Friday, February 15, 2013

Small Press 411: Entangled Publishing

Bio: Liz Pelletier is co-founder and managing partner of Savvy Media Services, which owns Savvy Authors, Savvy Readers, and Entangled Publishing. In addition to running a successful online writing community, Liz teaches courses on editing, query writing, and contract negotiations. She has also held board positions for various writing associations, managed and organized several writing conferences, and hosted a variety of free educational workshops for aspiring and established authors. Although she served part-time for twenty years as the editor for a broadly-circulated, weekly industry newspaper, she ran her own successful freelance consulting business for more than twenty years, often hired to leverage technological advances and more efficient workflow designs to increase profit margins. She uses these same skills to oversee all aspects of book production and distribution at Entangled. Liz also maintains her own stable of authors whom she either personally edits or works with an Associate Editor as a guiding influence and mentor. Find her on Twitter at @Liz_Pelletier. 

  Why does Entangled Publishing exist? 

Entangled Publishing is a boutique publisher of romantic novels. We are committed to paying our authors a fair royalty for their talent and hard work, and equally committed to paying our employees similarly. All of our employees earn a percentage of book sales and are therefore motivated to make each and every book an extraordinary read.

What’s your process of deciding to take on a project? 

We consider the voice, concept, and market for each title before we make an offer to acquire. Occasionally we acquire a book solely based on voice, knowing the story will require extra editing time to flesh out. Or we may love a concept and feel we can really sell that to our sales force at Macmillan. Or we might feel this particular genre is hot right now or will be soon, and we want to capitalize on this expectation. The perfect storm is when we find a submission with all three!

What do you think is the biggest misconception surrounding small presses? 

The biggest misconception surrounding small presses is that the effort put into every book is small. Quite the contrary. Our lists are smaller, making every book we publish important to the overall success of the company.

What are the benefits of publishing with a small press? What are the disadvantages? 

Some of the greatest advantages of publishing with a small press is they typically pay higher royalties, they're motivated to not let a title underperform, and you can usually communicate directly with anyone on your team. Some disadvantages though are marketing budgets are not as large as NY's can be, nor is the distribution reach in print equal with NY's market penetration.

What’s the biggest advantage between signing with Entangled (or another press) and self-publishing? What about signing with EP and a big/medium sized house? 

The biggest advantage Entangled has over a self-publishing decision is you have an entire team dedicated to making your book a success with a wide variety of toolsets and market intelligence. Self-published authors often forget to add value to their time, assuming if they earned $10,000 in revenue on their book it was all profit. Not true. Your time has value as do the additional expenses you may have incurred to produce your title such as hiring an editor, buying stock images for your blog tour buttons, etc but also including simply the number of hours you spent producing your title. For about what you'd spend on your own you gain an entire team doing that work for you and freeing the author up to do what they do best: write. Now, if a book takes off and sales grow substantially they would have certainly netted more self-publishing, but wouldn't we all kill for a crystal ball to know which book is going to be the next 50 Shades?

Many of our authors also employ a dual strategy of signing with Entangled as well as a NY publisher. We often encourage this strategy as NY comes with bigger marketing budgets and market reach on print books, so the author greatly benefits from having two publishers helping simultaneously develop their brand. For young adult authors especially, this is a smart strategy. In general, authors should always to try to sign their next book with a larger, not smaller, publisher. Being spread out across multiple micro publishers is rarely a smart career plan as no one publisher has enough titles with you to bump your marketing budget.

What do you think the biggest obstacle an author at Entangled (or another press) has to face?

Balancing the many hats an author must wear: writer, marketer, public persona. No matter which press you decide to publish with, authors will be wearing all of these hats in varying degrees.

A lot of people say small presses are only a stepping-stone to the "big six." What role do you think Entangled fills in the publishing world?

I'd like to think we're an alternative to "big six". ; )

Does Entangled still see sales in print books--or are sales more prominent in e-book?

One quarter of Entangled's revenue last was in print sales. The biggest difference we're seeing is a handful of books were profitable in print, but those that were more than made up for the losses with the other titles. It's definitely more difficult to be successful in print.

What is your marketing system?

We have a huge marketing department of more than 30 professionals serving in a variety of capacities from junior publicist to senior to publicity directors, branding specialists, an art director overseeing an art department (advertising and covers), etc. Each participant plays a distinct and important role in marketing and publicizing our authors' books.

What is the editing process at Entangled? 

We use the standard three pass editing process popular in NY, but we also utilize a required Q&A step in which every editorial director reviews and critiques a book prior to release. Editors are required to evaluate these comments and incorporate necessary changes into the final work before it is sent off to copy editors. Then we have galley proofs and proof readers.

What is your ratio of print books to e-books?

We have 12 imprints, two of which are print.

Does signing with a small press inhibit an author from signing with a bigger press later? What about an agent?

No, it doesn't. Many authors sign with smaller presses to help them build a platform before they become more attractive to NY.

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