The Author's Choice Partnership is a an endeavour set up by UK self-publishing service, Matador (imprint of Troubador Publishing), and MPG Biddles (MPG Books Group), a book manufacturer specializing in short-to-medium print-runs (lithographic and POD). Although both companies operate in the print and publishing industry independently, Author's Choice will offer a host of bespoke self-publishing services from printing, editing, layout and cover design, promotion and marketing services and distribution at specially discounted rates exclusive to The Author's Choice Partnership.
"As an increasing number of people turn to self-publishing there seem to be increasing number of 'options' in the market-place making it appear to be a daunting and confusing prospect which it doesn’t have to be.
The Authors Choice Partnership brings together a range of services designed to simplify your self-publishing journey and ensure that the end result is a beautifully produced book that you will be really proud of. Our services include:
You can mix and match the services we offer to suit your needs. There is no obligation to purchase services from both companies – if you only want help with proof reading from Matador then that is fine, if you only want book printing from Biddles then, again, that is fine. Equally if you start off with printing services from Biddles and then decide you want help with marketing and distribution after the books have been delivered then you can contact Matador at a later date. Just remember that the special rates that we have put together are only available via this website.
From proof-reading your manuscript to see your book on the best-seller list at your local bookshop – we are here to help you!
Another aspect of the Authors Choice partnership is the opportunity to attend one of our Self-Publisher Experience Days. Held at Biddles factory in King’s Lynn, the experience days will offer self-publishers and first-time authors the chance to learn about the ins and outs of publishing a book."
For the purpose of this general overview, I am not going to go into specific details of the services offered, many of them have been covered in the review of Matador, and we will have a look MPG Biddles in more detail very soon as a printer and book manufacturer. But overall, I found the Author's Choice more of an affiliate program for Matador and Biddles, and the combined 'alter-ego' of both seems more a virtual gateway to their individual services.
What did strike me as innovative was their Self-Publisher Experience Days. This should have been the main event for Author’s Choice—instead, it got sidelined to a footnote.
Let me digress a moment.
We have all gone on holiday to sunnier climates and been bombarded with offers of day-trips from our package tour reps on the first day we arrive at our holiday resort in those welcome get-together mornings. The seasoned travelers never thrust hand into pocket for cash or credit card because they have learned from trekking to the world's hot-spots every summer that the local hawkers on the islands offer the same tours for a far cheaper price—but with the one caveat—you have to sit through an hour or two during the day of a sales pitch on orthopedic bedding, jewelery, carpets or some-such must-have product. We put up with it because the day-trip is considerable cheaper than through the tour operator or paying for it at hotel reception, but the local hawkers and native tour companies get heavily subsidized by local businesses wishing to pitch their services and products.
Now, the gem of The Author's Choice Partnership is the Self-Publisher Experience Days. If you are a self-publishing author you are more than likely only going to be interested in this opportunity if you have not made the decision on what path or service you will choose. I think Matador and Biddles know this already, but quite why both did not seize the bull by the horns and pitch this as the main thrust of Author's Choice, I'll never know.
However, hindsight may also play a part here. This month's Writers' Forum magazine (print edition) displays a half page advert promoting Author's Choice, and notably, the partnership is for the first time sold as Self-Publisher Experience Days.
"During the day delegates have the opportunity to:
Learn how the design of a book has a direct impact on its printing
Practical marketing and distribution tips
Guest speakers from the publishing world
Meet like-minded independent self-publishers
Unique tour of a book manufacturing factory
Includes an excellent free lunch and a self-publishing resources pack.
Matador Publisher, Jeremy Thompson said: 'These unique experience days enable authors new to self-publishing to talk to people who publish and print books for a living. Matador and Biddles staff are on hand to discuss all aspects of publishing a book, from design through to print and marketing .. and there’s no hard sell either. We hope that, after having seen what Matador and Biddles can do, authors will want to work with one or other of us, but if not that’s fine.'
The next experience day will be held on 20th May 2010, and attendance is free for the first 10 delegates that register to attend."
Personally, for what it is worth, I would register the domain www.selfpublisherexperience.co.uk and ditch the Author's Choice moniker. This then allows a potential host of other partnerships to come on board, writers' groups, writers' workshops, even other author solutions services, but all operating under a strict standard of practice and quality.
Authors' Choice, of itself is not innovative, rather as I have said above, an affiliation, but the Self-Publisher Experience Days is not something I have seen yet in this area of the publishing industry, and this is through consideration, perspective and innovation all working together.