The official blog of Susan Landis-Steward, writer of whatever she likes, and co-founder of Puddletown Publishing Group

Posts tagged ‘Puddletown Publishing Group’

Saving My Sanity

Okay, Crusaders, I had to do it. I apologize profusely. But when I looked at Google reader and saw several hundred posts from all you fabulous writers, I just had to do it.  Yep, I marked all as read.

Later today, I’ll start going through the posts that show up as new. But there was no way I could deal with several hundred posts. We are a prolific bunch.

In other news:

  • My upcoming book “Blind Leading the Blind,” a lesbian mystery, went to formatting yesterday. It will be released on March 20th by Puddletown Publishing Group. Yes, I know, I am a co-founder of the press. But my book had to go through the same process as all the others, and this one made the cut. Another one of my books did not. Well, it sort of didn’t. I have to do some serious rewriting on it then try again. That’s what happens when you have a blind acquisitions process. Even the owner can be rejected.
  • Building a social networking platform is fun. Too much fun in some cases. If any of you have ideas on how to reign in Twitter, let me know. I’m enjoying all the blogs and Tweets, and Facebook has been a big time suck for me for a couple of years now, but it’s overwhelming. My mother was a total Luddite and right now I’m sort of envying that.
  • Today, I have two things on my plate: Paying the bills and having some fun
  • Paying the bills means I have to do some writing for various clients. Yep. Non-fiction. Articles. Money. That sort of thing. With the new publishing company, we’re not yet drawing salaries, and I’ve had to put my indexing business on hiatus so I have time to do publishing. Things are tight. Thank God, I’ve got a big check coming soon and my partner’s tax refunds should be here any day.
  • Having fun: My favorite kind of fun! My middle daughter and the amazing 5-month-old Wonder Babe will be here this afternoon. There is nothing like a happy, well-attached, silly-face baby to make it all worthwhile. And, really, I find that the older I get and the more grandchildren I get (four in April), the more I find that I’m really doing everything for them. Whether it be writing a book, preaching a sermon, making the decision to live lightly on the earth, or starting a publishing company, it’s all becoming about what legacy I leave for my grandchildren. (To see some of my sermons, go here and here)
  • I’m skipping church. I love church. I love my church. But I also have fibromyalgia, a genuine pain-in-the-butt-and-everywhere-else condition. I have to set limits on what I do or I end up not being able to do anything. So years ago I instituted the one-thing rule. Basically, I allow myself one energetic activity per day (not counting work). And today it’s Wonder Babe.
  • This is especially important today as I did spend all of Friday night (until 9 am Saturday morning) doing final edits on my book. When I get to the end of a project, I can no longer work on it in small chunks. The last three passes have all been marathons, going through the entire book from start to finish. Unfortunately, Friday night was date night (that’s not the bad part) so I didn’t start editing until around 10 pm. (That’s the bad part.) Oh, well. It’s out the door and now I’m taking a few days to recharge before I start clean-up on the second book in the series.
  • Okay, in my final sanity saving move, it’s back to bed for this woman. Gotta get some energy before the Wonder Babe gets here.
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FYI: Another Bad Sign for Traditional Publishing

Check this link out. Now, apparently, at least one major publisher, Macmillan, is trying to get authors to sign over their copyright. Not just for the current work, but for any derivative works. If I understand correctly, derivative includes sequels, recordings, whatever. In perpetuity.

http://pubrants.blogspot.com/2011/02/by-far-biggest-issue.html

So, what does Puddletown do? First, you have to buy your own copyright, for $37 (paid to the government, not us), and we make sure YOU own your work. We don’t want it. Sure, if you write a sequel and want to publish it with us, we’ll talk. But all we want is your e-rights. For two years. As I said before, you can re-up with us, or we can part friends if you want to try something else when the two years are up.

This bit about Macmillan’s contract tells me that they are at the front of the pack, running scared. And just another word about Macmillan: I’ve been working for Macmillan as a freelancer in another capacity for many years. I like the people I work with. But Macmillan has outsourced most of its production to India and dropped the rates they pay freelancers into the realm of the ridiculous. This I don’t like.

Remember, in the last post, I told you that with our model, your royalties go UP over time? Just saying.

E-books? So What’s In Them for the Author?

Well, lots. Now, remember from last post, I’m not talking about self-publishing. I’m not dissing it, I just think that the writing community has to build credibility for e-books by making sure that only quality e-books get published. If you can do that yourself, great. If not, maybe you should look for some help. But first, why would you want to e-publish your book?

Let me give you numerous reasons why you may want to rethink traditional publishing:

  1. Traditional publishing has controlled the gate for too long. Very few new authors get published, and if they do, very few earn out their advances.
  2. Even if you get an advance, chances are it will be miniscule. And it can be years before you see the first royalty check. If your book doesn’t get remaindered first.
  3. It takes a long time to find an agent, more time to make the rounds. If you’re lucky enough to get a contract, you’ve got a long wait until your book gets published.
  4. Then you may get 5 or 6 percent as your royalty.
  5. Unless you are the next J.K. Rowling, you’ll still have to do most if not all of your own marketing.
  6. Publishers used to be in the business of selling books to readers. Now they are in the business of selling books to bookstores. And even the mighty Powell’s, with numerous floors covering a full city block, admits that they’re making their money on tchotchkes rather than books. With fewer bookstores, and more space going to cards, journals, games, toys, and other non-book items in the ones that remain, your chances of getting on the shelves, or staying there for any length of time, are getting slimmer and slimmer.

