A Lover of Books

Archive for the category “Publishers”

PM Press Submission Call ~ @PMPress1 @damppebbles

I have something really interesting today for all those writers out there courtesy of Emma Welton of Damppebbles Blog Tours.

 

About PM Press

We are a Kindle-First imprint of Holland House Books that specialises in crime, thriller and dystopian fiction. Phaidra Robinson and Mia Skevington set up PM Press in April 2020 in order to pursue their respective loves of true crime and detective fiction. Our background of Literary Fiction at Holland House Books means that we bring an expectation of and experience in producing high quality books to these genres. An inaugural imprint, this is the time for authors to submit their work for the chance to be one of our founding book releases.

 

Call for Submissions

We are looking for most types of crime and thriller fiction, from the classic English whodunit through to police procedurals, or classic noir through to mind-bending psychological thrillers. Maybe you want to introduce us to a dystopian future. We want well-written, satisfying work – a good twist and convincing characters are the ways to our hearts. It may be cosy and comfortable or dark and disturbing… or something completely different.

If you have a completed novel or novella which you believe may fit, then send us:

1) The first fifty pages of your work.
2) A synopsis of your work (maximum two pages).
3) A covering letter with a brief overview – we do NOT need you to do a brilliant ‘pitch’ or the kind of blurb which would go on the back of the book. The basic story, main character(s) and the general themes is all we need.

These documents should be Word Documents, size 12 in a standard font, with a line spacing of 1.5.

Please email us at pmpress@hhousebooks.com and address them to the Editor Phaidra Robinson.

 

Links

Email: pmpress@hhousebooks.com

Website: https://pmpress9.wixsite.com/pmpress

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PMPressHHB

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pmpresshollandhouse/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PMPress1

 

Guest Post by Betsy Reavley of Bloodhound Books

Over the next few weeks I plan to publish a number of guest posts from both authors and publishers.  Today I have the amazing Betsy Reavley, an author and co-founder of Bloodhound Books on my blog with a very interesting post.  I really hope you enjoy reading it.  Don’t forget to check out the great books being published by Bloodhound Books.

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When Sonya asked if she could feature the company I co-founded on her blog I jumped at the chance.

It’s nearly three years since Bloodhound Books was born and what a whirlwind it has been.

My husband and I formed the company because we saw a gap in the market for a digital publisher that focused on crime and thriller fiction. I am an author and my husband was in marketing so we decided together we had the skills to go into this business.

This has been a learning process for us both since neither of us comes from a publishing background but our determination and willingness to learn from our mistakes has catapulted us into the limelight. We were recently included in a list of three of the most dynamic digital publishers in the UK.

We work very closely with each of our authors, all the way through the editorial process right up to the cover design. Even as we’ve grown, and now work with more than 50 authors, that vision remains at the forefront.

We are growing very rapidly and sales are the best they’ve ever been. We sold our millionth eBook at the start of 2017, and the next million is already in sight. Currently we sell over 2000 books a day and, to date, we have had over 20 top 100 bestsellers worldwide. This is something we are extremely proud of. The company has allowed us, and some of the authors we work with, to make a living out of this industry. When you know you have helped people achieve their dreams it really is a wonderful feeling.

We take a chance on authors who may have struggled to find traditional representation but whose talent and voice deserve to be heard, and help them reach a mass-market audience. It’s a special feeling when one of our authors tells us that, because of their success, they can give up the day job and focus just on their writing.

We take pride in helping launch the careers of some of our authors and hope they go on to become global superstars, whether that be with us or another publisher. This is a competitive business and as an author I understand you have to grab every opportunity you can.

I think and hope we have a very healthy attitude towards the business. We appreciate that we are not Penguin or Harper Collins and therefore do not try to compete with them. This is why we focus our efforts on eBook sales, where we can and do contend.

One of the most controversial subjects that surround eBooks is their price. 99p does not seem like very much money for an author who has spent months or even years polishing a manuscript. However, reading habits are changing. There are readers who consume numerous books a week. Not everyone can afford to spend upwards of £30 a week on their reading habit.

The company has been so successful that recently a bestselling author approached us and wants to work with us to launch an imprint for women’s fiction. This is an extremely exciting development and we look forward to whatever the future holds. Watch this space.

I have to say, for me, one of the best parts of my job is the people I work with. Not only do I get to work side by side with my husband and the talented authors but also the team at Bloodhound. Without Alexina Golding, Sarah Hardy and Sumaira Wilson, plus the excellent editors we work along side, we would not be in the great position we are in now. Fred and I are very proud of the reputation the company has built and look forward to discovering more talent and helping writers live the dream.

Many thanks for inviting me to share my thoughts and the journey my company is taking with you.

