Writers going it alone together — a look at three publishing houses finding a third way in publishing
I was intrigued by a recent article in The Guardian about the launch of Notting Hill Press, a new co-operative set up by a small group of authors who have already been published by mainstream publishers. They want to move away from the traditional without going down the self-publishing route and reckon they have found a third way.
Although they have a professional team of content editors, copy editors and cover illustrators, the author is in the driving seat, keeping control of every stage. They are not accepting submissions from authors or their agents and it sounds as though they intend to stay small. Their website and the books on sale look like those from a mainstream publishing house which I’m sure is exactly what they want. They seem to specialise in lite-literature – for want of a better phrase – with titles like Happy Birthday, Mr Darcy and The Good Bride Guide.
Triskele Writers Collective sounds very similar. It was born in 2011 with three authors and is now up to six. And their aim is summed up in a neat slogan: going alone together. They also offer a range of editorial services to emerging writers.
A typical book from Triskele (typical in the look – not sure about the content) has a cover that focuses on rippling water, golden sunsets and misty landscapes. Unimaginative stock photos gives a self-published feel and, from appearances alone, Triskele books may lack the savvy professionalism of the Notting Hill publications. The most recent releases include Complicit, a novel about a 21st century secret sect of Anglesey Druids being murdered one by one, and Tread Softly, about the mystery uncovered when a London policewoman holidays in Spain.
The third authors co-op I’ve come across is Book View Cafe, based in America which produces books across all genres, from science fiction to romance to historical to mainstream. They offer both reprints and new titles, but right now only in ebook form, although it seems that they have plans to expand into print. One big attraction is that 95% of the cover price goes to the author – more than at any other online bookseller, but I don’t imagine that their sales figures can compete with the likes of Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
They only publish books written by co-op members. Membership is limited to authors who have been published by traditional, advance-and-royalty paying print publishers and candidates must be approved by a majority of the current membership.
I don’t know if this is the way forward, but it certainly an interesting development. The publishing landscape is changing and it would be nice to think that author co-ops could be part of the future.
What do you think? Have you heard of any other publishing co-ops?
I’ve just discovered how to make ‘tweetables’ – ways to make it easier for readers to tweet about this post. This is a bit of an experiment to see if it works or is worth doing…or is downright irritating.
* Are writer run co-ops the future of publishing? Find three here. TWEET
* Can writers do it for themselves without going down the self publishing route?TWEET
* Co-Ops aren’t all about baked beans. Find three run by published authors.TWEET