Interview with author Tim Roux of Night Publishing
We talk to Tim Roux about how his company, Night Publishing handle new talent and books.
Teresa came across Tim on Authonomy and discovered that, not only is he a successful author, but also runs a publishing company - Night Publishing. She couldn't resist asking him for more details about his company, how they get new authors into print and about marketing the finished article.
I met a fellow writer, Bruce Essar, on a writers’ site which enables unpublished authors to showcase their work. He put forward the question “How do we get books published?” My response, “that’s the easy part. It costs nothing to get books into print but a fortune to market them, unless you use social network media techniques”. Bruce replied “why don’t we do that then?” Within 12 hours Night Reading was up and running. Within three days we had 30 writers on board. As of the first week in March, we have 123 writers!
Our approach to the publishing part is to escalate costs as the justification develops. At a base level, via CreateSpace, we can get a book into print for about $US 15 so long as we get it right first time. The royalties are much reduced, but if we are offering 75% or 100% royalties, they are OK for the author and it helps bulk out our directly published works.
For the premium CreateSpace package, it costs $39 and you then get much expanded distribution and about twice the royalty rate – so we can do 50/50. Again, if we get it right first time, we are paying $15 for the proof copy, although, in practice, it is going to be 3x or 4x that.
CreateSpace is Amazon.com only, so this is fine for US writers, but less good for British / non-US ones. However, we will still test on CreateSpace first, and move over to other, more local, POD systems which are probably going to cost around $300.
If it is still looking good, we will bulk print but, to be honest, the cost per book bulk printing is not a whole lot less than POD nowadays – it is the postage which is the killer, so the POD has to be local to the market ultimately.
Book and Author Marketing
The first books off the block are associated with an online international writer’s site Speak without interruption. The owner Bob Grant, has collected together some of the best writers I have ever read.
Our marketing strategy is almost entirely virtual other than to send out books for review which we will do more and more.
The (low) costs are covered by the 50/50 share on royalties initially, so the more we sell of a book, the more income we have, the more we can invest in further income – win-win for publisher and author very much within our Darwinian model of backing the successes as they naturally emerge in the market place (a trick I learnt from my days at 3M).
However, we are adding several other income streams. Firstly, Bruce and I should sell more of our own books. Secondly, I am becoming a rather seasoned editor and beginning to get in book editing deals. I do the editing on books we publish for free, but we can offer a book editing service to authors we are not publishing too. Then there is the fellow-travelling – where authors publish elsewhere but we market their books. Currently this is a free service because we want to develop a decent-sized catalogue quickly and establish our profile as a publisher of very high quality writing with lots of edge. As it happens, we also have a relationship with a Hollywood studio exec who will read any screenplay we produce for potential submission to one of the Hollywood majors. We are currently turning three books into movie screenplays for him, so this can be another service (we will be establishing a Ning site over the next few days). We are also exploring relationships with TV producers. As the site builds, we can get direct advertising revenue off Google. Then, if we wish, we can run ‘writing weekends’ or ‘writing breaks’ where we discuss writing and publishing issues with participants, or do one-on-one coaching. We will probably also act as literary agents for writers. There are some books which are far too big for us but, as our reputation grows, we hope to become a trusted feed into the major publishing houses (so there is a commission on that).
So, a full progression could be something like:
profits off publishing ourselves – 50/50 royalties
Bruce and Tim books
editing services to authors not published by us
marketing services to authors not published by us
movie / TV agents
commission as literary agents brokering deals between authors and the major publishing houses
one-on-one writing coaching
What we are looking for as publishers are authors who write with energy, courage and flair. The one rule we have is that we are not remotely interested in authors who follow those ridiculous ’10 commandments of writing’. We want the opposite of that entire 'feeding – the - machine' fodder. We want readers to say “Wow that was really different! Loved it” Our policy is to choose books according to how they read and regardless of their market potential. It is a Darwinian principal. We intend to launch lots of books and every now and again we will strike a gusher. Our slogan is “Good books must be published” and self published books are every bit as good as any other in terms of quality so long as you chose the right provider.
TR and TG
*This interview also appears on the Struggling Authors website
Night Reading - A social site for readers and writers > http://nightreading.ning.com/
Night Publishing - A revolution in literature > http://www.nightpublishing.com/
Speak Without Interruption - Online literary magazine >speakwithoutinterruption