 

Visit Bloodhound Books at www.bloodhoundbooks.com

 

Guest Post by Matthew Smith

Matthew Smith

To start off the Urbane Publications blog event here is a guest post from Matthew Smith himself.

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Without you, we are nothing

Despite my cherubic looks and air of sweet innocence, I’ve actually been in the publishing game for quite a number of years. In that time, I’ve heard, discussed, laughed at, shaken my head in weary disbelief, and yes, been guilty of devising and implementing, some pretty ridiculous publishing strategies. All of which, on paper at least, looked very corporate, businessy and go getting, devised to improve the ‘bottom line’ and ‘drive growth’ – and all, without exception, failing to take into account that people were involved in every stage of the publishing process.

As you know I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet about collaboration, particularly where authors are concerned, because I firmly believe, rightly or wrongly, that Urbane will survive and thrive because we understand that authors and their work matter and that they must be an integral part of the publishing experience. This isn’t just about finding the right ‘product’, but the right person to work with – and who wants to work with Urbane – because it gives each and every book the best possible chance of success. The advantages are obvious – shared goals, shared effort, shared energy, shared knowledge, and a partnership that can tackle challenges positively, rather than fostering ‘them and us’ attitudes.

So far, touch wood, stroke my rabbit’s foot and thank a few lucky stars, this is a strategy/philosophy/approach that seems to be working. We’ll obviously have to ask a few authors what they think, but it’s allowed Urbane to publish some bloody good books. But of course publishing success, and more importantly author success, relies on another collaboration, one that’s utterly vital. The collaboration with the reader.

Yep, I’m talking about you, the lovely person reading this. We, and I’m using the royal we that incorporates both publisher and author, would be completely lost without you. Now there’s a genuine initial obstacle to any hope of publisher-author-reader collaboration, and that’s the challenge of the reader finding us in the first place. With over 12.5 million books on Amazon, fewer bookstores, and those bookstores being very risk-averse to boot, it is harder and harder for readers to find new authors and authors to find new readers. But you know what, it’s an obstacle readers themselves have the power to break down very, very easily. How? By sharing. It doesn’t matter if you read 3 books a year (all on holiday on your kindle) or you’re voraciously consuming three literary masterpieces a week, your opinion counts. Your thoughts on a book, and its worth, are far more vital than you realise. You have power people. I could spend thousands running a poster campaign but good word of mouth from those who have actually read a book is the only truly effective marketing. A review has impact, it affects visibility, profile, discoverability – not to put too fine a point on it, YOU can make or break a book.

So let me finish this small piece with an appeal. If you love books, even if you just love one book, please, please, please make your opinion count. Let fellow readers know about the books that matter, that entertain, that bring joy, and happiness and provoke thought and feeling. You are the most important collaborator of all and WE need YOU.

 

Visit Urbane Publications at http://urbanepublications.com/

 

Introduction from Matthew Smith

Urbane Logo

When you spend every waking (and many sleeping) hour devoted to developing and publishing books, you realise very quickly how much the support and enthusiasm of others is essential to your potential success. Key amongst these are those who take their love of books beyond the page and give their time and energy to help publishers and authors grow and thrive. I cannot begin to tell you how grateful I am that people such as Sonya, and all her fellow bloggers and reviewers, exist. Our publishing world would be a much poorer place without them. I feel very humbled by the coverage Urbane will receive this week and I hope you will not only enjoy the wonderful reviews, interviews and articles but continue to follow Sonya as she brings you lots of fabulous books, authors and publishers in the future.

Matthew Smith, Managing Director, Urbane Publications

 

Guest Post by Karen Sullivan

orenda letterhead red

Last year Karen Sullivan decided to start her own publishing company, a very brave thing to do.  You can read the guest post which Karen wrote for my blog at the beginning of her new venture:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/orenda-books/

This lady is truly amazing and in the past year has come such a long way.  I thought it would be nice if Karen could write another post about what she has achieved and what is in store for the next year.  Prepare to be amazed.

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Orenda Books … one year on

Karen Sullivan, Publisher

Just about a year ago, I wrote my first blog post for Sonya Alford, explaining the reasons why I’d decided to start my own independent publishing company, and outlining my expectations (dreams, really) for the future. It has been an exceptional year, full of drama and excitement, and every one of my authors has provided magical moments and experienced wonderful successes!

From Paul Hardisty appearing on the shortlist for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger, and amassing over 150 five-star reviews online for The Abrupt Physics of Dying to Louise Beech bringing readers to tears and already appearing on countless ‘Books of the Year’ lists, just a couple of months after publication, my wonderful debut authors have created waves in a market that is flooded with books and great writing.

