Friday, 27 January 2012


Hampton Roads Latest Publisher to Launch Self-Publishing Imprint


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Hampton Roads Publishing, in a collaborative endeavour with Hierophant, Red Wheel/Weiser Conari, have formed Turning Stone Press - a self-publishing service. Significantly, unlike previous new self-publishing services, this looks like an in-house staffed collaboration rather than a publishing house outsourcing to a company like Author Solutions. It looks expensive, but I'll take a closer look at this latest development in publishing on my return from overseas next week. For now, from the original breaking source - PW.


Red Wheel/Weiser Conari Press, in collaboration with Hampton Roads and Hierophant Publishing, are entering the self-publishing market for spiritual and self-help authors. The companies have formed Turning Stone Press which will be under the director of Red Wheel /Weiser Conari publisher Jan Johnson.


The press will offer editorial and production services including copyediting, book and cover design that will be overseen by Red Wheel/Weiser’s art and production directors. Red Wheel president Michael Kerber noted that the entire publishing process “is managed 100% by us. We do all the work.” Turning Stone will charge a one-time fee of $7,500 and authors will be paid on a royalty basis. “There are no hidden charges,” said Kerber, noting that if a book takes off, the additional printing costs will be covered by Red Wheel. “We’ll treat [Turning Stone] titles like any other Red Wheel book,” he said.
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Friday, 20 January 2012


iBooks Author Review | TechRadar


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iBooks author: looks like ipagesGary Marshall, over on TechRadar.com, has a nuts and bolts review of Apple's new iBooks Author tool for the creation of textbooks. Now that the dust has settled after yesterday's announcement, I'm not at all convinced that this new tool for self-publishers is a serious rival to Amazon's Kindle publishing program. You need to 'click-off' on an agreement with Apple that sets you through some hoops and loops such as having your own ISBN, quality approval through the iTunes Producer, an iBookstore Seller Account, it requires MAC OS X 10.7.2 (and not Windows OS compliant), but critically, iBook Author looks like it will be restricted to US-based authors with a tax number from the IRS. As a book creation tool, it rivals and exceeds what Blurb (Booksmart) - and maybe even Lulu - offer in their engine rooms. The jury is still out on pricing - my guess is that Apple will stick with the 70/30 revenue split. Apple may have produced one of the best free book-creation tools for self-published authors, but right now, it's like running a Ferrari on a country back road.




Hands on: iBooks Author review | News | TechRadar:

"Apple's latest content creator is designed for a very specific audience: textbook publishers. If you're looking for a do-everything app that will export in every conceivable file format, iBooks Author isn't for you - for that you'd be much better off with Scrivener. If you want to make eye-popping textbooks for the iPad, however, iBooks Author makes it exceptionally easy to produce very high quality stuff."

'Read More From TechRadar'
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Thursday, 19 January 2012


Publishing Opportunities from Online Communities | Writing.ie


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The quote from the piece below is a feature on Writing.ie this week. It's a general overview about online publishing and communities and takes a look at three particular sites, Authonomy, Book Country and YouWriteOn. I'm not sure I'd agree with some of what is said, and there is a definite tendency to focus on the positive PR spin of three online publishing communities which have had their fair share of criticism from established and self-published authors. I've written quite a bit on Authonomy and Book Country here over the past two years and observed online discussions on YouWriteOn. In fact, a couple of years ago when I considered reviewing YouWriteOn, I decided against it after hearing of authors' experiences and the wider debate. For me, all three set out with admirable aims, but all fall far short in addressing the publishing slush piles, bridging the vast ocean that exists between publisher and submitting authors, and providing a fair, worthwhile and economic community platform and self-publishing services.

Publishing Opportunities from Online Communities:

"Authonomy Editor Scott Pack told writing.ie “Authonomy had a good track record of finding new talent, with a number of Sunday Times bestsellers being discovered on the site, but we wanted to step things up a bit. So we have started an Authonomy imprint which will look to publish 10-12 digital originals a year through HarperCollins. Our first, The Qualities of Wood by Mary Vensel White, is coming out at the end of January and we have already announced a second, More Tea, Jesus? by James Lark, with more announcements imminent. Any title that performs particularly well as an ebook will be published in a print edition by HarperCollins."

