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Thursday News: The Author run publishing houses; eBook silos

Another author, Teresa Medeiros, announced the formation of her publishing house, Amber House.  She is apparently re issuing backlist titles and publishing new front list work including a non fiction work.  Medeiros “publishing house” isn’t acquiring new books and there is no word as to whether Tule is either.

Gemma Halliday, Inc. is a publishing house owned and operated by the author Gemma Halliday.  Sibel Hodge announced that she had just “signed” with GHI a few days ago.  There is no link for GHI itself.

I’m not sure whether these are author coops or actual publishing houses. I do think it is interesting that these houses, if they are publishing houses, aren’t subject to the same scrutiny given to larger publishing firms.  And I’m not sure what the new author gets out of it? If it is primarily for covers, editing and distribution then isn’t it just an Author Services firm?

As a reader, are you more interested in a Gemma Halliday branded book or one by Jane Porter?  It’s an interesting concept. I suspect we’ll see an increase in a number of author “publishing houses”.

The author goes on to state that the Post has the best API of any newspaper but acknowledges that the API wasn’t part of the deal. But distribution ideas make sense or at least better sense than other musings which basically amount up to Bezos wanting a propaganda machine. Co.Labs ? code + community

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

13 Comments

  1. library addict
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 04:38:55

    A lot of authors issue backlist and/or frontlist titles with some seemingly made-up publishing name (Jayne Ann Krentz as Purple Papaya, KS Augustin as Sandoval Press, CJ Lyons as Legacy, Maggie Toussaint as Muddle House, etc). Unless they’re actually acquiring new front list titles from multiple authors I always change these to self-published in Calibre and if backlist, I add a notation in the comments field who the original publisher was underneath the blurb.

    For these new author “publishing houses” will they have a storefront to sell direct to readers (like Samhain, etc)? Will they be providing professional editing and covers? What about advertising/promotion? I understand why a non-techy author wouldn’t self-publish or if an author doesn’t want to deal with the business end of things. Maybe they feel a fellow author will give them a better deal?

  2. Zara Keane
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 05:55:14

    @library addict: I’m guessing the publishing house names are their company names. For many authors, it makes financial sense to establish a company for tax reasons, even if the only books they’re publishing are their own.

    As for an author publishing other authors’ work through their company, I can think of a few reasons an author living outside the US might do it. The last time I looked, Amazon KDP were still paying non-US authors with paper checks for their .com earnings. Paper checks cost a small fortune to deposit in a Swiss account, for example. There was talk of Amazon changing this rule to allow electronic transfers to foreign bank accounts, but I don’t know if they have. In addition, places like ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) won’t accept non-US authors to use their make-your-own-audiobook service.

    The reliance on the US as the main market for self-published authors will change over the next few years, and I’m hoping we’ll see services similar to ACX spring up in Europe and elsewhere.

  3. Ros
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 06:46:46

    @Zara Keane: Amazon.com have been paying me (in the UK) by direct bank transfer for a couple of months now. Makes a huge difference! But there are still issues for non-US authors. You can’t upload your own books directly to B&N, for instance. You have to use a third-party service such as Smashwords or D2D.

  4. Zara Keane
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 07:00:18

    @Ros: That’s excellent news! EFTs cost a fraction of what banks charge to deposit international cheques.

  5. pooks
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 07:04:46

    Back in 2008, over 25 published, vetted authors, many of them award-winning, founded Book View Café. Today its 45 members have launched a successful author’s cooperative producing high quality digital books in multiple formats, DRM-free.

    We aren’t open to submissions from other writers, unfortunately. But we’re bringing out a minimum of 52 original and backlist books a year, selling to libraries internationally, and currently selling other subsidiary rights for our members. [Big announcement coming.]

    There’s also a great member blog attached to our bookstore.

    Some of our authors also sometimes run specials for DA readers. ;-)

    Come explore the future with us. Because you can never have too many ebooks.

    http://bookviewcafe.com/bookstore/

  6. DS
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 07:25:28

    When I saw your headline I thought you might mean the mess in New Zealand where a number of authors appear to have lost money and found copyright problems: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10907411

  7. Courtney Milan
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 09:44:11

    I think there are reasons why people would go with author-run publishing houses, just like there are reasons they would go with traditional publishing houses and small e-publishers. But I hope that authors treat them like they would a small e-publisher.

    The questions, “Who will run royalties if something happens to you?” “Who is your business manager?” “What method do you use to account for royalties?” and “Who owns the rights in the event of your death?” are some of the most important ones.