Another marvellous debut, David F. Ross achieved critical heaven with The Last Days of Disco, being hailed as the finest new Scottish voice, and compared to Irvine Welsh and John Niven (his heroes, and mine). And then there was the phenomenon that is Snowblind. Ragnar Jonasson’s debut crime thriller, set in the northernmost town of Iceland and lovingly translated by Quentin Bates, has been an international bestseller, prompting three reprints and an ongoing and welcome stream of excellent reviews! With the sequel, Nightblind, just out, it looks like the Dark Iceland series will continue to top the charts and wow readers with its wonderful amalgamation of the classic British mystery and some stunning Iceland noir!

It has been an honour to publish Gunnar Staalesen’s We Shall Inherit the Wind, translated by the inimitable Don Bartlett, and to see the wealth of serious and glowing review coverage it has received. Staalesen’s fame outside of the English language looks set to be repeated here, and at the beginning of at least three Varg Veum thrillers published by Orenda, and with a TV series in the making, this is astoundingly good news!

The incredible Kati Hiekkapelto has established herself as one of the foremost proponents of Nordic Noir, and The Defenceless, translated by David Hackston not only won Best Finnish Crime Novel of 2014, but it’s up for the Glass Key (previous winners include Henning Mankell, Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo, among others) next year, with the third of the Anna Fekete series to follow in Autumn 2016.

Each of these authors has books to look forward to next year. Claymore Straker returns in The Evolution of Fear, which finds Hardisty at his most thrilling best. The Rise and Fall of the Miraculous Vespas carries on David Ross’s heartwarming, hilarious Disco Days series, and Where Roses Never Die is, by all accounts, Staalesen’s finest EVER book. We’ve got more Ragnar Jonasson and Kati Hiekkapelto, and Louise Beech’s beautiful The Mountain in My Shoe will undoubtedly secure her place in the bestseller lists.

And there is more! Amanda Jennings’ exquisite In Her Wake has been tipped as Book of the Year already (!), and we’ve got two wonderful Detective Kubu thrillers by the South African crime-writing duo Michael Stanley: Deadly Harvest and A Death in the Family, both of which have received critical acclaim in the USA and South Africa. Ex-Met Police officer Matt Johnson brings us the nail-biting Wicked Game, and debut novelist Michael Grothaus’s Epiphany Jones will raise eyebrows, shock, entertain and move in one of the most staggering books I’ve read in some time. An important book, a timely, intelligent thriller, Jihadi: A Love Story is published in February, and Yusuf Toropov’s debut has already been called ‘Searing’ by Publishers Weekly. Watch that space! We’ve got Norwegian bestselling author Agnes Ravatn with her melancholic, dizzyingly wonderful The Bird Tribunal, translated by Rosie Hedger, and Michael J. Malone’s timely and page-turning thriller A Suitable Lie. It’s lucky 13 for Orenda next year, with even more great authors lined up for 2017, including Norwegian supremo Thomas Enger, a beautiful retelling of the Selkie legend by Su Bristow and a few more stunners that have yet to be announced.

So what has this year been like? It’s been full of joy! We are building authors at Orenda, and every little success en route has been the most satisfying and rewarding experience ever! Seeing the pure pleasure on an author’s face when he/she holds a first or a new book in their hands is just magical. Talk about mystical energy …

It’s also been nailbiting! I’ve had to learn how to promote books with zero experience, present to sales teams around the world, pitch to festival directors and the press, run a busy website, juggle cash flow, work closely with authors to make sure their books are absolutely perfect, and arrange author tours and events!

There is at present only one member of staff at Orenda, but none of this could have been possible without the help of West Camel – my second reader and editorial support team in one! – Liz Wilkins, who has worked tirelessly to create some of the most amazing blog tours ever, my husband Max, who is usually to be found buried under a pile of invoices and contracts, Mark Swan and James Nunn, who have created simply brilliant jackets, and the most exceptional group of supportive bloggers and reviewers in the entire world! We’ve also had so much help and support from non-Orenda authors, without which most of this would have been impossible. Most importantly, though, I have to thank my absolutely amazing authors. Not once has anyone ever complained about working round the clock to meet crazy deadlines, or write another guest blog, answer a Q&A, attend another event or festival, or make yet another series of changes to their books. This year of highlights has been constructed by pure enthusiasm and determination on the part of everyone associated with Orenda Books, and we take off our hats to you all!

Many, many people warned me that starting an independent publishing company would be a mistake, and a risk not worth taking. While we are only at the initial stages of what I hope will be a long and successful journey, and despite the fact that there are many hurdles ahead, with more to emerge, I wouldn’t change my decision for anything. It’s been magic! Indescribably elating. Blooming exhausting. But, more than anything, one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. To remind you, the word Orenda can be loosely translated as ‘The mystical power that drives human accomplishment’. There’s just got to be something in that …

Guest Post by Sharon McKee of Dilliebooks

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I would like to introduce you all to Sharon McKee.