'via Blog this'
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Monday, 16 January 2012


The Book Producers (The Author's Friend) - Reviewed (Updated Jan 2012)


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This publishing service is currently undergoing an identity crisis. TAF Publishing now comes under The Book Producers Ltd. I'm trying to decipher this maze of Russian Dolls, wrapper by wrapper - who left who - who runs what, and just exactly what it means for self-published authors. The Book Producers fully relaunched in September 2012 and is run by author and publisher David Jones (formerly of TAF Publishing/The Author's Friend).

"We've spent the last few weeks rebuilding and re-organsing. We've introduced many new and innovative ideas to benefit everyone looking to get a book published. Managing Director David Jones is excited by our new offerings.
Take a look at our new publishing packages - with our economy pack you are now able to get your book published for as little as €795, and that includes 50 free paperback copies. We've a new E-publishing service so you can take advantage of the 'Kindle revolution'. We've also introduced a new audio book service which will be the next big thing to hit the market. We've a brand new on-line book shop ready to launch in the next few weeks - it will feature lots of new ideas to help you market your book both here in Ireland and world-wide.
It doesn't stop there though - we're teaming up with The Irish Writers Institute to offer creative writing courses and workshops. We've a new book - Licence To Write - which explains everything you need to know about writing a book. We will also be launching the new 2013 Irish Writers, Authors and Poets Handbook which contains masses of details about writing and getting published in Ireland."
 
In time, we will have a full review of this company.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
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Sunday, 15 January 2012


The way ahead for publishing | Books | Guardian UK


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Here is a nice summation piece by Stephen Page in last Friday's Guardian UK about the developments in the publishing world in 2011, and where it might be going beyond 2012...

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Saturday, 14 January 2012


Arima Publishing UK - Reviewed (Updated Jan 2012)


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Arima Publishing is a UK self-publishing service based in Suffolk, England. The company offer authors ‘global publishing services’. Arima follow the business strategy most UK-based companies take and call it as it is for authors wanting to self-published a book. To be fair, Arima make no pretensions about being a grandiose publishing company.

Writing a book is a feat that many people dream of, but actually relatively few accomplish. It is a challenge but can also be a very rewarding experience. Completing a book is a significant achievement.

arima is a highly innovative global, publishing services company that offers flexible and very cost-effective solutions to those authors who aspire to see their work published.

arima offers new and established writers a range of quality services to assist them to bring their books to the market, as well as global distribution channels that include Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

The emerging digital age is changing the face of publishing. It is bringing exciting opportunities to thousands of new authors, realising book projects that traditionally would have struggled to get off the ground.

At heart, Arima is a printer offering ‘global distribution’ services. Big deep breath. There is nothing ‘Global' about printing books digitally, one by one through POD (print on demand), and making them ‘available’ online. Putting 20 pallets of refrigerators on a boat or plane from Liverpool to Rotterdam is.

Rebuilding your life after redundancy - The New Life Network Handbook 2009Arima, like all publishing services using POD, make the bulk of profits from revenue generated from the fees charged to authors. Arima’s homepage displays up to 35 advertisements for books they publish. You would be amazed how this presence of books on a publishers main homepage makes an impact on authors. For the most part, readers and buyers of books visit their local bookstore chain or go to e-retailers like Amazon.

However, whilst print-on-demand has many advantages it does not necessarily suit all types of book. Currently, the process available does not allow for internal colour; pictures and diagrams are limited to black and grey scale. Also, because all book pages are printed on the same non-glossy paper, black and white photographs may have a slightly grainy appearance. Technology continues to progress though, and improvements are coming on-stream all the time.

Arima has had the above detail on their website and in their publishing brochure for a few years now, and I think the company need to heed their own advice. Yes, print technology has moved on and continues to improve, but it's Arima's information that hasn't moved on with the times. Perhaps Richard Franklin and his staff would care to take a look at a 'global' company like Blurb to see that colour books using POD technology is not only possible, but can be of very high quality. There is also no mention of short-run printing which has become an essential part of the self-publishing menu offered to authors in the past few years.

Narrative Poems IIArima’s basic package for publishing which has fluctuated from £575 to £795 over the past 2 years. The £575 was the cost of the basic package, but it is worth noting that by 2012, Arima does not list package pricing on their website. A brochure of their services can be requested on this link.

Details like this on a website worry me.

Imprints 

In addition to the arima imprint, arima also publishes under a number of specialist imprints. For more information please contact us.

click here for our contact form.

