Archive for author relationships

A Tattooed Head muses…

Posted in General Musings with tags , , , on January 7, 2011 by simonmarshalljones

As many of you are aware, I set up Spectral Press about three months ago, one of the primary reasons being that I wanted to get more involved in the ‘horror’ scene and also to give something back to it. Plus, of course, I love great storytelling and it would also further cement my appreciation of books as beautiful objects in themselves. ¬†Therefore, setting up the imprint fulfils all the above criteria nicely.

The first chapbook was published a week ago – and it has already sold half of its print run. Which, when you get right down to it, is pretty amazing on any level – but what makes it even more amazing is the fact that I am still a relative unknown within the little corner of the literary world I inhabit. I asked people to subscribe, to give money to me; and people did. I thank them for their trust – they trusted me to go ahead and produce what I said I would. And so, in the last days of 2010, I went ahead and got that first issue printed – and so far Spectral has been the most fulfilling thing I have ever done.

As many of you also know, in 2008 I set up a record-label. I was excited then about my prospects, just as I’m excited about my prospects now. The difference between then and now is that back then no-one bought anything until about six months after the first CD was released. The first publication has only been out a week and nearly fifty copies have been sold. With FracturedSpaces, people would write to me saying what fantastic bands I had on my roster and that the product looked great – but when it came to actually buying they weren’t interested. People have said the same thing about Spectral – but they’ve actually put their money where their mouths are and bought. And if they promise they’ll buy one at some point, they actually have.

But, it’s also prompted me to think about when I can consider Spectral a success – when I have sold out of the first chapbook? Or when the reviews are mostly positive ones? Or when, after the first three issues have been published and sold, people willingly renew their subscriptions?

Ultimately, it’s a combination of all of those factors, but also something else that’s less tangible – just the sheer satisfaction of creating something that people respond positively to. And, if people want more of it, then that’s even better. Even more gratifying is when an author writes to me and tells me what a great job I’ve done and that they’re proud to be a part of it. Or when a reader says that I have exceeded all their expectations and that they will definitely be renewing their subscription when the time comes – thusly are good reputations established.

I have heard some real-life horror stories concerning authors and the relationships they have with some publishers. These are object lessons in how NOT to succeed, however you measure it. I want to be known for working closely with writers and also to treat them right within my meagre means. I also want to be known for creating a quality product – to take ‘amateur’ small-press publications to a new level. A tall order, maybe, but I feel it’s an admirable goal nevertheless.

I reackon I am going quite a way towards achieving those ambitions… ¬†=)