Publisher - Sharon

Sharon has written a guest post for my blog about Dilliebooks, a brand new independent publisher of eBooks.

 

Dilliebooks – doing things differently

My earliest memories include being told off at meal times for reading every word on any label or packaging on the table (amazing how fascinating cereal boxes can be!) and begging my infant school teacher to let me take my exercise book home so I could carry on writing stories over the weekend.

My love of reading and writing led me to a career in journalism, publishing and then in later years I moved into PR, eventually setting up my own business. Although I love fiction and have done creative writing courses, my own published writing has mainly been non-fiction articles for magazines, newspapers and websites.

In 2012 I did something I didn’t think I’d ever do and trekked to Machu Picchu in Peru to help raise money for Breast Cancer Care. Following that, I did something else I didn’t think I’d ever do and wrote a book about it!

I started to consider options for publishing it. I’m an avid ebook reader and lover of technology, but wasn’t sure about self-publishing, so I decided to look for an independent publisher who only published ebooks.

After a lot of research I couldn’t find the kind of publisher I was looking for. I wanted an independent publisher which had the best of the traditional model (request submissions, have quality criteria and the possibility of rejection, but work with their selected authors including giving editorial, production and marketing support – and pay them a fair royalty) and combine that with the opportunities that digital brings (creativity, efficiency, speed, easy global reach, new ways of marketing, engaging with readers, online opportunities).

It was also clear that ebooks were still suffering from perceptions of being second rate to print. I felt that somehow the opportunities technology offers to do things differently didn’t seem to be being explored to their full advantage.

Taking all this on board and after even more researching and in depth discussions with an ex colleague from the publishing world, we agreed that there was a gap here. So we decided to fill it.

We launched Dilliebooks in August, an independent ebook publisher looking to do things differently. We aim to blend the best from the traditional world of publishing with that from the most modern. Our ethos is one of collaboration with both writers and readers. We work with our authors giving them all the support needed and expected from a publisher – including editorial, book production and marketing expertise. We’ve developed the Writing Desk, our authors’ portal which we use both for working on books together and also for the writers to have control over their own promotional pages.

We’ve launched with a variety of non-fiction ebooks and welcome submissions directly from previously unpublished writers, those who have self-published, or been published before by traditional companies. We also don’t want to be too constrained by putting labels or genres on books – we’re interested in anything that makes us laugh, cry (in a good way!), learn, think differently, raise our eyebrows – or make us go ‘wow’!

Following our launch, which included a live Google Hangout with the authors all in different parts of the country, we’re focusing on building our presence, increasing our list of great ebooks and developing our platform to engage more with readers.

This is just the beginning for us and we’re very excited about the opportunities we have to do things differently with digital. Watch this space…!

To find out more go to www.dilliebooks.com or contact Sharon@dilliebooks.com

 

 

Ringwood Publishing

Ringwood Publishing

I am very interested in learning about various publishers and what they do.  Ringwood Publishing kindly took the time to write a guest post for me.

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First of all, we would like to thank Sonya for giving us the opportunity to write a piece for her blog.

Ringwood Publishing was founded by a group of Scottish friends who appreciated the difficulty of getting published in Scotland when you don’t have an agent or are not already known to the public. Creating Ringwood was an alternative to self-publishing for Managing Director and author Sandy Jamieson. His first published book, “Own Goal”, became a best-seller which allowed the company to go forward.

Ringwood quickly opened itself to other authors and has now for central mission to nurture and support new talented Scottish writers and established writers wishing to change the focus of their work. Its mission is to get their initial work published and then continue to support them and publish their further work, until such time as bigger, better–resourced publishers wish to publish them. All profits are directly re-injected in the company, in order to make future projects possible.

Ringwood is dedicated to publishing work of fiction and non-fiction, with a focus on Scottish key themes: politics, football, religion, money, sex and crime. Our catalogue contains a wide range of books, which include, amongst many fascinating titles: Carol Fox’s “Memoirs of a Feminist Mother”, a powerful and fascinating story about the author’s fight to become a single parent through infertility treatment; Sandy Jamieson’s “A Subtle Sadness”, an exploration of Scottish identity and politics; Stephen O’Donnell “Scotball”, a searing examination of the current state of Scottish football and the various social, political and economic forces that combine to strangle its integrity and potential; Jonathan Whitelaw’s “Morbid Relations”, a darkly comic take on modern Scottish life and family relationships; but also Gordon Johnston’s “Calling Card”, a crime novel which explores the impact of stress and trauma on individuals, encompassing their resort to addiction, recovery, and denial.