Why? Is it so secret that you cannot tell us, or is it another series of self-publishing plans which you don’t want to tell us about for fear we might say they are ridiculously expensive. Perhaps Arima is trying to tell us that they have hidden a traditional publishing company behind a self-publishing printer! The 'other' imprint alluded to is Abramas, a POD service for academic books and thesis. 

The very basics of publishing a book go with Arima’s package, basic cover and internal layout, ISBN, online availability, proofs and author copies, but little else. On royalties, we are looking at some shenanigans.

The brochure claims 30% to the author of a book selling for £11.00. through Arima without having to take a third party into account. £3.30 sounds pretty out the window. With third party sales – it reduces to 20%. Yet, it costs Arima about £3.50 to print the book leaving £7.50 . The author might make £3.30, but the publisher is making £4.20 out of all this. There is a similar anomaly in the third party figures as well.

For author royalty copies; we see a similar discrepancy which sees the author paying far away above what the books cost to print as against the price they can buy them from their publishers.
Trees & Wildlife in Wensleydale
Arima provide no marketing or promotion of titles outside of providing the author with some moderate feedback through a booklet and printed materials to support a marketing campaign by the author. Arima do have an online bookshop, but it has very low traffic.

Arima are far from the cheapest self publishers. You will need to have a fully prepared book file in MS word or ideally a finished PDF. And regarding your cover file:

“Whilst Arima employs professional graphic designers to produce all our book cover work, we understand that some authors would like the opportunity to work closely with the designers to develop a more detailed and personal design brief. A full design commission service is available for both cover and interior work, at £250.”

Arima offer a production and printer service for self-publishing authors. The services seem mismatched and are neither printer nor a full author solution service. There just is not enough here on the marketing side, and the focus is what I would describe as 'nuts 'n' bolts' publishing - copyright, registration, data listing, online distribution etc. Arima say much of the marketing is up to the author. That’s fine and the company is honest about that, but it is hard to see Arima as anymore beyond the nuts and bolts of self-publishing and that is with considerable input before as well as after the book is completed.

For me, Arima may be honest in what is offered, but far short on specifics. e-Books services reflect this.

e-books 
Publishing your book as an e-book is an optional service. arima produces e-books in adobe, palm and Microsoft Reader formats.


This reads like it was written five years ago. There is no mention of Kindle, iPad or iPhone advances in the e-reader market. And in short, it is how I see Arima and what I see as their approach to self-publishing services - suffice if it were five years ago, but entirely out-of-touch in today's self-publishing service world. I certainly can't see how Arima would appeal to a seasoned self-published author who knows publishing works and the value of a service reflecting what is happening now in the publishing industry. Too much of what Arima offer is how self-publishing used to be when self-published authors where still dipping their toes in the water. Things have changed a lot since then.

RATING: 5.0/10

 
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Thursday, 12 January 2012


HarperCollins Launches Backlist Print/POD Program | Shelf Awareness


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HarperCollins Launches Backlist Print/POD Program | Shelf Awareness:

"HarperCollins today is launching its Comprehensive Backlist Program that will enable independent bookstores with Espresso Book Machines to promote much of the company's backlist through a combination of "a core assortment" of printed books on the shelves and in-store "digital-to-print at retail." The program encompasses thousands of adult trade paperback titles and some YA paperbacks. For now, illustrated books, picture books and some other titles are not included.

The program officially begins at 1 p.m. Eastern time, when the initial nine participating stores will simultaneously print a copy of Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett. (Patchett became an independent bookseller last year when she co-founded Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tenn.)"

'via Blog this'
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Monday, 9 January 2012


Self-Publishing Experiences: Over Streams and Squirrel Woods - Alys Williams


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It's quite a while since we had a post from our self-publishing successes/experiences series. So, today, Alys Williams (pseudonym of author Jenny Thomas) describes her not so good experience with AuthorHouse, and her eventual publication of her beautiful book, Over Streams and Squirrel Woods, a chronicle and memoir of her relationship with her mother during her years of dementia. - [Editor]


I tried twenty-two small publishers and four agents. Some of them were interested, but then got cold feet in the ‘currently difficult climate.’ I decided after a couple of years to get the book into print, onto the Kindle, and off my desk. I sent for three books on self-publishing, read magazine articles and scoured the internet for help, and I also spoke to everyone I knew who might have a view.