    If you’re entering into a multi-year relationship with someone, assume that at some point, something is going to go wrong. She’s going to become seriously ill. Or have a death in the family that will lay her flat. Or just have a bad month where she forgets. Or the person she hires craps out. Or she goes bankrupt. Or she just gets hit by a car and suddenly, her somewhat less responsible son–who is her heir–inherits the corporate shares and therefore all your rights.

    If the person running the publisher doesn’t have a strong backup plan to make sure that you are going to get paid what you’re owed, chances are that there is a point when you’re not going to get paid. No matter how good someone’s intentions are, life intervenes. If they haven’t planned for backup NOW, and if they don’t have a good, automated royalty system, don’t sign with them.

    The shorter the period of rights they’re asking for, the less you have to worry. But anything over a few years and you should assume that the intervention of life is a certainty, not a risk.

  8. Patricia Rice
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 09:53:31

    The advantage of self-publishing or author publishing is that generally the contract allows the author to take back the rights after a specified time or after the original expense is repaid. Usually, I can pull mine anytime I like. And of course, the royalties are much higher working with fellow authors.

    Big publishers are in a position to jump on this bandwagon but they can’t let go of the old print contract clauses and also, presumably, because their overhead costs are too high.

  9. Lada
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 11:19:34

    I found the post regarding ebook silos fascinating and had never heard of the term used that way. Genre ebook reading apps would be interesting but so would authors having more personalized apps/enhanced ebooks, especially authors with long running series. Could be helpful for example if a reader wanted to jump into Singh’s psy/changeling world somewhere in the middle to have the chance to explore information regarding the world and past characters without reading past books. And fans of the series would have just as much fun with it, too.

    Many authors already have background information or related tidbits on their websites. Why not come up with ways to creatively integrate that within the books themselves? The possibilities seem endless and any reader not interested in anything but reading the book would have that choice as well.

  10. Estara
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 15:55:53

    @pooks: I endorse this message as a satisfied customer, hee ^^. And they don’t just have sf&f genre books – because most of their authors write more than one genre – they have romance (with or without sf&f, too)! And the books are well formatted and edited, whether backlist or new.

  11. Jennifer Stevenson
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 19:27:27

    Book View Cafe is more robust that publishing companies run by one author. 45 authors work together, sharing the labor and the decision-making, handling crises and sudden opportunities very nimbly. There’s always someone available to help with a problem because the talent pool is so deep. The model provides for excellent quality standards in content and in presentation.

  12. Jane Porter
    Aug 09, 2013 @ 03:44:45

    @library addict:

    Hi Library Addict, I feel stupid saying I’m not sure what a co-op is, versus a traditional publisher, but Tule is coming out with 24 brand new titles–all original stories in 2014–and 7 this fall, again originals. I founded the publishing company and I will have maybe 2 or 3 of the 31 titles, depending on my health, and my hands. The rest of the titles are being written by 9 established romance authors that make my heart sing, and one romance newbie with incredible talent and a terrific voice.

    Why do it? I can’t speak for the authors who are writing stories for Tule, but I can speak why I would publish the books we are working on for 2013 and 2014. These authors have terrific voices and a unique style and they deserve a chance to shine. They need a platform that will lift them and support them, and advertising dollars as well as the freedom to go for it—and my hope is that I can help them be commercially successful. Maybe wildly successful. Who knows?
    Because we are small and new, I only have to answer to me (I have a full-time staff of two, plus a story editor, two copy-editors, a handful of marketing folks who are consulting with us, as well as an attorney and a CPA on retainer) and for the first year I’m publishing writers I adore. I hope in 2015 we will be publishing more newbies, but Tule was founded to give gifted, established writers support, and to help get their fantastic stories to a bigger audience. In 2014 Tule will be focusing on e, then p, publishing single title romance, connected romance mini-series, and chick/lit-women’s fiction. In 2015 we’ll add mystery and maybe YA. In 2015 we might add a few backlist titles by one of the authors, but again, we will be releasing 25+ brand new stories. Tule runs the show…it does the hiring, staffing, marketing, editorial, as well planning what we want to publish, and when, and by whom. I don’t know if we are, or aren’t a co-op, but I do know that it’s damn fun to be a book girl again! (PS forgive typos…I have a hand issue which makes typing very difficult.)

  13. Cobalt
    Aug 19, 2013 @ 16:05:17

    I found this post both fascinating and very informative. I wanted to publish a book but got bogged down in the convoluted approach.

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