With our feature in the Sunday Times a few weeks ago we have been approached by several would-be publishers and have consequently put together a simple consultancy package in 4 hour sessions that goes through all you need to become a book publisher in the new digital world. It’s been a fascinating process as it has reminded me of the bumps along the road in setting up the publishing company. It’s also prompted me to start the long overdue process of the publishing blog.
It’s three years down the line and we now have over 50 titles with around 30 authors. I look back and I wish I had had access to a mentor to explain this new world and the landscape that stretches from self-publishing at the one end and the major publishing houses at the other end. We are working now with our second ‘new publisher’ Matthew (Murielle Maupoint was the first and her debut title came out a few weeks ago) and have one session a week covering everything from distribution to setup, marketing to dealing with authors. Matthew commented that he learnt more in the first hour than he had gleaned from a couple of months of web research.
A few of my friends have commented on the logic of tutoring new publishers that are essentially entering our market of ‘partnership publishing’ but let me share a few revelations. Firslty the process of re-examining ones own business and putting down in writing the steps you would have done, had you know them, if you were starting again from scratch is actually an excellent experience. I’m able to sit down with my fellow directors and show the end-to-end of the business which until then was largely inside my head.
Secondly, its a brilliant form of networking. I feel I have made an excellent contact in Murielle and intend to keep in touch and be at the end of the phone as her business grows and I am getting the same feeling from Matthew too. Murielle has already referred business my way and in consultancy session 1 Matthew gave me some great ideas that I will be following up on too. Finally, an probably most importantly I am thoroughly enjoying it.
It’s a big market out there and there is space for thousands of partnership publishers – a learning from the process for me has been the need to begin to specialise when you reach a certain size – we will focus on NLP and therapy, Victorian Literature and ’cause based’ books (like Environmental) as the book sales do start to feed off each other.
So if there are any more would be publishers out there that want to accelerate their start and avoid the pitfalls we identified then we’d be delighted to hear from you. It’s not quite ‘digital publishing company in a box’ but pretty close.