For more information, please visit www.ringwoodpublishing.com, where all our books can be ordered. Paperbacks and e-books are also available on Amazon.

Laure Deprez
Managing Director

Guest Post – Karen Sullivan about Orenda Books

Orenda_signature

Karen Sullivan recently left Arcadia Books and took the very big step of starting her own publishing business.  Karen has written a guest post for my blog in which she explains what led her to make this decision and what she has already achieved.

 

That mystical energy …

Karen Sullivan – Publisher and founder of Orenda Books

Sometimes the best decisions are made on the hoof, without really contemplating the logistics or the practicalities. And sometimes things fall into place so perfectly, you know that a decision was right – something that was simply meant to happen.

Eight weeks ago, I got news that Arcadia Books, where I worked as Managing Editor, would be postponing the vast majority of the 2015 publishing programme in a restructuring programme. My job would no longer exist in its original incarnation, and I would no longer be doing what I love – acting as a midwife for wonderful authors, producing fabulous, beautiful books. Within the space of 24 hours, I made a decision to go it on my own – start a little independent publishing company, which would allow me to do what I like doing best, and help to bring some extraordinary books to the marketplace.

I’ve always had a passion for translated literature, so I instantly decided that half of my six titles per year would be in translation. I’d just spent a fabulous few days at Bloody Scotland festival, where my enthusiasm for crime and thrillers hit an all-time high, so that seemed the right genre on which to focus. But I also knew that I’d love the opportunity to publish books outside these genres – fiction that resonated with me, and deserved to be recognised.

Then came the issue of funding, but my extremely supportive ex-FD husband managed to secure enough to support the publishing programme for the first year or so. Domestic and international print and ebook sales and distribution were soon negotiated, and then it was time to get some ‘talent’ on board.

When I was at Arcadia, I’d stumbled across David F. Ross’s self-published The Last Days of Disco – a brilliantly authentic, funny and moving story set in 1980s Ayrshire. Contracts hadn’t been signed, and I was fortunate enough that David was keen to join my new venture. That book has been edited, partially rewritten, polished to perfection, typeset and proofread, and is now ‘queuing’ to go live on ebook on 15 December, with the print version following early in the New Year. The amazing jacket has had Twitter ablaze with comments, and some very special people provided glowing quotes! David is a tremendous writer, and I feel honoured to grab him at the beginning of what is bound to be a long and successful career.

Next up was Ragnar Jonasson, an Icelandic crime writer who I’d met at CrimeFest last May. I watched with surprise as dozens of avid fans lined up to buy his book after a successful panel – a book that didn’t actually exist! This scenario was repeated at Bloody Scotland, and I thought to myself: Someone is missing a trick! Crime author Quentin Bates had produced a sample translation for each of the five books in the Dark Iceland series, and having worked with Quentin before, he was an obvious choice to translate the lot. I marched down to DHH Literary Agency, where I had to persuade David Headley that this talented author would be in safe hands in a brand-new venture. Fortunately, he agreed, a deal was done for two titles – Snowblind and Nightblind – and I had my second, marvellous author on the team! The first title is currently being translated, and we’ll be launching at CrimeFest in May, with books available for Newcastle Noir. Watch this space! The crime community definitely swung into action when the news broke, and this is one series that is bound to soar!

On the same day, a second pitch was made to the lovely Broo Doherty, of the same agency. When I was at Arcadia, my colleague Gary Pulsifer had raved about Paul E. Hardisty’s Yemen-set eco-thriller The Abrupt Physics of Dying. I’d read enough of it to know that it would not only fit perfectly on my list, but give me a chance to ‘grow’ an incredibly talented debut author. The deal was sealed, and to my complete astonishment, its announcement brought interest from literary scouts, agents and film-makers both here, in the US and in Europe. Not just for this title, but my others as well. While I was completely confident about this signing, nothing prepared me for the utter brilliance of this author – who had produced an exquisitely written, fast-paced page-turner with a perfectly rendered setting and a protagonist who was crying out for a series. Was there a sequel? I asked Broo. There was indeed, and I purchased it – The Evolution of Fear – sight unseen. Already ebooked and about to go live on 15 December, with a print publication date in early March, The Abrupt Physics of Dying is receiving loads of early rave reviews, and the Canadian/Australian author will be flying over for publication day.

