Garn Press Authors are Participants in the Shift from Old Publishing to New Publishing
In 2015 an Authors United letter noted: “Today a single company, Amazon, has gained unprecedented power over America’s market for books.” A post on bookweb.org states, “The authors point out that Amazon now controls the sale of more than 75 percent of online sales of physical books; more than 65 percent of e-book sales; more than 40 percent of sales of new books; and about 85 percent of e-book sales of self-published titles.”
Within this often hostile environment the shift to new publishing is changing the relationships between publishers and authors. Publishers expect more of their authors and authors expect more of their publishers. Both expect the other to have a dynamic social media presence, in a digital environment in which the behemoth, Amazon, holds the real power.
Much has been written about the tension between publishers and authors, but at Garn Press the members of the leadership team considers themselves advocates for authors.
One example is that every effort is made by Garn Press to make the publisher-author relationship collaborative. With regard to the preparation and copyediting of manuscripts through actual book production, Garn authors have much more “say” than at a traditional press, and many decisions are made collaboratively.
A second example of the collaborative efforts of both publisher and author is in book promotion, and in this regard both publisher and author are blazing a trail.
At Garn Press we have learned that there are six key elements to an author’s collaborative efforts with the publisher in the promotion of a nonfiction or fiction book:
Active participation by the author on multiple social media sites. This is an overarching category and it is essential that it be given the very highest priority.
At Garn Press we have found that every author has a unique social media presence, which combines a variety of social media elements in highly original ways. These elements include: Facebook and Twitter, and also the Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads websites.
Garn authors have all responded to the challenge of a creating a social media presence, and while some authors have established dynamic relationships with readers, other authors are just at the beginning of the process. For example, Anthony Cody has been actively engaged on social media and launched in August of 2014, Anthony Cody’s Living in Dialogue.
The author can be instrumental in providing the publisher with opportunities to promote a book.
If we stay with Anthony Cody for a moment, one of the benefits in the promotion of The Educator and The Oligarch has been the permission Anthony has given the Press to syndicate blog posts that he publishes on Living in Dialogue. Blog posts are republished on the Garn Press website and then reposted again on Facebook and Twitter. Thus a dynamic synergistic social media environment has been established that highlights Anthony’s extraordinary efforts on behalf of teachers and shines a light on his award winning book: The Educator and The Oligarch.
Similar dynamic interactions take place with Paul Thomas, and Garn Press makes the most of every opportunity to bring national and international attention to his brilliant book, Beware the Road Builders: Literature as Resistance, and to his research and writing on his blog Radical Scholarship that sustains so many within the educational community as well as many member of the general public. Once again, Garn Press syndicates Paul’s blog and uses the opportunity to bring attention to the issues that Paul cares about and Garn does too.
The author can play a key role in obtaining social media reviews.
There is general consensus within the publishing industry that a book needs between 20-30 high rating reader reviews on social media sites for it to gain the attention required for a book to become “a best seller”. There is also an understanding that however good the reader reviews are, a major review in a prestigious newspaper or literary magazine is also required.
Make no mistake, getting 20-30 reader reviews is not an easy undertaking. As one author said a few days ago “even when people say they love the book and they are going to write they often do not follow through. It seems such a trivial thing, but it is not.”
Some Garn authors have no problem pursuing reviews while others find reviewers difficult to pursue. Our own observations suggest there is an evolution to the process, and that authors who are reluctant to pursue reviews find it easier to pursue them once a few reviews are posted on the various social media sites.
The bottom line is that the greatest gift a reader can give to an author is a review. It doesn’t have to be a “good” review just a sincere one. All thoughtful reviews are worth receiving and there is always something to be learned from them.
At Garn we often advise authors to visit the Amazon or Goodreads sites of other Garn authors to learn more about the interactions between authors and readers and especially about the review process. Ruth Finnegan’s Amazon U.K. and U.S. reviews for Black Inked Pearl are well worth reading!
The author has a key role to play in giving book talks, readings, and interviews.
