“Ask questions and get advice from many different sources…Do as much research as you can on every aspect of what you plan to do.”
Why did you become a book publisher? Our graphic novel, USNA:The United States of North America began life as a screenplay. It's the story of a time in the future when Canada and the US have amalgamated into a new country, USNA. However poor economic conditions, ongoing wars and broken promises have lead to a rebellion. This is the story of the rebellion lead by an exiled ex-prime minister of Canada. Canadian and Hollywood producers rejected the idea of purchasing the script and so we decided to convert it to a graphic novel. We pitched the book to the leading graphic novel publishers and, after their rejections, decided to self publish. USNA has achieved the level of success we anticipated and our readers have asked for a sequel. USNA 2 will be published in the spring of 2015.
What do you like best about publishing? We enjoy knowing the details of the industry, how books are sold and marketed. We are writers and artists and becoming publishers has been a rather complicated and surprising undertaking. As we did not have a publishing company to represent us, we have had to continually challenge ourselves to find and celebrate success and weather the disappointments, of which there have been many. It ultimately becomes a test of your own perseverance, stamina and drive to succeed.
What do you publish? A graphic novel entitled, USNA: The United States of North America
What is the most effective form of marketing for your press? As a graphic novel, essentially a novel length comic book, you can buy space in Comic Expos and Fan Expos where anywhere between 25,000 and 120,000 people will have a chance to learn about your book. We have found that traditional media (television, radio and newspapers) is the most effective form of reaching people but you have to pay for a publicist to maximize the potential. For example, we were interviewed on every radio station on the CBC (Canada's public radio network) across Canada during the lunch hour last July. This was made possible by the connections of our publicist out of Toronto.
How do you define a successful title? USNA has received many wonderful and enthusiastic comments from our readers. It is their energy that has propelled us to continue the story and publish the sequel this coming spring (2015). USNA is being used as a resource text by an English class at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta Canada. To us, the book is a success because it is finding an audience through channels outside of our specific efforts.
Tell us about one of your titles about which you are especially proud. USNA is our only title at the moment. We will have the sequel in the spring of 2015 and we will be publishing a new title, 'Caretakers' this spring 2015 as well. We are very proud of USNA as it has sold well, been reviewed enthusiastically and found its way into the culture.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving success? Finding the resources, both personally and financially, to push this book to the next level. Being a publisher of just one book places you in the category of the writers with a dream and a garage full of books. Retailers we have approached always asked us about what other books we were publishing. Fortunately we have sold over 1,700 books and we will have three books on our roster within five months. As we have just signed on with Small Press United Distributors, we feel that this will help us reach a much wider audience.
What advice do you have for newcomers to book publishing? Ask questions and get advice from many different sources. Remember that a company will provide advice because they want your business so be careful of being sold a service as opposed to getting advice on what to do. Do as much research as you can on every aspect of what you plan to do. You are the prime cheerleader of your work so do not be afraid to get out there and talk to people. People really do like meeting the author. As an author, when I have done a book signing, I rarely sat down. I tried to talk to people, get their attention. You cannot just sit behind a table and hope that the public will approach you.
How will you and your company be positioned in five years? USNA Publishing Inc. and our sister company, West Ghost Publishing Inc. will be publishers of graphic novels that have been produced for either television or feature films. Sales of the books will skyrocket as a result of cross media success.
When you're not fully immersed in publishing, what do you do for fun? We are building a rocket ship and hope to visit the moon sometime in the near future. It will be a team building exercise. In the meantime, each member of the creative team has active careers in the creative arts and sciences outside of publishing.
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