Hey Kids, Let’s Put on an Imprint!
We’ve all seen the classic old television episodes where a group of kids spontaneously decide to put on a show. This was such a common device in early TV that the phrase, “Hey kids, let’s put on a show” became part of the nomenclature. This was surely an invention of TV writers rather than a reflection of the culture. Did whole neighborhoods of kids ever just do this sort of thing? However, entirely surprisingly, I found myself doing a version of this last summer.
After six years of writing and rewriting, I’d finally finished Blue, a novel that meant the world to me. I’d published two earlier novels, both of which I’d been invested in writing, but this new novel was about things that mattered to me at a very deep level, had been inspired by some significant events in my life, and was filled with characters I’d grown terribly attached to. This book was so important to me that I decided that, rather than put Blue in the hands of another publisher, I would publish it myself. After all, I was hardly a novice at publishing. I’d spent twenty years at big New York houses, including stints as Deputy Publisher of Bantam, Publisher of Berkley, and Publisher of Avon, and in 2008 I’d started an independent publishing house, The Story Plant, with literary manager Peter Miller.
Having decided to go in this direction, I needed to figure out the right way to get the book into the market. The available self-publishing options were either too limited (setting up the book with one retailer) or too pricey (going with operations that required several upfront costs without giving the author enough of the back end). I decided to check in with an old friend at the major book distributor National Book Network to see if he’d be willing to distribute Blue. He got back to me quickly, but by the time he did, I’d already had an inspiration: hey, Lou, let’s put on an imprint! It dawned on me that if I were going to set up the architecture to publish my book, I could publish other books as well. I put out the call to some writers I admired, and the first publishing list began to take shape.
That’s how the Fiction Studio imprint happened. I expect to publish a dozen books in the imprint in 2011, and we’ll see what happens from there. At the very least, I hope to put on a good “show.”
Thanks, Lou, for dropping by!!