All Garn Press authors participate in book talks and readings, and most give interviews, with the interview of David Joseph Kolb on NPR by Shelley Irwin being the quintessential author interview that is readily available for everyone to listen to. David has given book talks at Barnes and Noble and local bookstores in Michigan, and he will be travelling to New England in 2016 with the intention of talking about Devil Knows in the geographic location in which the novel is set.
For each author it is a matter of opportunity and interest – both the authors and the readers. A review of Anthony Cody’s book appearances illustrates this point. Anthony has given two talks about The Educator and the Oligarch at Copperfield Books in Santa Rosa, and also at Laurel Books in Oakland, California. He has also given a book talk at The Dolphin Bookshop in Port Washington, Long Island, at a time when he was in Brooklyn to talk about his book at a conference held in a public school in Brooklyn. Anthony has spoken about The Educator and the Oligarch, to the Boston Teachers Union in Boston, Mass, at a PD gathering of the New York Performance Standards Consortium, New York, NY, the University of Georgia, Athens, GA, and so on.
The critical point is that even when the talk, such as the one Anthony gave at the University of Georgia, has the spotlight on his advocacy and activism, he also makes sure that the interest in The Educator and the Oligarch is sustained.
The author plays a key role by establishing real and much appreciated relationships with readers.
Authors who work hard to establish positive relationships with readers benefit in many different ways from these genuine efforts. At Garn we are always seeking ways to create opportunities for authors and readers to interact – whether at a reader event or through a Goodreads giveaway. Whatever we can do to facilitate the process we will do.
Fortunately social media can enhance these opportunities for authors, and all Garn authors are encouraged to establish author pages on Amazon and Goodreads, and to have an active presence on Facebook and Twitter.
The author has many opportunities to make a unique contribution to the promotion and marketing of both nonfiction and fiction books.
The life circumstances of authors provide unique opportunities for them to create ways of sharing their writing. Anthony Cody’s Living in Dialogue and Paul Thomas’s Radical Scholar websites are examples of these opportunities, but there are many others. Esther Fine celebrated the publication of Raising Peacemakers in a bookstore in the community in which her 22-year study on children as peacemakers took place.
Curt Dudley Marling, who is a member of the CELT community, was invited by the scholarly organization to give a keynote address based on his ground-breaking book Preparing the Nation’s Teachers to Teach Reading: A Manifesto in Defense of “Teacher Educators Like Me. And CELT has hosted book signings for Curt, Ken Goodman (The Smart One: A Grandfather’s Tale; What’s Whole in Whole Language in the 21st Century?), Anthony Cody (The Educator and the Oligarch), and Denny Taylor (Rosie’s Umbrella and Save Our Children, Save Our School, and Pearson Broke the Golden Rule).
Ruth Finnegan has created her own media campaign for Black Inked Pearl and she deserves high praise for her extraordinary efforts. Ruth has been active on all social media sites and she has hosted a reception at the British Academy with copies of Black Inked Pearl provided by Garn Press. The crowd was renowned within literary and academic circles in the U.K., and Ruth says they all enjoyed the “wine, nibbles and special desserts” leaving with copies of Black Inked Pearl and specially designed bookmarks.
Other celebrations are underway. Marty Lee is holding a celebration at the end of February for Bloody Lane in the community room at the apartment building where he lives in New York and Garn Press is again gifting books for the celebration.
Garn Press is Looking Forward to Continued Success in 2016
In 2016 Garn Press is focused on: (1) publishing great books; (2) initiating special projects to expand the catalogue; and (3) increasing attention to promotion and sales. At Garn we are looking forward to living up to the mission of promoting ethical publishing, whether in “Garn eBook singles” (a new initiative) or perfecting Garn’s publication of major works of nonfiction and fiction.
