s royalty rates are typically higher than a large publishing house in lieu of a hefty advance. Also, at an indie press you can contact the editor directly; whereas, in a major publishing house you need a literary agent, which cuts into your royalties, because an agent takes 15% of your revenue. With that said, if you’re an emerging writer who wants a collaborative publishing experience, La Muse Press is your publisher (read our submission guidelines here).   

Finding a Book Distributor

28 Mar

One of the biggest challenges facing an indie press is distribution. Before starting La Muse Press, I researched potential book distributors, and boy, is it challenging to find one willing to take on an emerging publisher. In order to have a major book distributor,  usually the publisher needs to have publish a decent amount of titles. Ingram, which is the leading distributor in the trade book industry, states on its website that a publisher seeking its distribution has to have at least ten titles. On its website, they list the following companies as being potential distributors for emerging publishers: Lighting Source Inc, Greenleaf Book Group LLC, and Atlas Distribution Services. I contacted Greenleaf Book Group in February 2011 to see how its distribution works. I was told that fiction is an extremely competitive market, and for that reason the company tends to publish and distribute  mainly non-fiction. Either way, I am still in the process of seeking a book distributor in order for La Muse publications to be found in the brick-and-mortar bookstore chains. But after reading about the success of Amanda Hocking, it appears that electronic publishing is the new wave of publishing. If that is the case, it is not that important to have one’s books sold in traditional bookstores. So in a way, technology is making it possible for emerging publishers to compete in the market. And I want to win, baby.

E-Publishing: The Wave of the Future

25 Mar

If you haven’t heard of Amanda Hocking, you must have been living under a rock. I’ll admit, I wouldn’t have heard of Hocking if it weren’t for the publishing newsletters I receive in my inbox. According to The New York Times, the self-published young adult writer who sold more than 1 million books, was offered a  four-book deal with St. Martin’s Press. Hocking’s advance reached beyond $2 million! Can I say, damn that’s a lot of money! And do you know how she started her career? Selling her e-books on Amazon’s Kindle. When I read Hocking’s blog describing her “big break,” I couldn’t believe it. I had no idea that writers could make money utilizing Amazon’s e-publishing platform. After reading about Hocking, I read an interview where Barry Eisler stated that his electronic short story, The Lost Coast, has netted him $1000. I never thought about selling my short stories on Amazon. But after reading about the success of Hocking and Eisler, I can’t knock the new wave of e-publishing. And for those who aren’t aboard the e-publishing train, they need to jump on it.   

Starting an Indie Press

23 Mar

Starting La Muse Press always has been a dream of mine. I have dreamt about being my own publisher and publishing new works from emerging writers for years, and here it is! I am looking to acquire fiction titles that are literary and experimental. By the end of May 2011, I will have published my short story collection, Street Magic: Stories and Tales (2011). The collection contains nine off-beat stories that are voice and character-driven. For production, I am thinking about using Book Mobile–I like the quality of their printed books. Here’s the scoop: my book dimensions are 4 X 6.5. The cover is typographical utilizing black and white. More than likely it will be paperback with a matte finish. If you are an emerging writer looking to publish your work, please feel free to email your submission to Mary B. Banks simplemary17@msn.com. I am excited about this creative endeavor and look forward to hearing from you!