Puddletown Publishing Group

Archive for January, 2011|Monthly archive page

27 days and counting

In Renee LaChance on January 29, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Susan does a great job relaying the birth of the Puddletown Publishing Group notion. I feel compelled to talk a little about what kept me from doing it years ago.

My best friend works at a bookstore and ebooks threaten the security of her job. I felt I would be going to the darkside to build a business in an industry that could devastate booksellers, and my friend’s livelihood. (Okay, full disclosure, I am a Leo. Predisposed to extreme loyalty and the belief that we have control over everything in the world.)

I realized, at the birth of our great notion, that ebooks and print books are not mutually exclusive. Combine ebooks with print on demand, and booksellers can order copies and sell them as well.

These 27 days have been a wild ride. My publishing experience is old and ebook technology is a huge learning curve for me. My old Just Out crew is probably laughing out loud because they dragged me kicking and screaming into the desktop publishing age.

Ebooks are the same thing — digital format that can be printed on demand or published for digital readers. This is a good fit for me. It utilizes old school publishing with new school technology and meets the sustainable criteria that steers my decisions. Fewer trees are killed in the process since books are not warehoused, they are printed as needed.

Though ebooks have been around for over a decade, the technology to read them had not gone mainstream until just this year. Add to the Kindle the release of Apple’s iPad and the NOOKcolor, and ebook sales are rumbling to tsunami status. Sales of ebooks are outpacing hardcover sales at Amazon and paperback sales at Barnes and Noble.

I remain committed to partnering ebooks with brick and mortar bookstores. I think print on demand (POD) is the answer.

That New Year’s after party where 2011 was still a brand new baby full of possibilities, the question evolved from “why do ebooks?” to “why aren’t you doing ebooks?” and I didn’t have a good answer.

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26 days and counting…..

In Susan LS on January 29, 2011 at 6:31 am

I almost didn’t go to the party. It was January 2nd, I was in a crabby mood, full of post-holiday angst, and a string of parties had worn me out. I even proposed staying home, but Jenny said we could leave when I got tired. I took my Nook just in case. Introverts never know when they’ll need a book in the middle of a party.

Renee greeted me as I came in the door and gave me a gift she made sometime last summer, a button that reads: Butch Nerd. A long story, for another time, but it made me laugh. I mingled, I ate, I showed off my button, I talked to strangers. Finally, I took a seat in the “quiet” venue, the living room. Right next to Renee. I pulled out my Nook, she pulled out her cell phone, and right away we were talking about ebooks. Within the hour, we knew how we’d be spending the next year. Or decade.

Two days later, Renee alerted me to a speaker at the Willamette Writer’s group. We went, the woman validated everything we’d both been thinking, and within days Puddletown Publishing Group had a name and a vision. We tried to get this bratty young author to publish with us, but she was set on going “traditional.” Thought she’d worked too long, too hard to settle for e-pub. But she’s a research geek and two weeks later—after finding out that she could make serious money as an indie author and bypass all the craziness that is Big Publishing in the 21st century—she was signing the incorporation papers with us. So it goes.

Anyway, the rest is history. Feverish meetings around my dining room table, emails back and forth in a steady stream, lots of research and number-crunching, acquisitions (we happened to know some great writers who had books ready to go), and here we are, 26 days later: A forty-something energizer bunny, a fifty-something butch publishing expert, and an almost 60-something butch nerd with a sharp red pencil. Publishers.

We are an incredible blend of talents and skills, and we’re 100 percent committed to bringing fresh new authors to the marketplace and bringing old authors out of retirement—or remainderhood. We’re also committed to making e-publishing mean great publishing. We are not a vanity press; our writers are vetted, edited, coached, and supported. They don’t pay us a cent. We are real deal publishers.

I’ll leave some of the story for Renee to tell, but it’s been a wild ride. Today, we sent out the press release, blitzed our social networks and the media, toasted our success with champagne, and ate pizza. And drew up some contracts.  At the moment, we have about 30 books in various stages of undress, at least five of which will be ready for the official launch. We’re so busy, we had to close submissions before we opened them. And we’ve got some great stuff coming.

Tomorrow, we start the hard work of finding the financing we need. Please, if your money is making zip right now, consider us. I guarantee we’ll pay you better than the bank, probably even better than the stock market. Between the three of us, we have a PERFECT track record of paying folks back.  Even folks we didn’t promise to pay back.

Our Official Launch, the one where you all get to come to the party, will be March 20, 2011. There will be chocolate.

Current authors: Please read your contracts carefully. Champagne. Seriously.

Upstart epublisher makes a splash

In Uncategorized on January 28, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Puddletown Publishing Group, an e-Publisher based in the Portland, Oregon metro area, announces its formation. Beginning in March 2011, Puddletown Publishing Group will release multiple titles formatted cross-platform for digital readers.

Founded by Susan Landis-Steward, Lisa Nowak, and Renée LaChance, Puddletown Publishing Group is adopting a business model that favors authors and embraces digital as the preferred method of content delivery for an author’s work.

The buzz in the traditional publishing world is that paper books and publications are going the way of 8-track and cassette tapes. Ebooks are destined to garner a large portion of publishing revenue, claiming one-third of all book sales in 2010, up from one half of one percent in 2009. Amazon.com announced in 2010 that sales of ebooks exceeded hardcover sales. Barnes and Noble announced in January 2011 that ebooks exceeded paperback sales on its website. Since last year’s release of the NOOKcolor and iPad, the evolution of ebooks has surprised publishing insiders and those outside the industry as well. The Jan. 3, 2011 Publisher’s Weekly cites a memo by the CEO of Simon and Schuster, Carol Reidy, where she states 2010 “is the year publishing changed irrevocably.”

“E-publishing is the wave of the future.” Landis-Steward says, “We want to get up on the board before the wave crests.”

“After pursuing traditional publishing and hearing that my writing is excellent but the subject matter doesn’t ‘fit the list’ of various agents and editors,” says Nowak. “I began looking into going directly to ebooks. The more research I did, the more I realized this is a viable option for most authors, whether they’re established or just starting out. It’s also an excellent option for traditionally published authors with a backlist of books that are no longer in print. Dead tree publishers have been gatekeepers to what readers can access. It’s time for that to change.”

Puddletown Publishing Group has modeled itself to be a part of that change. It is influencing the industry as an early adopter of the digital delivery system and create a market for new and established authors. Puddletown Publishing Group will partner with other small presses to get their author-branded backlists available on digital readers.

Landis-Steward, Nowak and LaChance bring decades of experience to the group.

Landis-Steward has worked in editing and writing for many years and brings two decades of strong journalism background to the group as well. She currently owns a writing, copyediting, and indexing business and is almost done with her Masters in Publishing at Portland State University. She has various other degrees, including a Masters in Spiritual Traditions and Ethics.

Nowak has 15 plus years experience as a small business owner, a strong background in reading, writing, and editing Young Adult fiction, and an established social network in children’s literature.

LaChance is an entrepreneur with business experience in editing, publishing and marketing. She is the co-founder of Just Out Newsmagazine and Out Media, Inc. Just Out is Oregon’s queer newsmagazine and Out Media was an advertising agency, event producer and publishing house based in Portland in the 1980s and 1990s. For the past 10 years she has worked doing copyediting, copy writing, publishing and creating graphics as LaChance Creative.

“We are very excited about our new venture and feel ebook publishing maximizes our combined skill set,” says LaChance. “I am impressed with the caliber of the authors we are already working with and I look forward to a Puddletown Publishing Group title on the New York Times Best eBook Sellers list.”