Back in October 2012, when I was in-between projects and procrastinating on starting my second novel, Reused, I had a thought. Many of you know, of course, that All on the Same Page Bookstore was started with just such an idea in July 2011, and we opened our doors that October. Just over a year later, I needed a new challenge.
Okay, I didn’t “need” it, but it sounded good at the time! So I did it. (I think a
lot of ideas could come to fruition much more quickly if people just acted on them instead of over-thinking the whole plan.)
We started a publishing house.
A traditional publisher, Rocking Horse Publishing is not a vanity press or a self-help publisher. RHP does accept unagented submissions, offers standard contracts to selected authors, and provides editing, cover design, and marketing and promotion at no cost to the author.
The plan, because you have to have one eventually, is to publish six books this
coming year, both E-book and print for every title. Besides Reduced and Reused in 2012, Recycled will be out in May, and we just released our first book for the year, Seven Dirty Words by British author Charlotte Howard. We have an author under contract for an illustrated children’s book in late March, and a Christmas humor book coming out late August. Two other possibilities are in the works as well, and we’ve had quite the influx of manuscripts submitted in the last month.
Why did I do this? I mean, besides half-a-day of stalling on my own manuscript?
We have a lot of books come through the store, many of them written by self-published local authors. We’re one of the few bookstores in the area who don’t care if your book is self-published, as long as it’s good. Sure, we have some that aren’t so well-written, perhaps, by some standards, but nearly all of them have an audience and something to recommend them. Readers’ opinions are very subjective, and something that I don’t like may have no bearing on sales figures.
I wanted to help authors. I know a lot of authors, a lot of writers who aspire to
becoming published authors, and I thought – hey, I can do this, I know what’s
what, and I can sell books. Because that’s the issue – you can fix the grammar
and storyline, you can change the formatting, but if you don’t have the platform, your book won’t sell.
When an author is ready to publish, he has choices: self-publish without assistance – and if you can navigate the Web, this is entirely possible and even easy to do;
self-publish with a little help – and this is where I’m going to give a shout-out to another new enterprise in the STL area: Treehouse Publishing. That’s what they do, provide an a la carte menu of author services, depending upon what kind of help the author needs.
Vanity presses, the kinds of places where you pay for a “package,” only warrant a
passing glance here – and that’s in the form of a warning. Don’t do it. A bookseller can tell immediately if you used one of these “publishers” and, in spite of their usual disclaimers of “we don’t accept every manuscript,” they really do. Because they get paid for that.
Traditional publishing is another option. Typically, unpublished authors dream of having a top agent - and often will query agents for a year or more, hoping to find one – then expect a contract offer from a Big Six publisher with a big advance. It
Small publishers, like RHP, don’t usually offer advances, but we also accept unsolicited manuscripts. That means you don’t need an agent, but you can certainly have one. We’ll work with agents, too. But our primary purpose is to make your book the best it can be, and send it out into the world with proper promotion and marketing. We don’t promise what we can’t deliver, and we don’t charge our authors.
And now you’ve met the “new kid in town.”