I tried to compare prices and what one gets for the money between Crowdspring, CreateSpace, Lightning Source and a myriad of companies who do the cover design, book layout and distribution, but it took weeks of research. I eventually decided that I was not technically capable of doing the whole thing, and with recommendations for AuthorHouse from creative writing teachers and other authors, an offer of 40% off the basic package, as well as a ‘you will retain the rights so you’re not tied down to any strings’ and ‘you will get a non-exclusive or open ended contract’ and ‘you can price the book at £7.30’ and ‘YES the book will be available on Kindle’ and ‘we never charge for any additional printing costs, administrative fees, or retailer discounts’ ringing in my ears, I paid the £453.15.

A day later, my check in co-ordinator phoned and sent me an e-mail with some instructions. So I electronically sent off my paginated book layout, a photo for the cover, and book description for the back cover. I entered a password and my e-mail address into the Authorcentre and waited. When I logged into the Authorcentre a few days later I saw that although I had formatted my book to be 6x9 and had asked for the text to be kept in Times New Roman as the italicised sections looked too curly in their usual font of Garamond – these details had been entered wrongly. My co-ordinator replied to my third e-mail saying she had altered the details and, YES, I could have ‘all profits from this book go to the Alzheimer’s Society’ on the copy line. After this, I could not get into the Authorcentre to check. Eventually I was given another password and the changes had been made.

The proofs came back from my design consultant for me to view. In the first round I was allowed 25 interior corrections, though any number of their mistakes could be changed. The cover was very strange. My photograph had been cut into three pieces and attached to a tree. It was very imaginative, but not what I had asked for, and did not fit the book’s content (which of course they don’t read) and the cover image way too dark.

Completing the Cover Modification and Galley Modification Forms was a difficult process. The forms had minds of their own and trying to put the typos in the ‘Incorrect’ column was tedious as they were immediately changed to being correct – so they looked the same as the ‘Correct’ column. I spent two days ensuring that I had made every detail as clear as possible and included explanatory text to back up the changes.

There was a three week delay, during which time I saw the retail price for the book had gone up to £11.92! I e-mailed my AuthorHouse representative – got no reply – and then I could no longer get into the ‘Authorcentre’ again.

The cover proof was returned with no bark included, but suddenly there was too much blue sky covered with clouds and it was a wrap around cover, so the writing was squashed into a thin column – it was just no good for my older target audience. I sent more explanations of what I wanted in an e-mail. A week later I phoned and it was as if I had never written to them – my design consultant typed what I was saying as I spoke. I confirmed the points again with another e-mail to back up my four points.

The galley modifications were returned, but not one of the twenty-five author corrections had been done and only seven of the twenty-seven AuthorHouse corrections. They had taken out the different font I used for my quotes and double-spaced some and run others into my text, so in many cases the quotes merged with my opinions. I had sent them a perfectly laid out file in the first place! Why had it been so messed up? I had spent so much time trying to make each necessary alteration crystal clear on the Modification forms – what was going on? We spoke again and I asked for the fourth time where ‘all profits to Alzheimers Society’ was on the copy line and why there were two spare pages at the beginning of the book. I backed this up with another e-mail repeating all the points.

Meanwhile I had been reading more and more complaint reviews on the internet. About how Lightning Source prints the books for between £2.90 and £3.70 and then AuthorHouse marks them up to more than double the print cost. Why do they have to make such a huge publishing profit when the author has paid for the cover and text?

My thought to put the book onto Kindle and charge £2.99 and get a printer to print me two hundred copies from their electronic files suddenly evaporated when I read a furious reviewer who said that I don’t own the rights to the designed and formatted version of my book, so I couldn’t republish or have the book production files to work from – they are owned by AuthorHouse! Where does it say that? I poured over everything on their site, every e-mail they sent me – but nowhere was this said. I thought I’d purchased a design package which became mine. I’d neither seen nor signed a contract.

I was too naive.

I e-mailed a friend who had worked in the publishing industry. My friend advised me to coolly work my way through the nexus of technicalities and focus on exactly what I signed up for, and to get complete clarity and then see if I could negotiate. If not, perhaps threaten legal action. I think that is a step too far, but I vowed that I would tell them that I am writing an article about my experience...

My marketing consultant rang up to introduce himself and to ask me what my goals were. I said it was to market the book at the prices agreed in my e-mail communication with the person who had signed me up. I said that I was writing an article about my experiences with AuthorHouse, and if they reneged on our agreements I wanted my money back. He said that the introductory person would be ringing me…they never did!