Next up was one of my all-time favourite Norwegian writers, Gunnar Staalesen, ‘the Norwegian Chandler’. He’s sold millions of books around the world and the time was clearly ripe to place him firmly on the crime-writing map in English. Only four of his 20-something Varg Veum titles have been published in English (at Arcadia), and rumour had it that his latest three, We Shall Inherit the Wind, Where Roses Never Die and No One Is So Safe in Danger, were the best yet. To my delight, Gunnar and his agent Henrik Francke at Gyldendal Agency in Norway were keen to be involved, and a three-book deal for World English rights was negotiated. Just as exciting was the fact that Don Bartlett, who has translated some of the finest Norwegian literature around, including Nesbo, Knausgaard and Pettersen, was keen to be involved, and he’s been signed up to translate all three! We Shall Inherit the Wind will be published officially in June 2015, but launched at CrimeFest alongside Ragnar Jonasson’s gorgeous Nightblind!

One of my favourite books at Arcadia, was Finnish debut author Kati Hiekkapelto’s The Hummingbird, translated by David Hackston. Not only is Kati herself the most extraordinary woman (a performance artist and punk singer, as well as an immensely talented writer), but the sequel, The Defenceless, was also up for grabs and I did not even think twice about purchasing the rights from Otava Agency in Finland. The same translator is available, and he’ll start working on this gritty, gorgeously written novel, which sees the return of police detective Anna Fekete and her partner Esko, on the trail of another murderer in a Northern Finnish town. Published in September, we’ll hopefully launch her at a rather wonderful Scottish crime festival!

Since then, submissions have been flying in and I can hardly keep up with the reading – a wealth of undiscovered talent certainly exists, and the most difficult thing is going to be sticking to a six-title limit!

In May, every one of my authors will be attending CrimeFest (including David F. Ross, who will be my honorary guest), where Orenda Books will be officially launched. It’s unlikely that I’ll get authors from Iceland, Finland, Norway, Scotland and Australia in one place at the same time, so it’s an obvious moment to celebrate a venture that has filled me with more excitement and enthusiasm than I can ever remember. I hope you can all join us!

Ragnar and Kati will also appear at Newcastle Noir earlier in May, and we’ve had a clutch of invites for the Edinburgh Book Festival too, with Bloody Scotland still to come.

Things have come together in such a way that it feels as though it was meant to happen. That’s not too say that it’s all been easy. The admin is threatening to drown me, and there are many, many fiddly, ongoing negotiations to be undertaken, problems to be ironed out. I’ve got some great editors helping out, some interns supporting the marketing and PR plans, some seasoned experts giving lots of advice and helping to fill the (sometimes seemingly vast) holes in my experience and knowledge. But every moment of it has been gratifying and positive. That split-second decision was undoubtedly the right one. And it has all come together in eight short weeks.

As for the name – this was an obvious choice. Not only is Canadian author Joseph Boyden’s The Orenda one of my all-time favourite novels, but the word itself – which loosely translates as ‘the mystical power that drives human accomplishment’ – is a nod to my Canadian heritage and a First Nations word whose provenance is a tribe that settled in a part of Ontario where I’ve spent every summer of my life. It often seems that there is a ‘mystical power’ afoot here, and an almost surreal energy pulling together events in such an extraordinary way. I’m humbled and thrilled by the support we’ve received, and in just over a week, you’ll see what we’re doing and why!

Our website www.orendabooks.co.uk will be launched just before Christmas, with a beautiful short story from every Orenda author. That’s our treat for you, and it comes with a big thank-you to everyone who has helped to get Orenda Books on the right path.

Quercus #GreatestGift Christmas Campaign + Giveaway

Quercus

On Monday 1st December Quercus launched their Christmas campaign, The greatest gift is the passion for reading.

Quercus have invited as many readers, bloggers, Book Tubers and bookshops as they can to share their passion for books during December using the hashtag #GreatestGift.

I feel privileged to be part of this campaign and today I am sharing with everyone why I think books are the #GreatestGift to give.

 

I have a great passion for books and could never imagine a life without them.

I love how you can travel to so many places in the UK and abroad without actually moving from your chair.  You get to meet so many different characters and sometimes end up feeling as if you are a part of their life.  You can gain so much knowledge from books.

Books give so many hours of pleasure.  They are also a good form of escapism from the stresses of everyday life.

This year I am giving my family some books for Christmas.  I believe they truly are the #GreatestGift a person can give.

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As part of this campaign Quercus are giving away some books.  I have been allowed to choose five which one lucky person will win.  Being as I read a mixture of genres I have selected a variety of books.

Peter May Lucy Atkins Tom Pollock

 

 

 

Hilary Boyd Alice Peterson

 

 

 

 

To win these books just tweet me on Twitter @destinylover09 and Quercus @Quercusbooks and answer the following question:-

What book do you want to receive as a present at Christmas?

This competition closes tomorrow at 6 p.m.

