Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Istoria Books, Open For Submissions

It’s my pleasure to welcome author Libby Sternberg back to Thoughts in Progress. She's not here today to talk about her latest book, but instead her latest venture - Istoria Books, which is now open for submissions.

Thanks for having me here once again. This is a terrific place for authors and readers. In fact, I’ve been here as your guest as an author in the past, trying to promote various books.

But today I’m here to talk about a new ePress I’m starting--Istoria Books.

It’s no secret that sales of eBooks are growing. Just recently the New York Times ran an article about how young adult eBook sales now make up a quarter of those books sold by HarperCollins. Other publishers (and genres) report similar expansion in the eBook market.

Some authors are taking advantage of this market expansion by putting their books for sale on amazon and the like themselves. I salute them. It’s a tough slog to get your book professionally edited and formatted, to secure cover art and to handle ISBN registration, insurance and marketing.

For authors who don’t want to deal with all that work, Istoria Books offers an alternative. We’re a selective publisher, so you won’t be “self publishing” with us. We split royalties rather than pay advances, but we do not ask authors to “earn out” the costs of production. We cover those ourselves.

We want Istoria to be a place where readers can always find “Books you want to read at prices you want to pay.”

What does “books you want to read” mean? I think all readers, myself included, far too regularly encounter books they don’t get into, they don’t want to finish. Or, if they do want to finish the story, they just skip to the end to see how things wrap up.

While we understand that reading tastes are very subjective (and you can’t please everyone all the time), Istoria Books seeks to find stories you don’t want to give up on--good yarns. We want to find stories that you want to hear the author tell--you don’t just flip to the end to see what happens.

We suspect that some of these stories might have a hard time finding print publishers because of the marketing limitations traditional publishers face. They’re under tremendous pressure to find predictable successes. No wonder then that you see book after book with Tudor ladies on the cover (curiously, without faces!) or vampires or …whatever the bestselling trend happens to be.

Istoria Books can afford to take some chances on different kinds of stories. As we say in our submission guidelines, if your romance is told from the hero's POV, we'll still look at it. If your young adult novel features a college-age protagonist, we'll consider it. If your women's fiction book puts romance way on the back burner, we're open to it. If your inspirational involves a sinning protagonist, we'll still take a look.

The two questions we ask when reviewing manuscripts are: do I want to keep reading this story, and do I want to keep hearing this author tell it to me? A good story, well-told. 

We hope authors will check out our submission guidelines, at the “About Us” page on our website--www.IstoriaBooks.com. We hope readers will check out our offerings and get on our mailing list by signing up at our website or blog (www.IstoriaBooks.blogspot.com). Freebies and discounts will be available at various time to our subscribers.

In fact, Istoria Books is pleased to announce acquiring digital rights to Gary Alexander’s up-market/literary fiction DRAGON LADY.

Set in 1965 Saigon on the eve of the big troop build-ups in Vietnam, DRAGON LADY is bittersweet, funny, absurd and heartbreaking all at once, telling the story of a young draftee’s obsession with a Vietnamese woman, who could betray him in more ways than one. Gary’s intelligent voice--filled with dry wit--and his own experiences give this story a sharp sense of truth--the “truth within the lie” that all good fiction is. Gary served in Vietnam in ’65. When he arrived, he joined 17,000 GIs. When he left, 75,000 were in country.

Watch for news of the release of DRAGON LADY soon!

Libby, thanks for guest blogging here today and sharing your information on Istoria Books. The ebook world is expanding fast and each day I’m understanding more and more good points about it.

What are your thoughts on ebooks and publishing?


  1. E-books, are surely a thing really coming into play in the writing world. How could it not. Do I think this takes away from regular books, well there is a certain like for the things we already know, but as epublishing becomes more and more available there is a certain security in it.
    Think about it, if your book is e-published its less likely to be borrowed to another person because its much harder to trade books (not that its bad to do this) but it encourages a person to buy instead of just using someone elses. I was thinking about this fact earlier. Someone just giving a book away is much harder on e-readers then in book format. If they don't want it anymore- they can just delete it.

