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Monday, November 21, 2011

New Venture! New Market for Writers too!

Above is the logo for my newest venture, Barbarian Books.We are an eBook publishing company. 


Why would a well-published writer, with contracts with other great publishing companies, L&L Dreamspell, Muse It Up Publishing and Freundship Press, for example, open an eBook publisher? Am I insane? I'm a writer, so of course. But not when it comes to Barbarian Books. My permanent boyfriend Bruce came up with the idea to answer several important questions. E-readers mean that it's a new world for writers. With, I believe, some tremendous advantages for us writers.


Since I'm certain the majority of my readers know about the publishing world here's a couple of thing in brief: The big publishers are no longer taking newbies, or often even trusted mid-listers. Anyone can self-publish for e-readers. And many, many do. How does an author stand out in such a crowd? Unless you're someone like Jim Murdoch and you have a great blog such as The Truth About Lies or Dennis J. Smith and know all about social networking, it's a struggle to promote your self-pubbed e-book. 

And who do readers trust to find good reads at a reasonable price? 


The answer is: small publishers. There are a number of legitimate small publishers out there. If you've written a good book, there'll be a spot for it with a good small publisher.


This is the great thing about this new world--you can write what you want and it'll find a place. Every publisher is looking for something somewhat different. For example, Barbarian Books is looking for genre fiction (no children's or erotica). We're looking for novel length crime (including mystery), horror, romance, science fiction, westerns and cross genre. We'll open soon for other lengths and genres. And we're looking for that great, unclassifiable and unusual novel that might fit our philosophy that there are a great many readers looking for great reads.


So, if you have a finished product, do your homework (i.e. read the publisher's websites and contracts, go to Duotrope, Absolute Write and Preditors and Editors) and then submit!






































21 comments:

Carol Kilgore said...

How cool :)

Good luck!

Jim Murdoch said...

Thank you for that plug, Conda. Always appreciated. If only having “a great blog” – to quote you (I’m too humble to say) – was enough to attract readers – and by that I mean paying readers – but it definitely doesn’t hurt. I wish you well with your new project. Certainly at the moment everything is in flux and we’re all trying on all these different hats to see if we can make them fit. Creating an ebook is so easy it’s scary but as a poet friend of mine discovered over the past week just shoving his beloved collection into the Smashwords meat-grinder can have unexpected results. He doesn’t had a Kindle and apparently his book looks fine on his i-Pad but on a Kindle it was an absolute mess. He’s now downloaded a mobi reader so he can check himself but I wonder how many out there are aware of the problems that come along with all these different format and devices? It’s the same, of course, with websites. They might look fine in Firefox but be all over the place in Explorer or Opera.

This is where I think small companies might do well by pointing out that it’s not as easy as it looks, not if you want a professional product. And then there’s the artwork, editing and proofreading. I’m luckier than most. My wife is a dab hand with Photoshop but, more importantly, she is a good editor and by that I mean a proper editor, i.e. she has been paid to edit. You cannot – absolutely can not – do it all on our own. No matter how many people you get to check your work some errors will slip through; even the professionals make mistakes. Two friends – both writers went through my next novel with a fine toothcomb, then I went through, picked up a ton of errors, then my wife got her hands on the book and put us all to shame, then I checked the book again and picked up another three typos and I would bet it’s still not perfect but just how much checking can one do?

I belong to a few writers’ groups and I often see them bitching about readers pointing out typos and grammatical errors in their reviews. My response to them was quite simply that because of the bad reputation that self-published books still struggles with we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard; if you genuinely don’t have the necessary skills to do the job properly then don’t publish something that will do: “will do” isn’t good enough. This, I would imagine, would be one area where you will struggle as a fledgling company, trying to persuade people that they need a publisher for more than the kudos of saying that someone has published them.

As a writer I think the one main thing I would be interested in asking my publisher is: What are you going to do about marketing my book? This is the hard one. Getting listed on Amazon is all good and well – that is where the majority of people will go to look for books – but how are potential readers going to stumble across an unknown author unless they see him or her cropping up on ‘What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?’ or some reader-generated list? Anyway, I’m sure that’s something you’ve thought through.