 

On Monday http://parmenionbooks.wordpress.com/ will be telling us why they think books make the #GreatestGift.

Percy Publishing – The Story

LogoMilitary secrets, hedonism and the dark London underworld may seem like it is lifted straight out of a movie script, but for the Authors signed to independent publishing house, Percy Publishing it’s all in a days work. Working under the premise of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, Percy Publishing are bringing a flavour of debauchery to the world of books and are fast developing a fan base with a taste for the aberrant. From twisted erotica to a violent military coup d’état, and featuring a character list jam packed full of mercenaries, prostitutes, businessmen and crime syndicates, the books guarantee to have everything that an avid reader of pulp-fiction truly needs.

With the main criteria for new authors being highlighted as action packed, fast paced and sexy manuscripts, it comes as no surprise to Managing Director Clifford Marker that the company is already gathering a lot of attention.

“I travel a lot for the engineering company that I own, and I spent a lot of time in airports looking for books that I wanted to read and finish over short trips away. A lot of these tended to be nice stories about romance aimed at young women going on holidays. I wanted something exciting that I could read from beginning to end and really get my teeth into.” Says Clifford. “Fast paced no nonsense action, that a bloke could read as well. Then I heard an old saying, ‘If you can’t find a book that you want to read, then write it,’ and it became my mantra. I thought to myself, ‘yes, that’s exactly what I will do.’ I went looking for some new unsigned writers that were writing the kind of stories that I like.”

The first book published was the cult read, “Unsceptred Isle: Three of a Kind” by an accidental new author Joseph V. Sultana, who wrote his first novel, purely as a bet with friends. Having already gained a cult fan base, the book is now being adapted for feature film release in 2015. It tells a surreal tale of a post-apocalyptic England, and gives an account of tortured souls, sex and violence that give this book a quintessentially British feel.

Being an ex-soldier Clifford soon found a military connection and had published authors from a similar armed service background. Jamie Fineran, a former Prince of Wales Regiment soldier has been shortlisted for literary awards and featured in National military magazines since the publication of his book series, “Sabre Six – File 51,” which follows Michael Fox, an ex-SAS soldier as he assists the MI5 in an important case, and “Ace of Spades – File 52,” which tells a tale of the Taliban and the lost control of the country’s opium fields.

John Marsh, an ex-Royal Corps Signaller offered a fictitious account of life in the army in his debut novel ‘Hearts of Green,’ gathering both notoriety and five star reviews for its brazen tale of sex and violence from the point of view of a twenty-two year serving soldier. Already the book has received reviews from ex-servicemen throughout the country and has been shortlisted for the People’s Book Prize.

“I didn’t imagine that setting up a publishing company would give me such a blast from the past.” Says Clifford, “But as an ex-soldier myself, I can understand the catharsis of putting things down onto paper. From my own perspective, I understand that the military lifestyle is one of explosive and vivid experiences that make it ideal as a work of fiction. As soon as I picked up the manuscript, I knew that it was exactly my kind of book.”

Following on from the military theme, Simon Chambers offers a true-life account of a ruthless mercenary joining the infamous Blackwater. Having been sent to Iraq, he soon finds that he is putting his own life on the line to get paid, with no questions asked.

“It’s another fast and intense read.” Says Ruth Killeen, Literary Agent for Percy Publishing. “I am also a fan of pulp-fiction and hard hitting stories, and working alongside Clifford, I have developed a clear idea of the type of books that he is looking for. We have expanded our catalogue of books now, and have different styles and genres with some of our new authors. It’s such a great team of people ranging from a celebrity tattooist to an ex-middle man for the London gangster scene. We also have a rock singer, an artist and a builder on our rosta, so you can see that we really are an eclectic bunch.”

Two of the books due for release next year are very much anticipated by the publisher. The first is already being cast for a biopic feature film. The casting have confirmed actors such as X-Factor finalist and Dancing on Ice winner Ray Quinn along with rumours of Ex-Eastenders stars also on the billing. The film will be directed by the notorious Mr. H, and tells the biographical story of an ex-gangster, who spent a long and lucrative career as a middleman in London. The second is a photo and sketchbook from the celebrity tattooist, Kevin Paul. The book is hugely exciting for Kevin who has already tattooed celebrities from TOWIE, as well as naming Harry Styles and Ed Sheeran amongst his friends.

“I had a tough time growing up. But I thought, if I can tattoo celebrities, hopefully I could give my family a better life.” Said Kevin, “Initially, it was hard work but I’m proud of what I have achieved. Now I want to use my own experiences to help others, and especially younger people who are dealing with difficult situations like I did. Hopefully the book will show those kids that it doesn’t have to end badly, and if I can make something of myself, then anyone can. I’m proud of my work and I’m excited to show some of it.”