Now, a new model of e-publishing: (Disclaimer: I am co-founder of a company that works on this model. However, we’re not taking submissions right now so I’m not soliciting books. You can follow us on Facebook at Puddletown Publishing Group if you want to know when we open the doors to submissions again. But we’re pretty busy right now so it may be awhile.)

  1. E-books are the wave of the future. Even kids are getting in on the ride, and parents and teachers support this. Kids love gadgets. If it takes a gadget to get them to read, why not?
  2. Indie e-books are inexpensive. Since our overhead is low, we pass that on to the reader. While the Big Six have set roughly $9.99 as their low price, so as not to compete too much with the much more expensive trade paper version, indie e-book publishers can set their prices much lower and still make money. When we launch in March, our books in our initial catalog will all cost around $4.99 or less. That’s one grande latte. People are more likely to buy a book for $5 than one at $10. And more likely to take a chance on a new author.
  3. Indie publishing royalties are higher. If you grant e-book rights to the Big Six, you’ll get 17.5 percent and your agent gets a cut. If you grant them to us, or folks like us, you’ll get a lot more. And here at Puddletown, our royalties go up with sales.
  4. You’ll never get remaindered. If your book doesn’t sell a kazillion copies the first month, nobody’s going to ship it back to be recycled. It will stay for sale as long as you want.
  5. E-books have an indefinite shelf life. Once it’s out there, it stays out there.
  6. Authors start making money sooner.  It takes us about two months to get a book to market. Compare that to the year or more it takes traditional dead-tree publishing.
  7. If you don’t want to give up the dream, you don’t have to. Puddletown, at least, buys e-rights and POD rights only. One of our authors is going to have her book in our March launch AND is also negotiating with a traditional publisher for the trade book rights. We’ll even give up POD rights if an author wants. But, while she’s waiting for that trade book to come out, she’ll be making money with us.
  8. We don’t lock you into an exclusive contract. Our contract is for one book, for two years. If you want to try your luck elsewhere, we’ll part friends.
  9. We know the importance of social networking to book sales, and we’ll not only help you set up your own campaign, we’ll do one for you off our platform. We have no front-, mid-, or back-list. Every book gets the same treatment. We realize that if you aren’t making sales, we’re not making money.
  10. E-book publishing is author-centric. We are in the business of making sure we all make money. Since our overhead is small and our time-frame is fast, we don’t have to wonder what’s going to be hot two years from now. Vampires hot right now? We can have that book out in a couple of months.  Alien swamp monsters the next big thing? We have an app for that.
  11. One of our authors has written a great YA book about stock car racing. The Big Six tell her it’s a great book, but they don’t see an audience. Excuse me? Ever heard of NASCAR? We’re able to target market to speedways, NASCAR fans, and others. And she’ll sell a lot of books. But the Big Six can only see the BIG books, the ones with generic appeal. So if you’re quirky, or a bit odd, your book will probably never get sold traditionally.
  12. I write lesbian mysteries with a blind protagonist. My books will be marketed to the LGBT community and the blind community. The cool thing? For only a very small investment, we’ll be able to produce books that can easily be converted for use on Braille readers and computers. And we’ll also produce a recording. How many new authors get an audiobook right out of the box?
  13. I could go on and on. But the real hurdle we have to jump is the idea that an e-book is somehow not a real book and that being e-published is just not the same. Let me disabuse you of this right now.
  14. Yes, there are vanity presses posing as e-publishers. They want your money up front. Avoid these like the gimmick they are. Puddletown, and others like us, use the same system traditional publishers use. Even my book was sent anonymously to a reader who has never met me and never heard of me. She had to approve before I went any further. (She doesn’t like one of my books…I’m going to have to do some serious rewriting if I want that one published.)
  15. Once we accept a book, we do substantive edits, copy edits, send it back for rewrites, and edit some more. Our reputation is on the line as well as our authors’. We won’t publish dreck.  And, did you notice, we still didn’t ask for any money?
  16. We also pay for your cover  and all the other aspects of design, including POD formatting if you want some print copies for your mother and the other Luddites in your life. The only cost you have to pay is for your copyright. $37. Because you want to own your own book, don’t you? And you don’t pay that to us. It goes to the government. BTW, did you notice this? Some publishers are trying to buy all your rights, including  your copyright, for exclusive rights to your sequels. That means they own your book.
  17. All we ask of our authors is that they participate in their own self-marketing, which we help them set up. They don’t have to, but that’s their loss. We don’t know their social networks and connections. If they choose not to use them, then they don’t make as many sales.
  18. Oh, and once we earn back our expenses, the royalties we pay start going up.