Conda V. Douglas said...

Thank you, Carol. What's cooler is how us writers like to help each other in so many ways!

Ann Best said...

I'm bookmarking this page, Conda, for future reference.

I saw your comment just now on my post. Figuring out how to download my new stories on your new Kindle will be MUCH easier than it was for me to self-publish them, especially on Amazon. I'm just now writing a guest post for Misha on this subject, to be posted December 1st.

You say, "This is the great thing about this new world--you can write what you want and it'll find a place." This is so true!
Ann Best, Memoir Author

Conda V. Douglas said...

Jim,

As always you bring up many cogent points. You briefly went through why writers NEED publishers. If you self-publish, you do it all yourself and it's difficult to have a professional product. Plus, with self-promotion, when does a writer write?!

The answer to your last question is you bet we've thought about the various ways we will heavily promote our authors. After all, if they don't make money, we don't make money. One way is we will brand Barbarian Books as a "go to" place for eBooks.

Conda V. Douglas said...

Ann,

My partner Bruce is a techno-geek who understands that many, many writers are NOT. And that writers want to spend their time writing, not re-formatting again and again for different e-readers (see Jim's comment).

And thank you for bookmarking this post!

Enid Wilson said...

How is it different from Amazon and lulu?

My Darcy Vibrates…

Conda V. Douglas said...

Hi Enid!

Good question--Barbarian Books is a publisher--Amazon and Lulu are for self publishing. Big difference: WE NEVER CHARGE THE AUTHOR ANY FEES. We PAY the author royalties. And it's Barbarian Books responsibility to, when we select and publish an author's work, to format and promote that work. If you don't make money, we don't make money. There's more info on this (and a sample of our contract) on www.barbarianbooks.com.

Thanks Enid!

SWUBIRD said...

Conda:

Wow! You should see your site from my iMac. It's huge!

Have a happy Thanksgiving. We're all still here and there's much to be thankful for.

Happy trails.

Talli Roland said...

How cool, Conda! Good luck. It's a great time to be a small publisher.

Art Durkee said...

I like that you're doing this, and I wish you well with it. I hope it turns into a big success for all involved.

As someone who writes poetry rather than fiction, though, most e-readers still suck when it comes formatting poetry. The only real solution is to publish as a PDF but not all readers handle those very well. Which is weird, considering that PDFs have been around and stable for decades now. When I work as a graphic artist and book designer, I still end up sending camera-ready PDFs to the printers more often than not.

Speaking up which, if you ever need tech-savvy designers, we're out here and available. :)

Again, best wishes.

Conda V. Douglas said...

Swu--That's great to know! And I too am thankful just to be here!

Conda V. Douglas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Conda V. Douglas said...

Talli, it's also a great time to be a writer!

Conda V. Douglas said...

Thank you, Art, for your well wishes. And you are so correct--it's incredibly difficult to format poetry for e-readers. I hope that changes soon as more material is published.

And always good to know artists and graphic designers! Books need covers and well designed covers!

Kathy McIntosh said...

Wow. Great information in your post and all the comments.
Good stuff. Am I biased because I'm an e-talent scout for Barbarian Books? You bet! But I also know Conda and Bruce and know anything they do will be first class.

Caryn Caldwell said...

What a fun venture! Good luck with it!

Conda V. Douglas said...

Thanks, Caryn!

Nezzy said...

Hey darlin', I just wanted to thank you for your sweet visit and hoppin' on my blog. I sure hope ya'll enjoy the ride!

This looks like the perfect place to pick up some great tips and tricks. Woohoo!!!

God bless and in the words of that silly old Granny Clampett, "ya'll come back now...ya hear!!!"

Merry Christmas sweetie! :o)

Conda V. Douglas said...

Nazzy, thanks so much and LOVE your blog! You got a great voice there, girlfriend...

Life Line said...

But I'am not a writer, nice....