Thursday, April 28, 2016

Guest Post by Ellie Sipila of Common Deer Press

Common Deer Press
The Business Edition

I’ve been writing a lot of posts lately about myself, Common Deer, and how we hooked up. I was thinking I might do something a little different here today to tell you about us, but also to help you see what we’re about, our hopes for the company, and a bit about the business side of publishing.

Common Deer Press is an indie publisher that is still very traditional in the way it operates. We are made up of writers and book enthusiasts who have taken the leap from the author side of the desk to the publisher side. We know what you, the author, has been through. We know how hard it is to write a book. We also know the weird phenomena that exists in some corners of the publishing industry that says publishers reject manuscripts on a whim because they have a “pass” quota to uphold. Today, I want to set the record straight.

Basically, dear authors, that’s not true. We love you. We need you. But this is a one-sided relationship. You do not need us. Those are just the facts. Without writers, publishers would have no books. Without books, we would have no means to make…more books. In today’s day and age, authors can self-publish, though …don’t get me STARTED on the misconceptions there. However, the point is, making and selling books is our business. We need writers, we love good writing, but we also need to be selective.

This may not be the case for larger houses, but at a press like Common Deer where everything is small and we sharply feel every bump and curve in the road, every time we sign a new contract, we are taking a huge gamble. If you’ve ever tried self-publishing, you will know that, though it is free to upload your book onto Createspace or some such site, it should NOT have been free to produce that book. Editing is a great expense, as is formatting, cover art, digital book conversion, not to even mention all the challenges issued by promotion and marketing. Picture book authors, you’re in a league of your own with regards to production expenses. We’re talking, for all self-publishing authors, an investment that will likely cross into the thousands. Well, guess what? Even with an in-house staff, it’s the same for publishers.

Rest assured, darling authors, that our goals are the same. We both want your manuscript to be the one. We want to make your book stunningly clever inside and out, market it to perfection, and, hey, since we’re dreaming, we want to sell the movie rights too—maybe see an action figure coming out of it. But it costs us a great deal to make those books. So if we take a chance and the book flops… not only do the bills go unpaid, but it looks bad on our reputation, and reputation is everything in this business. When we sign you, we are staking our company on you.

Common Deer is all about acceptance and nonjudgement and fairness. Our whole goal in the publishing biz is to take on books others would not consider because they are not mainstream enough. We want your weird—we want to put our logo on the spine of your slightly wacky, definitely well-written books no matter the genre. We see this as a partnership, not a one-up, one-down type thing. It’s sad that we can’t take every manuscript that crosses our desk, but this is the reality. We do not want to reject you. So give us some awesome, okay?

* * *

Ellie Sipila is a top tier book nerd who decided to make words her life. After completing the Publishing program at Ryerson University, Ellie opened her own small business, Move to the Write, at which she offered (and still does offer) her services in editing, book design, and print and digital book production. Shortly thereafter, she began working in-house at a small American press, where she managed to push her nose into the business of all kinds of wonderful books. Now she is the publisher of Common Deer Press, where she plans to create books so awesome, they may be the cause of the apocalypse.

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  1. Yes, too often new authors seem to think of editors/publishing houses/agents as obstacles getting in the way. In actuality, all of them are looking for that special manuscript that they can get behind. They WANT your manuscript to be the one. That's why it's so important for us to hone our craft. Great guest post!

  2. Our books are like our children, we just can't understand why the world can't love them and see their brilliance like we do. And honestly, I'm impressed when a reader takes a $4 gamble on my book, much less when a publisher is willing to put money in it.

  3. Great post. It is always so informative to read things from a publishers POV. :)

  4. Great post. It's nice to hear from "the other side". ;)


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