In the beginning…
So in August, after trying for weeks to find an author’s agent, I finally signed a deal to publish my first novel The Daisy Chain. I signed with some very nice people called Red Door Press in the UK (btw I live in the UK). I’d found them through a really good online UK authors group called Jericho Writers. Red Door work a hybrid publishing model. That means that whilst they are a bona fide publisher, I contribute to some of the costs. I also get a lot more skin in the game, both with regard to the publishing process and share of revenue.
I get asked by other protean writers / authors where ‘hybrid’ falls into the spectrum of publishing from Big 5, through Self-Published to ‘Vanity’. Vanity it most definitely is not, for a reasonable fee Red Door look after all pre-production. Basically, these are the things, like editorial advice, copy editing, typesetting etc., that you would need to do (or should do!) and would have to pay for if you were self-publishing. They do all the due diligence on attention to detail.
They also have a sales force to put copies into the bookshop trade and handle all the online mysteries from Amazon thru’ KDP and bloggers. Apparently, I’ll be going on a blog tour (no idea what that is but it sounds pretty cool) when I get published. They also tutor their authors in the essentials of digital and social media — I now have Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts for my author alter ego. Next step is to learn how to harness their power properly!
One of the great things my editorial team give me is confidence. Having spent a working life as an advertising copywriter and ad agency Creative Director I’m not normally short of that. You can’t run a large team of creatives and pitch convincingly to clients if you don’t have belief (ok, I’ll ‘fess up’, it’s also been called arrogance). But in my professional life people are paying me for my time. Sending out the invoices every month is as much a way of keeping score as it is of keeping the wolf from the door.
Given that I still do a day job, it makes sense to pay experts. Having said that, the team is happy for me to leverage my experience. If working in marketing for so long has taught me one thing it’s that things don’t sell themselves. If I can’t work up a good sales pitch for my book and communicate it to the world, I don’t deserve success. The campaign will be very much a team effort.
Writing this blog is part of that communications process. Like many creative people I’m dyslexic and like to understand processes in a granular way. So for others out there like me, and there are thousands more unpublished writers and wannabee authors than there are published ones, I thought I’d interrogate my journey in a meta-cognitive way and share it.
If that interests you then follow this blog for regular updates about the steps along the way.