So by now you’ve seen the news about my new publishing venture, Argonautica Press, in cahoots with my mate Jason Fischer. This is basically the two of us teaming up to take control of our respective backlists and, I guess you’d say, side-lists. Or you could put it this way: we’re self-publishing our books under a collective banner.
Fisch and I have been discussing this for a good couple of years now. I’m not sure but I think it was JF.1’s idea to self-publish some work, initially, and I barged in and demanded he let me participate as well.
So what’s the deal? Am I going Full Indie?
Well, no. Neither Fisch nor I are abandoning traditional publishing. I’ve had a terrific time working with IFWG Australia over the last year for my novel Faerie Apocalypse, and I hope to continue and expand that relationship in the future.
This is just the pair of us doing what many other peers have done–becoming hybrid authors, with one foot in trad publishing and the other in the self publishing world.
I have been watching the way that indie authors have been running their businesses over the last few years and I’ve been incredibly impressed with the quality of work they are putting out, which is often riskier and more interesting that the work put out by the Big Four publishers. Two of my favourite books in 2018 were self-published and five years ago I honestly never would have believed it.
Having full control of the product, from end to end, gives us a lot of advantages and, while there is obviously an extra workload, this will allay some of the frustrations I’ve had with traditional publishing for many years now. In this paradigm I control when the books are released, and how. I get to see how they are performing in real time. I get to control the price point and the position of the logo on the spine and a million other things that are impossible when there is a publisher and a distributor standing between you and the customer. If I want to do a giveaway or a sale or to bundle my books with someone else’s, I can do that without having to ask someone else to make it happen.
These are books that mean a lot to me; they’re not abandoned bottom drawer efforts that I’m trying to make a buck from. I worked on Bloody Waters for a decade and, after a rollercoaster journey to publication, the book made an awards shortlist. I’ll talk about Bloody Waters more in a follow-up post but I do want to mention that I have had two other small-medium sized publishers approach me about taking the book onto their lists since the book first came out–so I’m not self-publishing now for lack of options.
The same is true for Shadowmancy, which I will also be releasing under Argonautica Press. The book was signed to a publisher before it was even finished and, while that publisher collapsed before the book could come out (more or less), it’s hardly an unwanted manuscript I failed to sell. The truth is that I have been sitting on it waiting to get this venture up and running, because it’s a perfect, weird little project and I already have of the assets under my control, from the cover and design to the lavish interior art by my old mucker Nic Hunter.
So what happens now? We’ll release some books and see if we can make a go of it. I have some experience with the mechanics of publishing from my old comics imprint, Black Glass Press, and while that business has operated more like a production studio than a publisher for a number of years I think I’ve learned a few things about what not to do. I am also much better aware of my own limitations. I’m better suited to staying behind the curtain–setting up print runs and running the website–while Fisch is much really good at getting in people’s faces and promoting stuff. Hopefully we can muddle through this together. At the very least, we’ll have fun putting out some crazy weird genre fiction.
Wish us luck–we are now Hybrid As Fuck.*
I’m sure JF.1 would have a terrible pun but all I got is a swearword and a soon-to-be-dated pop culture reference.