Here at WG2E, we love to hear it from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. What better way to get information than by going directly to the source? Today, we have guest Libby Sternberg, founder of Istoria Books, a brand new digital publishing house. Istoria Books also has a blog. We asked her to enlighten us on opportunities in ePublishing and what led her to founding this new company.
Feel free to engage and add to the discussion by commenting and asking questions! We want to have great dialogue here.
Now, heeeerrrreeee’s Libby!
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Thanks for having me as a guest at Writer’s Guide to E-publishing! I think the best way to start my discussion is to steal from Dickens: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”
For many authors, that’s how the book business feels right now, with expanding possibilities through e-publishing, but uncertainty elsewhere, especially in print.
E-publishing offers both opportunities and challenges for everyone in the book world–for writers, readers and publishers. Here’s how I’d summarize the situation quickly:
- Writers can go directly to reading consumers with e-publishing, putting their books up for sale on amazon and the like, bypassing publishers entirely. The challenge — how can writers ensure their books are well-edited and correctly formatted? How can writers actually reach the readers who will enjoy their stories?
- Readers now have access to quality books that might have been turned down by print publishers because of genre and marketing limitations. The challenge — how can readers identify which authors offer quality material?
- Publishers have a new market available to them as more people buy e-reading devices. The challenge — how can print publishers keep prices reasonable when they have all the overhead associated with printing and distribution?
Istoria Books, a new ePublisher launched late last year by my husband, daughter and me, hopes to meet these challenges successfully by building a reputation for good stories at prices readers want to pay.
We started this press because we know that there are many readers who will be searching for a “brand” they can trust when looking at e-books by authors they’re not familiar with. We want to be the “go to” publisher for those readers, the ones who want to try new authors, who are willing to experiment, but who aren’t willing to buy just anything.
In keeping with that goal, we’re determined to offer books at what we consider attractive e-appropriate prices — that is, not too costly. As successful e-author Joe Konrath emphasizes, appropriate pricing is one of the keys to success in e-publishing, where readers balk at paying print prices.
For authors, we want to be a house where they can spread their wings, where they can place stories that might not fit neatly into what seems to be ever-narrowing limitations of traditional print publishing. That means we’ll take a look at a romance, for example, told from the hero’s point of view, or even one with a slightly less upbeat HEA. We’ll consider women’s fiction that has but the faintest whiff of romance in it and inspirational where the protagonist has been an unrepentant sinner.
We want to respect readers’ intelligence by assuming they’re attracted to certain stories not because they’re filled with vampires, knights templar or Tudor ladies but because they spin good yarns.
We believe that’s the market trend to chase–good stories, well-told–rather than books with copycat characters and plot points.
Our goal is to publish novels that keep readers clicking page turns, propelled through the story by compelling plots, absorbing characterizations and/or transcendent writing. When we read manuscripts, we’ll ask ourselves two primary questions:
- do I want to keep reading this story
- do I want to keep hearing this author tell it to me?
We also want to stick with authors we believe in even if it takes awhile for them to find their audience.
We’re still in what we call the “soft launch” phase where we’ve rolled out a handful of novels written by me, a multi-published author and one-time Edgar nominee. But we recently opened for submissions and are reading manuscripts now (see our website and blog for guidelines — and sign up for our mailing list to receive a free ebook).
By publishing good stories, well-told, Istoria hopes to build a brand name with readers, who are currently confronted with a wide array of offerings from new independent authors as well as established publishers.
Istoria Books handles the editing, formatting, cover art design and marketing for writers — all at our expense. We don’t offer advances but do offer very fair royalty share arrangements.
Anyone following the publishing industry over the past few years knows it’s in a transformative stage due both to the poor economy and the expansion of the digital reading world, among other things. Sales are slow–authors report it’s become increasingly difficult to sell their manuscripts unless they have a high concept debut or a solid high-sales record behind them already. It’s the perfect time for authors to look into e-Publishing, especially if they have stories that are difficult to sell to the big houses.
I hope you’ll check us out — www.IstoriaBooks.com and www.IstoriaBooks.blogspot.com– and consider reading one of our books or submitting a manuscript! For more information, email us at Istoriabks@gmail.com