The Deixis Press Weekly - Issue #5
I now have twice as many subscribers to this newsletter as I did when I started Deixis Press a few weeks ago, and I’m grateful to every single one of you! If you know anyone who likes books, or who likes me (or who despises me and will find pleasure in hate-reading about my occasional struggles and insecurities), please do forward this to them and suggest that they subscribe as well.
Tuesday, 6 April
The nice long Easter holiday after all the work that went into the launch was welcome, but it did mean that all my press work simply piled up meanwhile. I’ve got a master to-do list that has other to-do lists nestled within it. Today I very much need to create a marketing and publicity plan.
One professional publicity person sent me a quote for an eye-watering £6,500 for a single campaign; the rate card that accompanied that quote outlined a ton of things I personally cannot do because I don’t have the contacts–but it also talked about a bunch of things I can do myself.
For example, I’m comfortable with computers and online marketing; I don’t need to pay someone else to set up and manage Goodreads or NetGalley, though I can see how someone who is less Extremely Online would find those things a little tricky. I have a professional designer so I don’t need help with covers and little online teaser images. I have wonderful authors who are enthusiastic about being involved in marketing. And so on!
I also need to speak to bookstores about potential events, both near the authors and near me. And I need to write to some of my press contacts to gauge interest in features/interviews/reviews. And I would ideally find a way to speak to a couple of other small press folks to get their general advice.
And the list goes on. But I can’t do any of the things unless I … plan to do them, then do them. So I need to make a list. Another list for my list.
While I’m doing all of that, I also need to do some paid work and take some stuff to the post office–and I need to get it all done by 4pm when I pick up my children from their holiday course (this week they’re learning circus skills, so at least they will be able to have a steady career).
Wednesday, 7 April
I’m not sure anyone could decide to become an independent publisher without a ton of personal resources: not necessarily money (though that does help), but specifically connections. As I’ve mentioned, I’m writing this partially to document my journey for myself, but I also want to help anyone else who wants to do what I’m doing. So all I can say is: make sure that you do a few years of editorial work for a person who knows how to write contracts, so that you can later ask her to draft your publisher-author contract templates in exchange for editorial projects.
But I guess that advice is not as silly as it seems. If you love a thing so much that you want to devote your professional life to it (probably without much financial reward), you’re probably already in that world one way or another. You probably already know people who can help you. I’ve already gone on about this in previous newsletters, but we all have to help each other, or nothing will happen. Build your relationships, accept help with grace, and commit to developing others when you are in a position to do so.
In other today news, one of my MSS is back from the proof-reader and ready for typesetting, and covers for both are pootling along in the background.
Thursday, 8 April
Last night, after getting my first MS back from the proofreader, I set to checking through everything and getting the document prepped for typesetting. I’m going to try something new (working with InDesign rather than using a free tool) and I’m not sure how much style prep actually has to happen within the Word document before I start importing and designing.
I could probably watch a tutorial or read a manual. I used to be a technical writer, so I know those exist and that they are lovingly crafted by professionals who just want to make life easier for users–but I am also a human, so I will not bother. Instead, I will partially format some early stuff in the document, then see what the result is when I import it compared to the rest of the MS. (Typical technical writer behavior, actually.)
I’ve also heard from Lorena who has told me off (gently and with love; she would probably object to the phrase “told me off”) for trying to do complicated accounting for royalties. I didn’t think it was complicated, but now that she points it out, trying to calculate royalties based on net profits instead of net receipts is actually pretty complicated when you try to break down what money actually went where.
I have accepted that I will do it the old fashioned way–I recognize that I was trying to take a shortcut because I didn’t fully understand how it would work, and that I need to figure it out instead of refusing to make eye contact with it. This kind of avoidance is a personal trait that I am aware of in myself but never seem to notice while I’m engaging in it.
(Other advantages of normal accounting: any future authors/agents I deal with won’t think I’m some weirdo who is trying to pull a fast one on them; if I need to ask questions, finding the answers will be a lot easier because I will be going down a well-trodden path.)
Friday, 9 April
Actually, do you want to know, reader (or searcher for info, or future me), how much time I spend away from the press to do the necessary paid work that funds the press? On one hand, it seems pretty yawn-worthy to say, “I’m doing paid work today; nothing to report.” On the other, it might be quite useful to see that the day job sometimes takes priority and press things can’t get done, and that’s ok?
Today I have to do paid work instead of press work. Luckily for me, paid work, at its foundations, involves reading a book and writing a book report. Yes, I have found a way to monetize my favorite activity from 5th grade.