Friday, January 14, 2011

Adventures in Epublishing: Introducing DarkSide Publishing

So I'm epublished.  Now what?

For the last few months, I've been wracking my brains with a couple of my fellow authors (including Megg Jensen) on something more we could do to set ourselves apart from the other indie authors out there.  Not that there's anything wrong with them, they're great!  But we wanted to find a niche, a home for us out there in the big unknown.  We thought a few times about starting our own publishing company.  We love books, we love writing, but then we worried that sifting through submissions might just take a little time, which we'd rather spend on writing.  And there was also the issues of start-up money, taxes, lawyers, and rejecting other writers.  None of those things sounded like any fun.  Nor were they practical.

The more we thought about it, the more we realized it was a dumb idea anyways.  We're indies and we don't need a traditional publishing set-up anymore.  Why would an author want to sign with us when they can do it themselves and keep all the money?  The investment isn't so huge anymore that the average person can't afford to pay for a great cover and some quality formatting.  (I'll probably spend $300 total on preparing Bloody Little Secrets for ebook pubbing this time...even less than Into the Shadows.)  So we took the idea of a traditional publishing company and tried to apply it to our current situation.  How can it work in today's ebook world and what can it do for us?

We came up with DarkSide Publishing.  It's not at all traditional.  We aren't publishing your books.  We're publishing ours.  Together.  We realized we do so much together already.  We check each others' covers and make suggestions, we troubleshoot, we beta read, we edit for each other, we lean on each other for most everything.  But when we went out as authors, we were totally alone, every author for themselves.  And that kinda sucked.  We have shared in the experience, and we wanted to keep that going.  That is what DarkSide Publishing is for us.  It is a hippy commune for writers without the naked dancing around the fire.  Or maybe it will, but that'll have to wait until summer.  Illinois winters aren't very conducive to naked dancing.

The idea is this: 
We use our own personal finances to fund our own books, thus, keeping our own profits.  No need for start-up capital or messy finances.  We work hard together to make sure our books are the very best they can be, meaning if you read one book from DarkSide, you can expect to find that the other titles will be equal in quality (writing and editing).  We share resources...cover artists, formatters, marketing ideas, plugging on social networks--anything we find that works for one of us can and will be shared with the group.  We're working as hard for each other as we are for ourselves, because in the end it will benefit us all.

Now I'm sure you're asking yourself...how on earth do we think we'll earn money this way?  I've analyzed a lot of numbers, following people who are selling well very closely.  These authors have generally between 6-8 books available.  There are a few, like HP Mallory, finding success with only three, but that's not the norm.  Even if I busted my behind, by the end of 2011, I *might* have 4 books available.  I work full time and more than that just can't happen.  But if we work together under the label, we could have 4 books available by summer, 6-8 by the end of 2011.  We figure if we can tie the books together under one brand, it will have the same effect as one author having many books available.  Joe Konrath also touts sharing backmatter with other authors.  So at the end of each book, there will be a page listing the books available from DarkSide and the first chapters of some of the books as an added bonus.  If you buy a book from Megg Jensen, you'll get to read the first chapter of one of my books, and vice versa. On all of our bios on our sales pages on Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords, (and even on Goodreads) will mention DarkSide and our other offerings.  So with this type of marketing, we hope that if Megg sells a book, I'll sell a book.  If I sell a book, she'll sell a book and so on.  And being that we think our books are of a high quality, it's a formula that we're anticipating will work very well.

At this time we are but two authors working together, but we have another very talented author ready to join us shortly, who was also instrumental in DarkSide's planning.  By summer, we will have three authors.  Maybe more.  We also will not look for new authors in a traditional fashion.  We'll mostly take on people we know through our own SCBWI channels or have personal relationships with and feel that their writing fits with ours and that they're willing to be part of our little community.  Therefore, at this time, we anticipate adding new members by invitation only. 

So that's all of it, in a nutshell.  We love to write and we love books.  With DarkSide Publishing, we can focus on those two things and hopefully help each other prepare great ebooks for readers out there.  And we don't have to do it alone.

Visit DarkSide Publishing's website.
Visit Megg Jensen's blog.

5 comments:

  1. It sounds like you put a lot of thought into this and I wish you both the best of luck.

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  2. sounds like a splendid idea - all the best of luck. It does seem that the more of a list that can be offered the better the chances - prob. because like me when finding a new author I want to be sure theres another by same to follow. Good luck

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  3. Congrats! I am a huge fan of risk taking innovators. Like the bundle idea. What marketing channels will you use initially?

    I just wrote a blog post on the evolution of in the industry, would love your thoughts. http://kvictoriasmith.blogspot.com/

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  4. Just the other day I was talking with a friend about doing something similar. I would definitely be interested in hearing how this works out for the two of you. Thanks for posting! :D

    Nichole

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  5. It's both fun and exhausting for all of you but everything pays off. Kudos for such determination and innovation. Not many authors would explore the "dark side" of publishing - that is doing everything for themselves.

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