I argued with them for two months about how much the book would be on their site – I had a friend whose book was the same number of pages and was able to insist that the same price was set – she had already battled endlessly with them.

A friend designed the cover for me, as nothing they produced was worth having, and out of frustration I put the book onto Kindle myself – a month before they would have done so.

I cannot emphasise how hard I have had to fight and how many e-mails I’ve written and phone calls I have made - dozens and dozens - they do not reply and all the call staff I was dealing with were in the Philippines, the cultural understanding and style they produced was not my taste and somehow there was a big gap in understanding one another. [AuthorHouse no longer have a physical presence in the UK since early 2010 - Editor]

Eventually, because my friends book had been published before mine, I knocked them down from £7.50 to £5.60 for one hundred books, but the £94 postage charge was prohibitive, so I re-edited it, used the same cover, removed the ISBN number and had a printer in Norfolk do one hundred copies for me for £5.42 per book with no postage – so I saved £1.23. I could have done that in the first place and saved the £453 and not had five months of frustration!

In the promises that AuthorHouse send to punters it says:

Your book will be available to buy from the largest book distributors worldwide. These are;

• Gardners Books• Bertrams Books• Nielson Books• Ingram Books• Baker & Taylor and• Andrews Bookstores in Australia.

Yet two months after the book had gone live on Amazon, Over Streams and Squirrel Woods is still not registered with Nielsen Book Data and Bibliographic Data Services – and until this happens all the distributors above will not stock it and all the libraries I and friends have contacted, cannot order it! It’s quite shocking.

The sales on the internet are good and I have worked hard at contacting alzheimers local branches, putting details on dementia websites, sending details to newspapers, magazines and libraries and contacting everyone I have e-mail addresses for. My friend has had massive sales because she does book signings in book shops and is very persuasive. As my book is more specialized, I don’t see myself doing that, but seem to be having steady sales on Amazon with regular cheques in the post to me.

It is £8.82 on Amazon, plus £2.70 postage, as an e book for £4.58 or £7.99 directly from me plus the £2.30 postage. If I make any profit, it will go to the Alzheimers Society. I wish I'd had a book like mine when I was struggling to make life and treatment better for my Mum.

Why did I write it? Anger at the 'system', catharsis and because I want to believe that the human brain can still be creative and powerful even when it is damaged by plaques and tangles, so I tried to imagine how it felt if you knew that it was happening to you and wrote alternate chapters from my Mum’s point of view based on what she said to me and from what I observed.

In the other chapters I have described factually and honestly the journey we took together. Recording my experience of her illness, treatment and life in two nursing homes made me question what constitutes identity, self and the soul and be appalled by the way we treat our elderly, corralling and containing them and our lack of effort to communicate with those with dementia is particularly shocking.

Would either I or my friend use Authorhouse again? Well, no, but neither would I pay huge amounts to any self publishing company – it’s money wasted - do it yourself if you can’t find a publisher will be my maxim in future.

What is it like to watch a loved one deteriorate with the onset of dementia? How does it feel to know that it is happening to you?

A daughter’s honest and insightful account of her mother’s slow slide into Dementia with Lewy bodies and the mother’s thoughts as her internal journey gradually becomes her new reality.
Over Streams and Squirrel Woods explores what can happen when reality becomes too painful, and the disconnection between people when they see and hear differently from one another. It is about boundless love, frustration, guilt and the inexorable inevitability of aging.

Alys records her experience of Catrin’s illness, treatment and life in two nursing homes, provoking her to question what constitutes identity, self and the soul. In startling parallel is Catrin’s stream of consciousness, the clarity of which suggests that there is still power and creativity in the human mind and gives us hope that the descent is transformed not into pain and darkness, but into another life.

It is not only an intriguing read for all of us who have had or might have to deal with those who suffer from dementia but also leads us to consider our own futures.

“This is a valuable addition to the dementia literature, rewriting our expectation of what those with dementia can think.” John Suchet.
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Saturday, 7 January 2012


Been Offered A Publishing Contract? - Lynn Haz Good Advice For You!!


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Just because they offered you a contract doesn’t mean you need to take it « Behler Blog:

This advice from Lynn Price of Behler Publications already looks like one of the blog posts of 2012.

