The need for a new approach to publishing by authors
New technology is transforming publishing, due to the spread of print-on-demand and the ebook revolution, matched to social media and the plethora of channels and platforms through which creative content can be delivered.
As a result, self-publishing is now not only attractive but desirable. Such books accounted for more than 20% of crime, science fiction, romance and humour ebooks sold in the UK in 2012, according to Bowker, a trend that will undoubtedly be shown to have continued in 2013 once the figures are out.
Publishing models are changing too. Nielsen BookData says ebooks will overtake paperback sales in 2014. Many companies have sprung up to make it easier for authors to publish their own work, offering print-on-demand and ebook services. Mainstream publishers such as Faber and Penguin have also bought up one or two of these companies and added such services to their traditional ones, revealing that they realise this is the future.
Authors consequently have more power and more choice, but some companies are charging over the odds for their services. It can be bewildering deciding who to choose as your publishing services partner.
You want value for money and an efficient service. And, since marketing - especially social marketing - is such a huge part of the publishing process, then choosing a company that understands and succeeds in this area is essential. Making sure you stand out is the central challenge.
But what if a publishing service included you as part of its strengths?
That's part of the concept behind an exciting new not-for-profit publishing co-operative venture I've helped to form. Launching this month, it's called Cambria Publishing Co-op.
It places itself squarely in the new publishing model. The main idea is that anyone, wherever they live, can join and receive discounts on services offered by other members as part of the benefits.
Because it's not-for-profit and a legally registered co-operative, it helps to ensure that members don't get ripped off.
In this game there is strength in numbers. So, the more trade service providers and authors band together, then the higher the collective profile they will achieve.
Cambria Publishing is collaborating and partnering with academic institutions and other agencies to provide a ‘scale’ of operations not achievable by smaller individuals and businesses operating alone - a ‘community’ of like-minded people with complementary skills.
I myself have run a publishing concern as well as being an author, a commissioning editor and book and book cover designer. My other partners have between them a similar level of experience in other areas of modern publishing from print magazine, books and eBooks, to creating websites, blogs, video channels and social media.
Cambria Books publishes books for older children up to adults, fiction, poetry and non-fiction, and welcomes submissions. Existing books for teens include Bel Roberts' Surfing Through Minefields and my own Doc Chaos: The Chernobyl Effect (for both of which yours truly designed the covers).
Although both companies are based in Wales, as is the head office (at the University of Wales, Trinity St David's), membership of the Co-op is open to anyone, anywhere. The whole point of the publishing revolution is that it transcends geographical boundaries.
Besides the magazine, we are partnering with Denis Campbell's UK Progressive and Americymru, who both have large audiences in the USA and make copious use of social media, to promote our authors and services, with YouTube video interviews with authors.
Who can join?
Membership is open to all creatives such as writers, authors, artists and those that publish content and make use of the trade skills and services that make this possible.
Examples of trade members include: book and book cover designers, artists, illustrators, marketeers, publicists, social media marketing service specialists (Vine, FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube etc.), readers, proofreaders, editors, publishers, printers and any others who provide services that enable a publishing business to function effectively.
Members of the co-op will receive discounted services. Entry membership costs just £10 for which you get:
- a newsletter;
- discounts on published books and freebies;
- invitations and free entry to events/launches.
We hope you will join us! Click here to find out more. If you have any enquiries, email my partner Chris Jones.
If you know of anyone who might be interested, pass it on!