“I get so much variety in my day, what’s not to love.”
Why did you become a book publisher? Previously, I worked for another independent publisher. I enjoyed working with authors and bookstores. When there was talk of the owners retiring, they told 2 authors they were not going to honor their contracts. So I decided to publish them myself. I first tried to buy the unprofitable publishing business but it was 2008 just as the banking debacle happened and the banks were not lending money to new small start up businesses. So I rewrote my plan, starting from scratch with my own company. Using personal funds and credit. I also devised a way to sell a certain amount of books to the authors at a deep discount (this sale covered about a third of my expenses.) I then helped them with their marketing plans to sell at numerous signing events so they earned back their investment and an additional approximate 60 percent profit. This also allowed them to create press opportunities and build a fan base, increasing sales with our national distributor to all other outlets.
What do you like best about publishing? I still enjoy working with authors, and overseeing the creative process with the graphic designer. I enjoy the social marketing of our books and I get so much variety in my day, what's not to love. I no longer use a distributor but deal directly with the wholesalers. This gives me a better handle on how the books are selling.
What do you publish? Mostly fiction and some memoir set in the Southeast U.S.
What is the most effective form of marketing for your press? I'm on a tight budget so I do as much social marketing as I can. I support the authors in encouraging signing events where we can submit press releases, and encourage them to use social media too. On the rare occasion where we receive an industry or media review we market that too. I would like to try other avenues through IBPA in the coming year.
How do you define a successful title? A successful title is well-written, well-designed and well-promoted to it's target audience.
Tell us about one of your titles about which you are especially proud. Gosh, that's a hard one. I have quite a few. The first 5 books in the Smoky Mountain novels have become very popular and are sweet inspirational romances. They are my best-selling novels thanks to the hard work and promotion of the author, Lin Stepp. "Wadmalaw: A Ghost Story", set in the out island of South Carolina won a 2013 Communication of Arts Award for Excellence for it's cover design. "Autumn Bends the Rebel Tree" won the North Carolina Society of Historians Award for Fiction in 2012. My own two travel mysteries, "Hera's Revenge" and "Celtic Curse" are among my best-sellers and have each won a High Country Writer's Book of the Year Award in the mystery category.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving success? I started in one of the worst economies I can remember, so I would have to say finances. In July 2015 we'll be six years old. This is the first year that I feel, I might actually become profitable.
What advice do you have for newcomers to book publishing? Be ready and willing to change with the times. Stay up on all the latest technologies. And if you love publishing, hang in there, you will be rewarded with the satisfaction and pride that you are publishing quality books for those who love to read.
How will you and your company be positioned in five years? My plan would be to have more help and produce more books each year.
When you're not fully immersed in publishing, what do you do for fun? Enjoy family, write mysteries, practice yoga, read, Facebook and putter around my home.
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