"Because I’m fairly active on the Absolute Write Water Cooler, I receive a few emails and PMs from writers wondering if Brand-Spanking-New Publisher or Known-To-Be-A-Scam Publisher is a good bet. Anyone who knows me knows that I call ‘em as I see ‘em. If they’re a brand new company, I look at certain parameters:
Who’s running the company
Marketing and promotion capabilities
Distribution
Editing
Experience"
Lynn Price, Behler Publications

'via Blog this'

Thursday, 5 January 2012


O'Reilly Radar Podcast With Author Dan Gilmor


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Dan Gillmor is an author and instructor at Arizona State University. He is one of a growing number of authors who have published with both a traditional house as well as self-published. In this O'Reilly Radar podcast, he discusses the pros and cons of both options with Joe Wikert.


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Olympia Publishers UK - Reviewed


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In late 2007 I came across a thread on AbsoluteWrite mentioning a UK publisher called Olympia Publishers. At the outset, it should be stressed that this publisher has nothing to do with the distinguished Paris-based literary and erotica press founded by Maurice Giordias during the early 1950s. Giordias’ avant-garde esoteric publishing house introduced us to classics by Burroughs, Beckett, Bataille and Nabokov. Giordias also ran the erotica imprint Ophelia Press which published one of literature's most famous and enigmatic publishing mysteries in the form of Pauline Reage’s The Story of O. Every time I come across the Olympia Press during research, I keep telling myself I should do an historical publishing piece on this publisher. But that one is for another day.

A quick Google of Olympia Publishers will quickly reveal a whole plethora of publishers over the years that have traded under derivatives of the Olympia name. I can understand a ‘Ted Jones’ from Melbourne, Australia trading under Jones Construction if this is his line of business, but frankly, in today’s age of global communication, the Internet and company records readily available to the general public, I can’t understand any publishing house trading under the name of a similar and previously existing publisher or press unless the confusion is deliberate. It was the first bane of frustration for the authors posting on the above cited AbsoluteWrite thread above.

Olympia Publishers UK, part of Ashwell Publishing, began sometime around late 2007. The publisher lists its address at 60 Cannon Street, smack in the heart of the City of London. That’s a pretty nice piece of office real estate to lease and operate out of, but when you’re a publisher with 250 listed titles (on Amazon UK), a catalogue filled mainly with new or unknown authors, something doesn’t quite ring true. I’m a pretty frequent traveller now, and I’ve learned from experience when I’ve decided to ‘call around’ to the offices of publishers or companies offering self-publishing services, I’ve discovered vacant rooms above laundrettes,  fast food shops, residential homes, derelict or abandoned buildings with no more sign of a thriving publishing house than rusting galvanised shutters and a overstuffed ‘mailbox’ and a builder with a steaming-hot Pot Noodle clutched to his bosom. I’ve had experiences like this with several UK self-publishing services – are you taking note Mr Miller from BookForce/UnDiscovered/discovered Authors/Callio Press? Olympia Publishers actually operate out of a less attractive piece of real estate in a business industrial estate in Cambridge.

I may or may not be calling to a publisher/self-publishing service near you soon! Fortunately, I’ve also had many good experiences with companies only too open to me paying a visit. Not surprisingly, most of these companies tend to be the better service providers to authors.

From the Olympia Publisher website:

“We continue to publish books by well-known writers and have also given writers at the dawn of their careers the necessary opportunities to have their books published successfully. Therefore, we can now pride ourselves on achieving fame for previously unknown writers. We have been able to achieve this by proven methods of internet marketing and by well-established and traditional forms of promotion. To achieve this we have developed very useful and beneficial links with the Media, and this has escalated world-wide; consequently more and more of our books are reaching the potential that they deserve.”

Hmmm, ‘pride ourselves on achieving fame for previously unknown writers.’ Is that what unknown writers seek or what Olympia think they are seeking?

I actually do like the layout and presentation of the publisher’s website. It has what a publisher’s website should have; plenty of books on display and plenty of author event news. A look at the book covers throughout the online bookshop reveals  a pretty mixed bag. The site provides ample information on upcoming author events and links to short biographies of its published authors. However, I’d like a great deal more about this company on the main page and about page, primarily why Olympia Publishers is different to other publishers and what their staff experience is. There is also a dramatic lack of trade information suggesting to me that this publisher does not have the trade and media links it claims to have. The publisher does support an online bookstore, but returns for customers and groups are not accepted. My concern here is that this is transferred to trade accounts as well.