  2. Libby, thanks for stopping by and telling us about Istoria Books. Epublishing is going to be an interesting aspect of the book world. Wishing you much success.

  3. Great post. I'm posting a link on Yahoo Groups for my writing group.

  4. Great to see e-publishing opening the way for new innovations and attitudes.
    Checking out Istoria's link :-)

  5. As I said, it's great to be here. And so nice to hear that folks will check out our Istoria guidelines and spread the word!

    I think printed books will not go away, but I believe eBooks are going to shake up the book world, ultimately in good ways for authors, who will no longer have such a narrow gate to go through to get to publishing.

  6. Mason - Thanks for hosting Libby.

    Libby - Thank you so much for sharing the news about Istoria Books. It's an exciting new development and I certainly look forward to reading more about it.

  7. I have to say that one of the things I'm really excited about is the opportunity to publish books that I know would have a hard time getting into print -- not because of quality issues but because of market trends in traditional publishing and how print books are sold. This DRAGON LADY book we're handling is like that. To me, it's a gem of a book, well-written, a good yarn. But I can imagine it being an awfully tough sell to New York.

  8. I just thought I'd elaborate a bit on my last comment. Print publishers sell books to bookstores, not so much to book consumers--readers. E-publishers will be marketing directly to readers. It's a steep hill to climb, and Istoria is just starting its journey. But we're optimistic about reaching those consumers and branding our books as good reads.

  9. Libby, this is a wonderful venture and I wish you all success with it! I think there's really a place for well-published e-books out there. Have you thought at all about putting out print books on demand too?

  10. Yes, actually, we have thought about print on demand and forming partnerships with print presses. I've already recommended to a small print press, in fact, a nonfiction manuscript that we can't handle but that they might find interesting. We're open to all sorts of creative synergy.

  11. I agree with you, in that I think print books will stick around, but the ebooks really expand the market, both for readers and writers. It's the best of both worlds :)

  12. I've been debating whether to make my memoir into an ebook, but I'm not sure the cost is worth the effort. I personal don't own an ebook reader, but almost everyone I know does. Your venture sounds wonderful, Libby. Good luck with it.

  13. Best wishes for succes for this new venture. I'll check out the submission guidelines. I still don't have an eReadrer but its on my list. Just so many other things going on that require money. Sigh.

  14. Another wonderful aspect of ePublishing is that you can offer books with lower word counts than is considered acceptable in print. I have a mystery novella offered through Istoria that would have been a hard sell, because of its length, to a NYC-based publisher.

  15. Oh, this sounds like a great option! I have several WiPs that break some rules and it's nice to know there is a publisher willing to not be so stuck in those patterns.

  16. As you (Mason) can imagine, I think ebooks are a wonderful supplement to paperbooks.

    And now I wonder what Istoria Books think about cozy capers? I began looking for an agent for my novel recently but have not found one yet.

  17. We are open to cozy capers. We want to handle historical, romance, women's fiction, literary/upmarket, mystery, thriller, sci-fi/fantasy, young adult. Not interested in erotica, though.

  18. As a reader, I've been very resistant to eBooks. I still like the feel of a printed page. But I now have a Nook and I realize there are going to be books I want to read that will only be available in eBook format. So there has to be a place for both in my library.

    As a writer, I'm interested in every possible avenue for getting published.

    Best of luck with your new venture.

  19. About the feel of printed books...my husband was reading his Kindle the other night. I looked over at him, and it appeared as if he was reading a printed book. That's because he has a leather cover for his Kindle. It looked -- and probably felt like -- holding a book to him.

  20. Mason, thanks for bringing this to my attention.

    Libby, I hadn't heard about Istoria Books so I'm interested to learn more. Thanks for this post.


  21. Cozy erotica?

    Don´t worry, my mother is one of my most faithful fans ;D

  22. Cozy erotica?:) Haven't heard of that before!

  23. Ebooks definitely are making a name for themselves in the world of books. They will never take over the printed book, but they will definitely be a big part of the book world.

    I wish IB much success!


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.