Happy Monday everyone! I hope the beginning of your week is going well. Today I have the second half of my interview with Matt Sinclair of Elephant’s Bookshelf Press. Make sure to check out this publishing house's anthologies, Spring Fevers and The Fall: Tales from the Apocalypse and submit a story for the next installment in the series—click here for more information. Without further ado, here is part two:
How do you market books? (Question comes from an indie author.)
That’s a great question. The answer is ongoing and evolving. Of course, we utilize things like Twitter and Facebook and other forms of social media to help build awareness of our work and that of our writers. There’s more we can do in both those places, but I think it can get saturated, too. These are obvious forms of promotion. But marketing and promotion are not the same. We’ve been experimenting with how to position the anthologies. It’s a challenge, because I don’t want to mislead readers. I don’t want to suggest that all stories are romance, for example, because that’s far from true. But romance has been a part of what we’ve published since the beginning. So we’re trying a variety of approaches to see what works best. One thing that will help will be publishing novels. They’ll be more clear-cut in terms of genre.
So far, the best way for us to build an audience has been involving the writers. Each writer helps to promote the collection, and this has really extended our name. Ryan Graudin, R.C. Lewis, and Mindy McGinnis have major debuts coming up in the next year, year-and-a-half. When people see those novels, we need them to also see other places where this writer has been published. So we’ll be doing what we can to help promote them as a marketing device to attract readers and customers to the EBP anthologies. We literally have published writers from all over the United States and a couple from outside the U.S. “The Last Sacrifice,” by Judy Croome, is being considered for the Caine Prize for fiction by African writers. And I will continue to submit stories – and our covers – for consideration for other prizes.
What can an author do to catch your attention?
The easy answer is to write well. But the best way to catch our attention right now is to submit a story for consideration in an anthology. We’ll decide whether it meets our standards of quality and fits the collection we’re working on. One of the things that caught our attention in The Fall was to not write the “typical” apocalyptic story. We published a few zombie stories, for example, but I’d argue that none of them depicted the “typical” zombie attack. (I can’t believe I just said that.) In Ryan Graudin’s “Hairline Cracks,” for instance, the heart of the story was the couple involved, and the zombification of the narrator was a means to address the challenges of their relationship. At least initially, we expect to draw our novelists from among the short story writers we publish.
Any advice for writers?
Know your craft and make sure your work deserves to be published. Every aspiring writer must be able to answer the simple question of why should someone pay for the work they are selling. The emergence of new tools in publishing makes it easier to see your name in print, but that still isn’t the reason for publishing. Nor is publishing simply about making some money. Elephant’s Bookshelf Press aims to help build visibility for writers of quality. For us to succeed means writers are developing and reaching their audience. We’ll help them along that path, but the quality of the writing needs to be there from the outset.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I’d like to thank you for your time and willingness to share what we’re doing – and for your great questions. I’m a staunch believer that writers, editors, and even publishers need to support each other and develop as a community. We’re all different, but our goals are essentially similar. So, thank you!
Thank you too Matt! And I agree, the writing, editing, and publishing community thrives by working together!