Along with the military fiction and the autobiographical sections of Percy Publishing, new authors have been signed from the Crime, Mystery and Thriller fields. Builder, Colin Llewelyn Chapman, has seen his first novel, Cold Call, hit the shelves. Its seedy and racy story follows a wealthy entrepreneur, Robin Bradford finding another outlet for his energy while he waits for his business to recover from the financial strain, taking him down a very dark and lonely road while he attempts to juggle between his two lives.

While rock singer, DJ Priddle writes about an ex-detective in the MET, Jonas Brock, who has already served five years in Belmarsh for his protection racquets and prostitutes. Now free to live his life, but still entranced by the young prostitute, Selena that he has protected for over ten years, can Jonas use his new job as a private detective to solve a huge fraud case, worth millions of pounds.

With an ever-increasing fan base, that is hungry for these pulp-fiction style stories, the future looks bright for the independent publisher and their entire roster of creative talent.

 

For more information and a list of current titles please contact WeDo PR on either (01983) 241895 or news@wedopr.co.uk

Urbane Publications Limited

msmith1

Matthew Smith is the Director of Urbane Publications Limited.  He kindly took the time to write an article for me about his publishing business and how it all started.

 

THE THIRD WAY

I’m a very lucky chap, as I’ve been fortunate enough to work in and around books for 25 years (hard to believe I know, given my youthful good looks). I started as a bookseller, when readers bought books, and digital was a watch. And I’ve worked for publishers big and small over the years, building experience and trying to find the ‘right’ way to create and publish great content. There has been such enormous change over the last few years, but the essentials remain the same – talented authors producing astonishing content that we all want to engage with. And despite an emphasis on ‘issues’ in the industry, there is a huge opportunity for innovative, entrepreneurial publishers to grow and thrive – I just didn’t feel I could pursue those opportunities working for another company. I decided to be bold (read stark raving crazy) and create Urbane. So I could publish the way I think content should be published.

The aim for Urbane Publications is always to drive, and be driven by, collaboration. Collaboration with authors to produce books and content worthy of their vision and blood, sweat and tears; and collaborating with readers to build an ever-growing community of word lovers who engage with books, authors and each other. So far so good – six months in and the publishing programme is building quickly, and the feedback from readers on published titles has been reassuringly positive (and in some cases wonderfully flattering). Even the odd 1 star negative review has made sense (although I obviously cried for days over each one).

Collaboration. That’s not a word said lightly. It isn’t just marketing fluff. And this isn’t about providing a production service either. I could use my experience to take advantage of the self-publishing boom, set up a system and charge eager authors a healthy fee to throw their unedited words together between some covers. But I think there’s a better way, a third way, that combines all the benefits of traditional publishing (an engaged editor, script development, knowledge, design, route to market, promotion etc) but gives the author creative and commercial engagement during every part of the process. Every aspect of the project is a shared experience with shared goals, a genuine partnership. And that includes the sharing of the revenue, because every author deserves a fair return on their words.

Many publishers have forgotten that authors should consistently be at the centre of the publishing experience, from initial discussion and on throughout the life of the book. Every single project is unique and every author plays a key role in not just delivering a manuscript but bringing it to life. For too long many in the publishing industry have been treating authors as a commodity, a deliverer of content, part of a process not the key driver of the publishing experience. This seems particularly daft when so many talented and smart authors can just self-publish. I want authors to be engaged from day one – because they know they can be. The aim is shared goals from the outset – what do we want, how can we make it happen, how do we realise success. It makes for a lively, engaged and ultimately fulfilling publishing experience where both parties want exactly the same thing – a great book that sells like hot cakes.

And how and why will the third way work? It has to be through persistency and belief. There is still a rather entrenched perception of authoring and publishing a book that simply getting it produced means it will be read, that readers will immediately rush to grab a copy. There are absolutely no guarantees anymore, not even for those publishing with the big corporates. That’s why the opportunities for an agile and responsive publishing approach are so exciting! Discoverability is vital to a book’s success and achieving it is really hard work! That’s why I already owe a huge debt of gratitude to the bloggers and reviewers who are spreading the word – the strongest and most powerful marketing is still word of mouth, personal recommendation, an individual endorsement – and authors are key in making that happen as the word always begins within their network.

So all you budding authors out there, we want you to consider publishing with Urbane and partnering with us for an enriching publishing experience. When it comes to a great book and a valuable piece of content your words will always be the vital ingredient – let Urbane help you take those words to the right audience in the most effective forms possible, with YOU as the key driver in the process. The Third way – you know it makes sense 🙂

 

For more information about Urbane visit http://urbanepublications.com

 

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