Getting Published: Fifty Shades Style – By Emily Foster

Almost everyone in the publishing industry is reeling at the moment at the success of the Fifty Shades of Grey series. Last week it was reported that it has become the biggest selling book since records began, selling an awesome 5.3million+ copies worldwide. Films and music soundtracks based on the trilogy are now in the making as well.

So, while those of us in the industry are wondering how we can reach those record sales, I’m sure many budding authors are also wondering how they can pull off this major achievement through their own work – the nature of content aside for now. 

One key thing to take away from this success story is its creation. Urban legend has it, the basic framework of the story had already been written as fan-fiction for the Twilight series (another crazy-popular example) and published online by the author. The story was so popular that it got picked up by a publisher and the rest is history.

If you want to attract publishers, one way to go about it is to build an audience for your writing first. Think about it: say you have a blog or a website that pulls in thousands of views every day. There is clearly already an audience for your writing, and potentially those views could translate directly into book sales. I don’t like to talk about creativity and money in this way – but it’s true that the publishing industry is suffering at the moment, and investing in a project that is guaranteed at least some return sounds much saner than investing in an idea with little else to back it up.

If that sounds like a lot more work on the part of the writer, then think of it this way: debut novelists would be lucky to receive an offer from any publisher nowadays, let alone a decent advance. If you start the marketing yourself, and build your audience, you become a much more attractive candidate, and therefore in a better position to negotiate a good deal. In fact, if you do manage to gain a decent audience, and don’t mind putting in more work yourself, you could self-publish and receive a much greater cut of the earnings. The music industry went through the digital transition earlier than we did; just a few years ago we saw artists like Kate Nash and Lily Allen find huge audiences, and eventually record deals, for their music via their independent online presence, initially self-publicising through MySpace.

So, finally, the big question remains: have you read Fifty Shades of Grey yet? 

By Emily Foster

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A Jack Of All Trades – By Emily Foster

This week at work I got into a spot of bother with my boss. He was concerned that I had been potentially sharing insider information on Limehouse Books, telling the secrets of our trade. He was annoyed because I had told people that last week, instead of working, we spent a day cleaning his flat.

Now, I should stress that I did volunteer to help him with the task. On Saturday night he hosted the Limehouse Summer party, and it was me who insisted his flat was at least vacuumed before people could be allowed in. The tidying was necessary to fit us all in. Cleaning the kitchen was just for extra sparkle.

However the experience did make me think about all the other things I do at Limehouse Books, as well as being a designer. Working for such a small company, the more you can learn a little bit of everything, the better. And, as always, there is lots to learn.

By Zfaerman

There’s fun stuff, like organising events and press coverage. This covers most of our marketing and publicity side of things – attending networking events, forging partnerships with other organisations to host events with (for wider audience reach), finding and contacting new ways to gain press coverage through newspapers, magazines, radio.

Being trained in the editorial side of things means I get to be a lot more involved in book projects than just coming from the designer’s perspective. This includes proofreading and editing at the early stages – later everything is proof read professionally by a freelancer.

Then there’s bookkeeping and managing invoices. You’d think that with such a small company keeping track of the finances would be easy, but this is much more effort than you think. We use online bookkeeping software.

There’s other little tasks that keep cropping up too: posting on Facebook and Twitter; attending meetings and liaising with anyone involved in a project, from printers to authors and potential clients; submitting books for awards; responding to any queries.

As you can see, there’s lots to do. It’s hard work, but varied, engaging and, most of the time, fun. Apart from the cleaning… 

By Emily Foster

http://uk.linkedin.com/in/emilyjaynefoster

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Limehouse Design : This Is What I Do – By Emily Foster

As a fellow creative, you will understand that not everybody understands us.

Since finishing university and making my first proper steps into the world of work, I am often asked what it is I do now. For an elderly relative, it is enough to state briefly that I am working in publishing (books have been around a long time). For my friends outside of the creative industry, this might not be enough; to them, I am the Graphic Designer, and sole creative person of the group. Even though they’re not sure what this truly means, the title seems to satisfy them.

But none of this is enough for my creative friends, nor enough for the Creatabot readers, I feel. The other creatives always seem to ask more questions; they need to know exactly what and how and why. They need the specifics. Luckily, ours is a sharing community, so here I plan to share exactly what it is I do, design-wise, at Limehouse Books.

So what is it that I do? And what does that involve?

First, the obvious. I create covers, and lay out the text, of the books. This involves some direction from my boss, the Managing Director of Limehouse Books. It involves accurate page sizes with bleeds and margins, and exporting to pdfs. It involves liaising with printers and pre-press teams who check (note: check, not fix) your file for you.

What else? There’s design for a purely digital purpose. The Limehouse magazine, for example, which is released online-only, and various digital catalogues. All of these can be seen here: http://www.slideshare.net/limehousebooks. There’s also a few other, little pieces that need to be done. Creating pack shots of books to go on our website, for example, or making an advert as a banner to go on another website. A desktop wallpaper, an event flyer, a cover image for Facebook.

However, all this stuff is still pretty standard. Loads of other companies manage their own creative output just fine. One of the hardest things about working for Limehouse is that we don’t do this with an experienced production team. We do this just us. Just me – the fresh-faced design graduate, not too much experience but eager to learn – and the Managing Director – smart but still doesn’t understand what a baseline grid is.

This sometimes makes for a very scary working day. At the moment we are preparing our next VIB – Very Important Book – to send to print. This project is different as we are producing it in collaboration with another company – so there are more people to potentially disappoint. If this wasn’t enough, we are printing not our usual two thousand copies, but ten thousand copies of this book. If this goes wrong, it will be all our (read: my) fault.

And why am I telling you all this?

I share all this for you to understand. If you feel like you’re in over your head – don’t worry, so do we. We learn as we go along. Being a designer, especially at Limehouse, is much more than knowing Indesign inside out. It’s about having motivation, about listening and learning all the time. Half of what I do now, I didn’t even dream of this time last year. And I hope I still feel the same in another year’s time. 

By Emily Foster

http://uk.linkedin.com/in/emilyjaynefoster

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The Art Of Publishing – By Emily Foster – Entry 1

I’ve been working in publishing for eight months now and one thing I’ve learnt is that there are lots of potential authors out there. It seems like every event I attend there’s an author in the making to meet, and every week I receive new emails from people pitching their prose.

Take last week for example – I was at a networking event chatting to the host when she introduced her friend, who just happens to have written a book. He launched into his spiel about a how-to guide to get into the games industry.

By now, this kind of conversation is nothing new to me. Usually I give some advice, but the response is always the same: “Will you publish me?”. Now, these are not unwelcome asks. At Limehouse Books we try to be as open as possible. We’re a very small, independent publishing house, a start-up and fully self-funded. We can’t publish everyone, but we try to help where we can. So, this time, I decided to offer something different.

I pitched him right back. I told him about our imprint, Limehouse Tower, how it’s a new outlet for writers to self-publish, whilst taking advantage of all the benefits a publisher can offer. What this means to us and the author is exceptional design, production standards and worldwide distribution channels.

It’s also the first time a trade publisher has openly created an outlet for people to promote their work that’s integrated with the running of our own Limehouse projects.

I gave him my card. He said he’d think about it and went back to the bar. Maybe I’ll hear from him. Or maybe I’ll wait to see what budding author the next event brings…

By Emily Foster

@emilyjayfoster

http://uk.linkedin.com/in/emilyjaynefoster

Emily Foster

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