Today I’m pleased to welcome Karen Gowen as the special guest blogger not as an author or fellow blogger but as a publishing executive to talk about how a family-owned publishing company came to be.
Karen is the author of FARM GIRL and UNCUT DIAMONDS. She blogs at Coming Down the Mountain: A Writer's Blog. She is also an Assistant Editor of WiDo Publishing, which is currently seeking submissions. I ask Karen to explain a bit about this small indie press and what it can offer authors.
WiDo Publishing is a small, family-owned press located in Salt Lake City, UT, started in 2007 for the purpose of publishing my book, FARM GIRL. Some say a publisher launches a book, in this case, a book launched a publisher. I blogged about how all this happened in this post (add link). For the first couple years of WiDo’s existence, I was just one of the authors. Now I am more involved in promoting WiDo online and actively working as an editor.
A number of editors live outside the area– one in California, one in Minnesota and one in Germany. There are five editors, two interns and two copy editors who go over each manuscript numerous times to make sure it is polished and professional before it heads to the typesetter. Once typeset, it is again reviewed by an editor and at least one copy editor. No book is released until it is thoroughly and completely edited even if that means release dates are pushed back.
Genres accepted for publication range from memoir, women's fiction, YA, fantasy, mystery, to action adventure. With WiDo, the story is key. If we like the story, the writing style, the characters and feel that the work has something special, we don't care about genre. WiDo likes a manuscript to be around 50K- 80K words, but will publish less than 50K and up to 100K if the work merits it. We do not publish illustrated children's books, middle-grade (unless it has wide appeal), how-to books, self-help, or erotica.
Cover designs vary from original artwork, photography, to computer-generated designs, depending on the genre and the tone of the work. For this reason, WiDo's books do not look anything alike. It would be very difficult to pick out three titles from a group and say "these all look alike and must be published by the same company."
WiDo distributes through Ingram to bookstores and through Follett to libraries. WiDo's titles are sold in numerous independent bookstores from East to West in the United States, although bookstores are cutting back on their purchases for obvious reasons. For this reason, WiDo wants their authors to have a strong online presence to maximize online and ebook sales. Online, WiDo's books are available through their own website as well as the usual online sites, with a select few available through Borders.com and The Book Depository.
WiDo has been slowly building. There have been several business models that have had to be readjusted based on economic and industry changes. An advantage to a small press is the ability to adapt quickly when times call for it. For this reason, WiDo has kept its releases down, with only nine titles published since it started in 2007. There are six more planned for release in 2011, and twelve in the works for 2012. WiDo is currently seeking new submissions. The submission guidelines are here.
There are those who question our contract because it is short and simple. Any author who has been offered a contract with us is welcome to negotiate any segments they feel uncomfortable with or might want further explanation. We are flexible and easy to work with. We seek to develop a relationship of trust with each of our authors. The highest compliment we can receive is when an author expresses how thrilled they are to be part of the WiDo Publishing family.
Karen, thanks for guest blogging. It’s interesting learning more about your Indie Publishing Company. As more and more author are looking in that direction, I see the demand growing. It’s a wonderful way for readers to find new authors they might not otherwise discover. I think sometimes authors may not realize just how much a small press has to offer them. Wishing your company much success.
For more on WiDo Publishing, check out their website, like them on Facebook and find them on Twitter.
What are your thoughts on small publishing companies? As an author, are you surprised by how much they can offer? As a reader, do you read books published by indie companies? As always, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.