Let’s get to the nub of Olympia Publishers in this overview, because that’s all it can be. Even a commercial publisher provides more detail than this publisher – trade order details; details of editors and staff experience; and a full overview of the company history. In essence, Olympia on the surface look like a standard publisher, but this belies the experience of authors submitting to them in the AbsoluteWrite thread cited above, and the more recent threads here.

"Initially all manuscripts submitted to us are considered under non-contributory publishing contracts. This is where no costs are incurred by the author and the whole outlay is taken on by Olympia Publishers.
Should we be unable to offer the non-contributory contract for those manuscripts that would fit in with our high standards and genre criteria, an alternative means of being published is considered. This would be under a slightly different form of contract which is contribution-based. We would like to point out that the promotion and marketing of all our books is carried to the same depth regardless of the type of contract that is offered.
As always, we dedicate a great deal of our resources to researching new methods by which we can move forward, in keeping with modern innovations. Some of our future plans include the provision of e-books as these are currently gaining impetus; now it appears that e-books are beginning to pose an important addition to normal publishing. We plan to encompass all our future and existing titles to be sold as e-books as well as in paperback format. “

Olympia reminds me a great deal of Austin & McAuley, who until about two years ago did not inform authors about fees connected with publishing as part of their programs. I’ve no problem with a publisher adopting a hybrid approach to publishing. But traditional and self-publishing imprints must be kept separate, and all financial details as part of a paid service must be disclosed before an author submits to the publishers – and that includes costs (absolute or by example) as well as royalties. In short, you can’t play the game as a publisher but operate in whole as an author solutions provider.

It should be noted that fees cited from the above links by authors, after they submitted to Olympia, ranged on average from £2500 - £3500. Publishing should be a democracy – open to everyone – but you simply cannot operate an imprint that claims to publish one author for free, and another for £3500, and give both the same marketing and promotion.

RATING: 3.6/10
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Tuesday, 3 January 2012


Apple Poised To Launch Self-Publishing Program This Month


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Apple to launch new Self-Publishing Program later this month | Good E-Reader - ebook Reader and Tablet PC News:

Reporting on Good E-Reader this morning, Michael Kozlowski has revealed that Apple will host an event in New York later in January and speculates that it may herald the launch of a self-publishing program for iBooks that will rival Amazon's DTP and the Barnes and Noble Pubit platform. As yet nothing formal has been stated by Apple.

"Apple is going to be holding an exclusive event in New York city later this month to possibly launch a new program for their iBooks and Publishing platform. Sources close to the matter have told us that they intend on launching a new digital self-publishing platform to get peoples content into the iBookstore. This is a huge step forward for Apple to compete with Amazon (DTP) and Barnes and Noble (Pubit).
One of the only ways to get listed into the Apple iBookstore if you are an independent author is to go through a 3rd party such as Smashwords. They assign you a free ISBN for choosing them and they will submit your books to iBooks and tons of others."

'via Blog this'

AllThingsD this morning pointed out the significance of Apple's Senior Vice-President of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue, will play a key role at the event, suggesting the launch will be service and media driven and not the launch of a product. Up until now, authors could only use third-party services like Lulu and Smashwords to get access to the iBook store. If the speculation is accurate, then it will be a significant move by Apple to take on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
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Monday, 2 January 2012


Guest Post: Is Self Publishing A Real Option? By Mike Welham


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My first book was published by a mainstream publisher in 1989 and titled Combat Frogmen. It was non fiction and unique in that nobody had written about the subject since the Second World War. It sold well and was even translated into a German edition. At that point the reality of being a published author was made known to me at a meeting with the editor of the book. He said that it was very lucky for a new author to get published. He showed me a growing pile of unopened manuscripts which would never be read by that publisher, but in time, returned to the author with a ‘not this time or not for us’ style of letter. I had fortunately sent a letter separate to the manuscript and the right person read it and the rest as they say is history.

Path to Self-Publishing

In 1993 I ventured into self-publishing following a disastrous holiday with a well known top-end tour operator. I found little to no help with our cause and was left with only one option; putting the case through the courts. The outcome was successful and the claim was settled out of court. At the time there was very limited help available, so my wife and I wrote a book to provide advice to others. Successful Holidays: And What to Do If They’re Not was in the making. The problem came when we could not find a publisher as it was claimed that it could be seen to put the travel industry in a bad light.

