Yes, publishing is an evolving industry and everyone is right in the middle of not knowing what to do at any given moment. I think that’s why all of us (publishers) are doing a little bit of everything. The days of huge warehouses sitting full of books in hopes of sales is gone as are the days of the New York Times telling us what to read. Much like true music lovers, book lovers are beginning to take great pride in following some obscure author out there that they alone discovered. Our authors are those authors.
At MSP, the author is never charged a fee or asked to buy books from us. They can do so if they wish but it is not part of the contract. We pay an editor, a cover designer and spend hours upon hours (and in some cases more – which includes asking for re-writes) helping the author to bring the book to their audience. MSP only makes money as the author makes money – which, I believe is as it should be.
Our authors came looking for a home where they could comfortably write and be published without dealing with the NYC snobbery of the literati. Our writers simply want to write and grow their audiences with every tap of the keyboard. There are truly only a handful of authors with the big six that get shelf space and marketing budgets. I have a friend who is published by one of the “big six” (soon to become the big five) and was set off with a box of 30 books and pretty much nothing more. The entire time she worked with them they acted like they were doing her a favor. She is hoping she has enough sales to spark some interest in her next novel but as long as celebrity writers are plentiful – who can forget Paris Hilton’s last book – then great writers like her will be overlooked even within their own publishing companies.
Denise and I started this company because we saw the ugly from both sides—the author who goes with the POD or subsidiary publisher only to find out that there are fees involved with editing, cover design, heck some are even charging reading fees, “send us $80 and we’ll read your book and tell you if we want to publish it.” I know, it's crazy but true! Then, we saw the other side—great writers who are overlooked by the literati in favor of the Paris Hilton’s of the world. I suppose in some other parallel universe this is considered good literature.
Then, when something great is overlooked by a bigger publisher or agent, no one will take the fall for turning it down. The Time Traveler’s Wife was first published by a small indie publisher called MacAdam Cage—later it was bought out probably by the same people who turned it down in the first place. A more recent example is The Help—turned down 40 times by publishers and now not one of them will admit to turning it away. I'm sure there are, no doubt, countless others.
MSP exists to give a home to homeless authors, so to speak. Nothing would please us more than for one of our authors to be catapulted into the NYC literati if that's what they want. Heck, if we're honest wouldn't most of us want that? We’d send them off with hugs and well wishes. Until then, they may stay here, write their words and know they have a home for their creations.
We are a traditional, royalties-paying publisher. We do not apologize for being a print on demand publisher, in fact, we celebrate it. Without POD many authors’ works would never see the light of day.
Now, let's all say it together: Write On!