Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Should Authors be Publishers? - Andrew Crofts

Asked to suggest a subject for a debate by a branch of the Society of Authors, I suggested "Should authors become publishers?" and found myself leading the discussion a few weeks later. By the end of the session, and after publishing some 80 books the traditional way both as an author and a ghostwriter, I was convinced that it was time to grasp the nettle and take my own advice.

When printing was first invented authors published their books in joint ventures with printers and booksellers, raising extra money from patrons when needed. Publishing companies as we know them today only really arrived on the scene around 1750, but from then on authors spent all their time writing to please these business people, (and later the business people who set up as literary agents), before pleasing themselves and their potential readers. Now technology, ironically, allows us to turn the clocks back.

Charged with enthusiasm at the lifting of the scales from my eyes I realised I had a manuscript ready and waiting to be dispatched straight to the readers along the electronic highway that I could now see clearly stretching away in front of me.

"The Fabulous Dreams of Maggie de Beer" (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/86679 ) is a sequel/prequel to "The Overnight Fame of Steffi McBride", a novel I published in the traditional way a couple of years ago. Maggie is Steffi's estranged mother and during the writing of Steffi's story I became increasingly intrigued by her.

Maggie left home in 1970, when she was only fifteen, and headed for London with the express aim of becoming famous. Her journey mirrors the rise of celebrity culture over the last forty years and the growth of the media which ruthlessly created it, exploiting and destroying girls like Maggie in the process. Despite the many terrible things she did I loved Maggie for her optimism in the face of endless set-backs and disappointments, always believing that her big break was just around the corner. She was determined to make herself "interesting" and only when she finally achieves her goal, at enormous personal cost, does she discover, under the full glare of the media spotlight, that the family she was running away from had secrets of their own.

All I needed was a brilliant cover and I was ready to go. I had already commissioned some photographs of one of my daughters to represent the young Maggie and the wonderful designer, Elliot Thomson of Preamptive, did the rest.


Nicola Morgan said...

Hello, Andrew, and good to see you here and interesting that you've reached the same decision at roughly the same time as I have.

Four years ago I ran a conference for the Society of Authors in Scotland and it was called Authors in Control. Then, it was a rather desperate plea. Now, it feels like a statement.

Great cover, by the way! Good luck with the book. (But try not to get hooked on the sales reports!)

Karen said...

Love the cover,Andrew. Good luck with the book.

Joan Lennon said...

When I was trying to figure out how to make a cover for Diary from the Rim, I did lots of research into other people's covers ... and ended up with something, well, different.

Maybe they'll be doing PhDs on Early 21st Century Indiependent Ebook Illustrations before we know it!

Catherine Czerkawska said...

Great cover, excellent post, Andrew. You put it in a nutshell. With plays, it's still - to a large extent - a partnership, but with prose, I do feel that I've spent years and years of my working life trying to please business people - most of whom had little in common with my potential readers. In fact I've just been writing a piece along those lines for an online magazine called The Scottish Review.

Dan Holloway said...

Love the cover - yes, very seventies (and the font is absolutely of the moment, of course, the same as the super cool Super Dry) - particularly film posters, but also rather Mucha-esque

Linda Newbery said...

I love your cover too - unusual and striking.

JO said...

The very best of luck with this. The cover - think everything's been said. It's fab.

dirtywhitecandy said...

Adding to the praise for your cover, Andrew - and also saying hear hear! How much has changed over such a short time.