Sunday, June 24, 2018

A Day in the Life of a Small Publisher

 People have asked what a small publisher does all day. Of course, like a microbrewer of beer, that’s going to vary a lot from shop to shop. But I can fill in some of the blanks for myself.

First, as I said before I am a writer first. This week I found a plot flaw in my work in progress that required me to delete a couple chapters (Owww!!) to rewrite. So, I’m still only at 53,737 words.

But I break from my own writing because I need to post on the Intrigue Publishing Facebook page. I don’t like to go a day without posting about an upcoming event for one of our authors, or a new review for one of our books.

I also try to post on the Creatures, Crimes and Creativity Facebook page daily. I talk about the reasons to attend, our about one of the attending authors. And I have my author newsletter to write and put together.

Denise Camacho is the first reader of submissions but if she thinks a book might be for us then I have to read the manuscript to evaluate it’s potential. How strong is the story? How solid are the characters? How good is the prose? This could be my most important duty to Intrigue Publishing.

If we have a book close enough to release that the Advance Reader Copies are ready, then my duties include researching bookstores within driving distance of the author’s home. I compile a list for a staff member to call and request a book signing event. Most of the time the response is a request for more information. I then prepare an email to the store manager more specifically pitching the event (with a sell sheet, the ISBN, cover, author bio and more.)

To strengthen our brand, I’m also developing an Intrigue Publishing newsletter, to keep our super fans informed and offer them a chance to win cool prizes every month. I write a review for the International Thriller Writers, Inc. every month. And I post Intrigue news on a variety of Facebook groups.

I also monitor sales, update the company book keeping, check for new reviews on Amazon that I can share on social media, and post on my own Facebook author page.

I post 10 or so tweets every day, about our books, and our authors’ events. If there are hand sales or returns from the distributor I update our inventory of books.

And, oh yes. I take some time once a week to write this blog! I hope it’s informative for you. But really, what else would you like to know? Ask away, because I’m happy to answer any questions about what small publishers do to help their authors.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Author First

As the title of this blog attests, I often describe myself as a writing publisher. It’s an easy phrase, kind of rolls of the tongue. But only now, three weeks after leaving my full time federal position and picking up the label “retiree” do I realize the false implication of that phrase.

“Writing publisher” sounds like someone who is a publisher who also writes. The problem here is that in my own head, I am a writer who also helps run a publishing company. The challenge for me is that things I do as a publisher are responsibilities. Other authors are counting on me to do those things that help their books be the best they can be, and then help their books get found by readers. The only drive to write is an internal pressure. It is far too easy to write “when there’s time” after everything else is done.

But this all started back in 1999 when a tiny company called Nitelinks published Blood and Bone not only in paper but this new idea – an electronic book. When they folded I published that book and Collateral Damage with Infinity Publishing using another new idea – Print On Demand. Yes, it was self-publishing, but it allowed me to prove that someone would pay to read my books. (Their classy URL was

Today with six novels in the Hannibal Jones series and five Stark & O’Brien thrillers there are people out there who actually ask for and anticipate the next novel. Beyond those series I wrote a well-received thriller called Beyond Blue which deserves a sequel. And I have ideas for three other novels that could be stand-alones or series depending on how they feel after I write them.

Which means I have to write them. I find publishing very rewarding but, to be honest, I write for the same reason I breathe. Because if I didn’t I would die (I’d love to take credit, but Isaac Asimov said it first,)

So, no matter what, I will carve an hour out of every day to write. Yes, I’m home now all day so I have lots of time: to work out, clean the house, check what’s on TV, wash the car, mow the lawn, feed the birds, and do actual writer stuff like my social media and writing this blog. BUT…

I’m digging in. And for those of you who are counting, I’m 52,107 words into the next untitled Hannibal Jones mystery.  Based on my typical length that’s about 65% of a novel. I’ll be fishing for beta-readers soon and looking for help with the title.

So, when you see me posting here about publishing, marketing and conferences, don’t lose sight of the fact that first and foremost I’m a writer. Because I never do.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Why Am I Here... Again?

Welcome back, strangers!

Yes, I know. I haven’t posted a blog in so long you may have forgotten I ever did. Seriously, it’s been like a year and a half. But now that I’ve retired from the day job I’m back. This will continue to be where I give you all a peek into the life of a writing publisher and wearing those two hats will more than fill my days.

So, as an author, and more, as a publisher, why do I think blogging is worth doing? Well…  it’s business.

It’s very different than when blogging started before the turn of the century. Blogs used to be a platform to share your thoughts, feelings, opinions or experiences – an online journal or diary, usually with a small following of friends. Now it’s there are millions of blogs. Because it’s easy to start one anybody can declare themselves an expert or become an entertainer. For me and a lot of other writers, it’s an important way to contact readers and others in the writing industry.

Used correctly, a blog can increase traffic to your website. As a publisher, it’s also a way to reinforce my brand. Google’s algorithms focus on a website’s content and frequency of posts. Through my blog I can increase the number of inbound links that get people to our web site, and our popular Facebook page.

As a representative of Intrigue Publishing I need to establish myself as a publishing expert. The content I post on my blog will hopefully give readers the confidence to trust in our brand and trust my expertise. 

So, blogging has moved from an individual hobby to an influential business tool. It helps a small publisher to compete with the big guys. Likewise, it helps new authors to build an audience and complete with the big names.

More personally, I have a lot of hard earned experience in this business. knowledge comes from experience, and experience comes from making dumb mistakes. YOU don't need to make all the same stupid moves I made in the past. So I’ll share what life is like for a writer trying to produce more and better prose, and for a publisher trying to get more and better novels into print, and a lot about what I've learned along the way.

I’ll be back next week to discuss my goals as an author. Then I’ll share my objectives as a small publisher. What it’s like doing business with a spouse. Then, I’ll get back into useful tips for writing short stories, writing novels, and marketing!

Stay tuned and let me know what YOU’D like me to talk about.