Determined to continue we looked at the options. There were at the time publishing companies called vanity publishers. They wanted large sums of money to produce a book, which when printed, copies were delivered direct to the author who then had to market, sell and distribute the books. Following some research we found that we could do what the vanity publishers offered, at a fraction of the cost. We set about typing the manuscript, found an editor to work on the content and an artist to design a cover. Obtaining an ISBN and complying with publishing requirements was not a problem. A printer set out the contents and printed the books. We had a good professional product but then faced the hardest part of publishing, getting the books into the marketplace. At this time there was no worldwide web or social networking sites. The media facilitated mass advertising from travel companies and they did not want to promote a book that helped people to deal with travel problems. The book was sold wherever we could find a customer and that really was the hard bit.

When I was commissioned by a mainstream publisher to write a book entitled Exploring the Deep it required me to write the contents and obtain more than 200 specialist photographs within a time frame of nine months. After a mammoth effort on my part the book had a flurry of sales and then just moved down the list of published books. The company had moved on to new titles.

We were flogging through the conventional publishing houses with our new titles but became frustrated with publishers' attitudes. One publisher confirmed that the focus was on ‘celebrities’ and those well known at the top of the pyramid. Their demands for high advances meant that the amount of money available to everybody else was dramatically reduced or in many cases not available. So we sought to self-publish using a company that was not a vanity publisher but a professional house that could undertake the whole process. I cannot stress enough how important it is to select a good company providing self-publishing services as it is your money that is being invested.

So how do you find one?

My first action was to search the web which produced copious amounts of information relating to self-publishing companies. I also consulted the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook for information on self-publishing, but, beware, they will advise that if your book is good enough it will be published by a mainstream publisher. Now, that requires an agent. I have had an agent but found that they focused on mass market selling authors, of which there are not many when compared to the vast volume of books available and ‘celebrities’ who dominate the bookshelves. It could take at least two years to get an agent to accept you. Then you wait until a publishing house decides whether you have a book worthy of their name. However, you could be lucky, right place - right time!

Equipped with information about self-publishing, I reviewed those companies that could do the best job for me. I required a professionally published quality book where consultation would allow an input into what the finished product would look like. In fact, I was lucky, because my son provided the cover photograph/designs for my latest self-published books The Crabb Enigma and Crime Pays. There had to be access to editors if deemed appropriate. Equally important was what each step of the process was going to cost. Many of the companies I evaluated said they could produce the book for a minimal fee but I then found that there were hidden extras.

I also needed the publisher to have an in-house marketing and PR option, utilising the web and social networking and not just a link to another unknown company, which made it difficult to assess their credibility. The books had to be available to the distributors and be an integral part of the industry. So from the vast amount of information, I found a company that ticked all of the boxes. However, even with the odds in my favour, the one thing they cannot do is make a customer buy a book. So in terms of your investment, ask yourself why anybody would want to buy your book; know what it is going to cost you; understand that you may not get all of your cash back; and then decide to publish and be damned. Through self-publishing you will be the master of the destiny of your book.


Mike Welham was a magistrate for sixteen years and a chairman of the Bench for most of that time. He sat on a wide and diverse range of cases in the adult courts.

When not in court he was an enforcement officer managing a team of government inspectors. During this time he gained experience in both investigations and court activities. He also worked with the police on investigations and prosecutions for manslaughter. Using this experience, he wrote a professional book, Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide – A Managers Guide to Legal Compliance. He has for 6 years acted as an expert witness to the courts.

This combination has placed him on both sides of the adversarial arena and in the middle making judicial decisions. Although he no longer sits on the Bench, he is on the supplemental list retaining the JP title.

Mike served in the military and also worked in the dangerous world of oil and gas diving, both in the UK and various parts of the world. His interests outside of court and work activities include researching, with his wife, the life of Commander ‘Buster’ Crabb, a frogman who ‘disappeared’ in mysterious circumstances. They have produced two books on the subject: Frogman Spy and the recently published, The Crabb Enigma. He has a keen interest in elephant conservation.

Mike chose Matador, a self-publishing service of Troubador Publishing UK for The Crabb Enigma (with Jacqui Welham), and now, Crime Pays - Reflections from the front line of criminal justice, available from 3rd January, 2012.  We are very pleased with their professional services and it frees us to spend time on research and writing. 




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