Wednesday, November 20, 2019

A Year in Review

Our First Year as Publishers
Rebecca Mikkelson, Editor-in-Chief Authors 4 Authors Publishing
We’ve officially been publishing books for a full year now, our first book coming out in November 2018. We’ve learned a lot about publishing, a lot about books, and a lot about ourselves and we want to share that with you. 

Books, Books, and More Books!

First and foremost, we want to talk about our wonderful authors and their books. As a micropress, we only publish ten books a year, so we choose our books very carefully. 
What will it take, might you ask?’ve got to keep our attention for one. We read books all. the. time. So if you’ve kept us wanting more until the end—and even more after it’s over—then fair chances are, we’re going to ask to contract your book with our company. 
Our Authors
We’re not just saying this because they’re our authors, but our authors are the best. Especially the ones when we were just getting on our feet—they took a chance on a brand new publisher and learned right along with us how things happened. They all have a heart for books, and we feel like we’ve found kindred spirits in all of them. 
We want to brag a little on the very first author who took a chance on us: C. Bradley Owens.
C. Bradley Owens was born in the small coal mining town of Grundy, Virginia. After a stint in the suburbs of Chicago, C. Bradley’s family settled near the even smaller coal mining town of Haysi, Virginia, where he spent most of his childhood in the woods on the side of a mountain in the heart of the coalfields of Appalachia, dreaming of a larger, more complex world.
Through reading, he found a more complex world, and as an adult, he seeks to create such a world through his fiction. He writes for all of those children sitting alone in their rooms, whether in the woods or in the city, hoping, longing, wishing for just a glimpse of another world, another possibility.
He writes for the outsider in all of us, for the kids that desperately want to fit in but consistently find that they cannot for whatever reason, and he writes to let everyone know that, no matter what age or condition of birth, they are not alone on that mountainside or in that forest or in that apartment building or in that house in the suburbs.
Our Books
We specialize in escapist fiction, and our stories range from shorts to epics. At the moment, we have eight short stories—soon to be nine—and twelve novels published. And that’s just the start. We’ve been lucky enough to have our 2020 and 2021 calendar fill up quickly, and we’re working on our 2022 calendar as we speak. 
But before we take too long puffing ourselves up, we want to go back to Owens and talk a little about his book, The First Story:
Matt lives to write stories. And those stories might be the only thing keeping his best friend alive after school bullies brutally attack him for being gay. At the side of John’s hospital bed, Matt weaves together tales in the hopes of waking him from his coma before it’s too late...
Storytelling itself comes to life in the world of Creativity. When unexpected changes cause chaos there, personified character archetypes known as Aspects must find the source before everything they know is lost. They suspect that someone has stolen the most powerful thing in all of Creativity: the First Story. But who is powerful enough to wield it?
Follow the Aspects as they journey through an ever-changing series of folktales, ghost-stories, tragedies, comedies, classic fantasy, and modern science fiction to piece the clues together. If the Aspects cannot trust in reality—or even their own memories—can they work together to find the thief and restore their world?

What we’ve learned about publishing

Guys. Publishing is hard. We’ll be straight with you—it’s very hard and all time-consuming. There isn’t a single day where we don’t think about what more we can be doing for our authors and how can we be better for them, but there are only twenty-four hours in a day. 
We know the query process is hard for authors—we’re authors ourselves, and it’s nerve-racking waiting to see if an agent or a publisher will accept or reject your manuscript. But what you might not know is that it’s hard on the agents and the publishers too. There are a couple of reasons, one of which you might not expect: the abuse from authors who get rejected. You can get yelled at in emails saying you don’t know what you’re talking about, and don’t you know their work has been lauded elsewhere? You can be called anything from stupid to unprofessional and cruel and be blasted on social media for sympathy likes when you tell authors what you found in their work you thought was an issue. On the other side of that coin, there are authors who will genuinely thank you for taking the time to even bother critiquing their work.
The second, and even harder part, is having to reject books that are good. As a micro-press, we have very limited space for what we can publish per year, and that means sometimes having to reject books that are good. 
Editing and Proofreading
This takes a lot longer than you might think. The whole publishing process takes a lot longer than you might think, honestly. To get a thorough job done, you’ll need at least two passes in both editing and proofreading by your respective editors, and even then, you’ll still need a continuity reader because after reading a book so many times, the editors can become blind to some of the issues. 
Getting Reviews
You would think that this is an easy thing to get; our authors are amazing, and they write good quality work. Getting reviews should be a breeze, right? Wrong. It takes a lot of work, getting reviews, finding good ARC readers, and getting enough to trigger those good ol’ Amazon algorithms to get your book viewed more. 

What we’ve learned about ourselves

Starting and running this company has been a life-changing experience for all of us. I, personally, have learned a lot more compassion...and tact. Tact was the hardest and most useful thing for me to learn. But we’ve learned to appreciate the art we’ve dedicated our time and money to, even with all the unexpected roadblocks. 
No matter how long the hours get, and sometimes overwhelm us, we would never quit, because we get to help our authors achieve their dreams, and it’s such an honor and privilege to do it. 

We’ll be taking a break from next week’s blog post for Thanksgiving, but join us in two weeks for an interview with A4A author, B. B. Morgan, on her upcoming book Hard as Stone

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