Monday, June 29, 2015
Introducing Syn Publishing!
Publishing is ever changing, with news of publishers going under (Blog Article Publisher Closing doors-click here) there are positive ones; new Publishers opening. This makes me happy—because this means opportunity. For an author to succeed one needs to be hybrid—self publishing, digital and hopefully be published with the big houses.
Today I have Kim, the owner of Syn Publishing here to chat about her new business and I didn’t spare her any of the tough questions!
Welcome Kim, I am glad you are here, lets dive right in. In this competitive market of self-publishing and other Digital companies—what makes SYN stand out to the Author and Reader?
KIM: Well, that’s the burning question for authors and publishers alike, isn’t it? Standing out and being unique isn’t easy in a market where 3,500 new titles are published per day. However, at Syn, we try to be different. We have a human being you can speak with nearly 24 hours a day. We provide our authors with contact information, phone numbers, Skype info, etc. If our author needs assistance, they shouldn’t wait for an email, where tone can be misread. He/she can contact us if need be and we’re there for them.
We pay monthly and electronically (direct deposit for US authors, Paypal for the rest.) We offer a 50/50 royalty split so that the publisher and author are equally invested in the project, instead of taking the usual 70 or 60 percent.
MVF: First off—wow! 3,500 new titles a day—that is sobering. Exceptionally so. This is amazing. Now as for paying the authors—I love the split; but I will ask this; do you pay monthly or quarterly?
What Genres are you looking for? What seems to sell very well?
KIM: We accept most genres of fiction. What we seek more than a specific genre is a well written piece with character development, ARC, plot, conflict and resolution, as well as that special quality…the one that makes a reader binge read.
We are open to series, but will not accept serials at this time.
MVF: Ah! Very good. I also heard you are also looking for non-fiction, do you have a specific area you are looking for?
Editing; how is that handled? Do you have content edits, then line edits? How do you approach it?
KIM: Your first stop is with our Acquisitions Editor. Not only will she make the decision whether or not to accept the book, she will handle your first rounds of edits. Here she will not only look for grammatical and punctuation errors, but content issues as well. Then, the book goes to the Final Line Editor. The Final Line editor has a dual role as Copy Editor. Here the book will be polished for publication.
MVF: I have chatted with the Acquisitions Editor; who I plan to post an interview/article from her next. It’s good that authors will have the opportunity to really get to know those who will work with them.
The Cover—Who does them? Is the Author involved? Can they buy their own stock photo?
KIM: We have an art department that handles the cover art. The author is involved in this process. We have them fill out a cover art request to give the art department a general idea of what they’re looking for and then the artist moves on from there. The art department will send a mockup of the cover. If the author wants changes, they will make them. We want authors to love their cover!
As a general rule, we don’t allow the authors to provide their own stock photo. We have to ensure all photo rights have been purchased, to protect ourselves.
But rules are made to be broken, so it’s not beyond the realm of possibility. I feel like I’ve circumvented your question. As the owner, I would consider it under certain circumstances. But as a general rule, no. We will provide the cover art.
MVF: I think this is fair—what I’m seeing, and what I like, is you are willing to work closely with the author; this is very important.
Pricing of the book; this is always a dicey thing; too high people avoid them, too low everyone loses. What is your strategy?
KIM: Yes, it is dicey. The best we can do is market research. I personally go through best sellers on a quarterly basis. (I have been doing this since my self-publishing days.) There is always a high end of the spectrum and a low end. Pricing somewhere in the middle is the safest.
We stagger pricing for novellas, novels and “supernovels” (around 100k words). I know, “supernovels” isn’t a real word, but that’s what the industry calls them. Yuk. We have a tier we follow. If the market changes, we’ll change with it.
The ultimate goal is to make the author and the house money. If the books are overpriced, the number of sales will drop and that benefits no one. If the book is too cheap, then everyone loses. So we must stay on top of the market!
MVF: I like that you are on top of it—and pay attention. This is important, for me this builds trust.
Are you a digital only publisher? Any plans to move to print in the future (I know this is 50/50 for some in preference)
KIM: We would love to move into print. The overhead is a monster though. To answer truthfully, I can’t say we’ve made a plan for it. The house has to grow to warrant the cost. When that time approaches, we will make a plan, so that we don’t end up a publishing casualty.
MVF: Another fair response. I really hope your company does well enough to move to this route. (because I know many who prefer a printed book—but yikes they can be scary expensive.) But—all in due time.
Distribution; Where do you have your books and in what markets?
KIM: This is the perfect opportunity for me to inform your readers that Syn will never put your book in an online library. I don’t think the author wins in that case. We publish at all of the major eTailers: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, ARe, iBooks, Kobo, and Google Play.
MVF: Excellent-and yes, I’ve gotten very nervous about the libraries..
Marketing—this has got to be hardest thing for any author. The key is to be seen. What can you do now? And what are your plans or the future?
KIM: This is not only the most difficult area for authors, but as a publisher, it is also a challenge. We purchase advertisements for our house authors. We are currently negotiating with blog tour companies. Visibility in the new paradigm is a challenge, as most authors know.
So we diversify where our advertisement dollars are spent. As the house grows, our buying power grows.
MVF: Good—I like you are fighting for your authors—and it does take time. Visibility is the key. Something I’m still trying to learn.
Reviews—another hard thing to get; do you have people in place to review or places you can go? Do you expect the Author to find their own reviews?
KIM: Authors should always take responsibility for their careers. They should be doing as much as they can to spread the word about their work. Reviews matter as they affect the algorithms of the online retailers, which could give them additional free advertisement.
We do have a list of reviewers we contact. They are autonomous, however, so they may choose whether or not they review the book and what sort of review they write.
MVF *nods* this is fair. Do you do Giveaways? For example I think Goodreads now allows e-books…but I’d have to verify it.
Submissions-do you take agented and unagented?
KIM: Yes, we will work with authors and/or their agents. You do not need an agent to submit to us, however.
We do not require a query letter. We’re less interested in your ability to summarize your story and more interested in the story itself. You can find our submission guidelines at: http://www.synpublishing.com/submissions.html
MVF: For me, this is an easy process. I like how accessible this all is.
What else can you add that I’ve forgotten?
KIM: Syn’s goal is to be transparent to its authors and to make the publishing experience the best it can be. We want authors to love their final product, and reap the rewards of their hard work. Together, we will work as a team. We believe our arrangement should be mutually beneficial and strive to keep our authors happy.
The publishing world can be a difficult and lonely place. We are here for our authors, to help them launch a polished product, to stick with them as they reach for success.
Thank you so much for your interview. I am happy to answer any questions your readers may have.
MVF: Thank you Kim! So glad you stopped by and I really look forward to seeing more from you and your company. I will ask one final thing—do you have any new books from your house coming out? (here I’d love some covers and small blurbs) This way, people can see what you have to offer.