While publishers play safe, authors create the brands of the future - By Roz Morris
Readers of this blog will know how many fine authors choose to self-publish or are driven to it because they don’t fit a marketing niche. But when we go it alone, how do we build a brand?
One important function that publishers used to perform was curation - taking the creme de la creme, producing it well, putting it out under an influential imprint. In the real world, that didn’t always count for much, but the reading public thinks it did - so to get credibility, indies have to replace it somehow. And here’s how we’re doing it.
Some indies band together to form an editorial board. Books aren’t published unless all members approve them. That takes a lot of trust and rigor, and all members have to be in tune with a particular type of reader. Perhaps not good for mavericks, but it’s the indie version of the niche publisher.
The handpicked collection
Some authors are gathering collections of writers whose work they admire. I was lucky enough to catch the attention of The League of Extraordinary Authors, started by NYT bestselling writer and indie Joni Rodgers. Several other AE members have too, including John AA Logan, Dan Holloway and Andrew Crofts. This is the indie reboot of the personally curated imprint.
The blogging collective
For years, conventionally published writers have blogged on sites run by agencies, publishers or author genre societies. That’s what we’re doing at AE.
But we write anything and everything, so what brand is that? Good question.
What’s the AE brand?
In the traditional publishing world, a brand usually implies a genre. But at AE we’re all over the place. Crime, suspense, YA, non-fiction, self-help, literary, thriller. Some of our writers were barred from the holy publishing temple because they mix genres (tsk tsk with your literary thriller, John AA Logan) or were expelled for hopping from one to another (Catherine Czerkawska). Those are my offences too - with a page-turning first novel that's praised for its weirdness, depth and lyricism, and a second novel that breaks even more rules.(Can't tell you about that just yet.)
So are we creating a brand at AE, and does it correspond to any models in established publishing?
Yes it does. The oldest one of all - quality.
This is the AE brand. Forget your niches and pigeonholes. You’re in safe hands. We write books, and whatever they are they will be good. That is all you need.
Roz Morris is a bestselling ghostwriter and book doctor. She blogs at Nail Your Novel and has a double life on Twitter; for writing advice follow her as @dirtywhitecandy, for more normal chit-chat try her on @ByRozMorris. Her books are Nail Your Novel: Why Writers Abandon Books And How You Can Draft, Fix and Finish With Confidence, available in print and on Kindle She also has a novel, My Memories of a Future Life available on Kindle (US and UK) and also in print. You can also listen to or download a free audio of the first 4 chapters right here.