At Garn we are keenly aware of the importance of increasing the frequency of the press releases and announcements that we send to major media outlets. We will continue to work closely with authors and provide guidance and encouragement to all author initiatives to promote their books. We will continue to seek the prestigious reviews that are essential for books to achieve national and international attention. Similarly, we will continue to submit both Garn nonfiction and fiction books for literary awards – 30 award submissions have been made so far in 2015 and 2016.
Finally, there is great excitement at Garn Press about the imminent publication of three new books by Garn Press authors.
John Ashbery, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award, writes:
Geoff Ward’s glitteringly funny and scary novel sends his hero Miles on a wild pursuit, through this world and the next, of one of only three known copies of the rarest book in existence. Like the object of his obsessive quest, You’re Not Dead is both supreme fiction and grail, a one-off exemplar of a lost original.
You’re Not Dead is the first volume of The Midnight Books and the description of the first volume by John Ashbery as “supreme fiction and grail” is an apt description. Geoff Ward has written the second in the series and is presently working on the third. The novels are totally original and we expect great things for them and for Geoff Ward.
Geoff Ward will travel to the U.S. in late August or early September 2016, and Garn Press will celebrate his literary achievement with a reception at the Rare Books Room at the legendary Strand Book Store in New York.
The first nonfiction book Garn will publish in 2016 is A Parent’s Guide to Public Education in the 21st Century: Navigating Education Reform to Get the Best Education for My Child, by Russ Walsh.
Carol Corbett Burris, Executive Director of the Network for Public Education writes in her review of Russ’s timely book:
When a parent walks their kindergartener through a schoolhouse door for the first time, their heart goes with them. They want to feel secure that they are entrusting their child to a learning environment in which they will thrive. As they listen to sensational reports about “failing schools”, it is no wonder that many parents feel doubt.
That is why Russ Walsh’s Parent’s Guide is a must read for any parent who is trying to make the best educational decision for their children. It is a clear, thoughtful response that will give parents wisdom, confidence and ease. Walsh is not only a professional, lifelong educator, he is a beautiful writer whose style is thoughtful, clear and easy to read. A Parent’s Guide is the best guide for anyone who cares about public schools.
And Don Ambrose, Editor, Roeper Review, writes:
Russ Walsh is a knowledgeable, insightful critic of the dogmatic school reformers who are driving American education back toward the 19th century instead of ahead into the 21st. His analyses are on par with those of Diane Ravitch, David Berliner, and Yong Zhao.
Garn Press will publish A Parent’s Guide to Public Education in the 21st Century in March, 2016.
One last brave and marvelous book ends this report. 5-13: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Survival by Nancy Rankie Shelton.
In 5-13: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Survival, the realities of sharing life and death exemplify what it means to live and to love and will resonate with readers. In 5-13 Nancy Rankie Shelton encourages readers to overcome their fears of cancer, remain steadfast and loving, survive the death of a loved one, and continue living. 5-13 is a brave love story beautifully written, and Garn Press is privileged to publish this important literary as well as informative work.
At Garn “Hope” has come to mean Opportunity and Possibility in times of Emergency. “Where’s the hope?” we constantly ask. How does this book inspire positive action? We encourage you to visit the Garn Press website because not all books have been mentioned in this report. And we end with hope for the future and a final link, this time to a blog post about the press that supports and complements this report.
At Garn we wish you great books and great reading experiences. Remain brave, be fearless, and don’t forget to have fun in these most challenging of times.
The secret of the success of Garn Press is our commitment to people – not only to our readers, and the scientists, educators, and scholars whose books we publish, but also to the many individuals and organizations that support the Press. Read more.
One insight gleaned by Garn in the past two years is that it is more difficult to move from “old publishing” to “new publishing” than it is to actually establish a new publishing company. Garn is up for the challenge of new publishing. The Press has a firm philosophical foundation. Read Part Two.
Good and bad, 2016 is going to be an incredible year. At Garn Press we promise our authors and readers that we will hold fast to our mission to publish great books on: (1) people and the planet; (2) people and society; and (3) imagination and the human spirit. Always, central to Garn’s mission is making Earth a child safe zone. Read more.