So do you want to spend years querying the Big Six, searching for an agent who may or may not do much to sell your book (and then takes 15 percent if it does sell), all for a measly 5 percent for a paperback or 17.5 percent for an e-book? Or do you want to publish within a short period of time and earn a whole lot more?

Your choice. And the choice of the future.

PS  We love bookstores and will be partnering with them to make sure they don’t fail. We are under no illusion that everyone will want to read books electronically. Which is why all our books have the POD option.

30 days, but who’s counting…

Today is one month since Renee LaChance and I sat around at a party talking ebooks. Today, we signed our first contracts with new authors as Puddletown Publishing Group.

Yes, one of those contracts was mine, for my lesbian mystery, “Blind Leading the Blind.” And the other is for our other partner’s YA novel. About two weeks after Renee and I started Puddletown, we dragged another friend (still technically under contract with an agent for another few days . . . hence the secrecy) into the mix, and the 21st century model of publishing, as our third partner. It seemed only fitting that the first be ours. Hell, we didn’t even read them because we helped write them.

It’s been an amazing month. As of right now, I’m not sure how many books we have in the queue. Next week we sign contracts with at least three and possibly five writers. Three are new authors, two are established.

No, this is not vanity press. People who don’t even know mystery partner and me read our books and gave them a thumbs up. But, since it’s our company, and we had books ready to go, and we were signing contracts, why shouldn’t we go first?

Puddletown is establishing a new model in publishing. We are a true publishing company. If you submit a book, we may or may not decide to publish it. We demand good writing, professional-quality editing, and, yes, rewrites. We have two books out for rewrites right now.  We also do all the preparation to bring the book to market, handle distribution in major markets, and market the books. We don’t charge our authors anything. We pay royalties (better than New York’s. A lot better.) The only difference? We don’t kill trees. We are strictly ebooks with a POD option. And we think we’ll be successful. The 30+ great books we have lined up in our first thirty days tell us that.

Next: More about me

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | January 28, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  |  JANUARY 24, 2011

For additional information contact Renée LaChance

lachance@puddletowngroup.com

Upstart e-Publisher Makes a Splash

Puddletown Publishing Group, an e-Publisher based in the Portland, Oregon metro area, announces its formation. Beginning in March 2011, Puddletown Publishing Group will release multiple titles formatted cross-platform for digital readers.

Founded by Susan Landis-Steward, Lisa Nowak, and Renée LaChance, Puddletown Publishing Group is adopting a business model that favors authors and embraces digital as the preferred method of content delivery for an author’s work.

The buzz in the traditional publishing world is that paper books and publications are going the way of 8-track and cassette tapes. Ebooks are destined to garner a large portion of publishing revenue, claiming one-third of all book sales in 2010, up from one half of one percent in 2009. Amazon.com announced in 2010 that sales of ebooks exceeded hardcover sales. Barnes and Noble announced in January 2011 that ebooks exceeded paperback sales on its website. Since last year’s release of the NOOKcolor and iPad, the evolution of ebooks has surprised publishing insiders and those outside the industry as well. The Jan. 3, 2011 Publisher’s Weekly cites a memo by the CEO of Simon and Schuster, Carol Reidy, where she states 2010 “is the year publishing changed irrevocably.”

“E-publishing is the wave of the future.” Landis-Steward says, “We want to get up on the board before the wave crests.”

“After pursuing traditional publishing and hearing that my writing is excellent but the subject matter doesn’t ‘fit the list’ of various agents and editors,” says Nowak. “I began looking into going directly to ebooks. The more research I did, the more I realized this is a viable option for most authors, whether they’re established or just starting out. It’s also an excellent option for traditionally published authors with a backlist of books that are no longer in print. Dead tree publishers have been gatekeepers to what readers can access. It’s time for that to change.”

Puddletown Publishing Group is modeling itself to be a part of that change. It will strive to influence the industry as an early adopter of the digital delivery system and create a market for new and established authors. Puddletown Publishing Group will partner with other small presses to get their author-branded backlists available on digital readers.

Landis-Steward, Nowak and LaChance bring decades of experience to the group.

Landis-Steward has worked in editing and writing for many years and brings two decades of strong journalism background to the group as well. She currently owns a writing, copyediting, and indexing business and is almost done with her Masters in Publishing at Portland State University. She has various other degrees, including a Masters in Spiritual Traditions and Ethics.

Nowak has 15 plus years experience as a small business owner, a strong background in reading, writing, and editing Young Adult fiction, and an established social network in children’s literature.

LaChance is an entrepreneur with business experience in editing, publishing and marketing. She is the co-founder of Just Out Newsmagazine and Out Media, Inc. Just Out is Oregon’s queer newsmagazine and Out Media was an advertising agency, event producer and publishing house based in Portland in the 1980s and 1990s. For the past 10 years she has worked doing copyediting, copy writing, publishing and creating graphics as LaChance Creative.

“We are very excited about our new venture and feel ebook publishing maximizes our combined skill set,” says LaChance. “I am impressed with the caliber of the authors we are already working with and I look forward to a Puddletown Publishing Group title on the New York Times Best eBook Sellers list.”

lachance@ | lisanowak@ | susanls@ | puddletowngroup.com

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