Lou Johnson used to run a mainstream book publishing house of the type aspiring authors dream about signing with.
Now the ex-managing director of Simon & Schuster Australia is applying her 25-year experience in a new publishing venture which seeks to redefine the relationship between authors and publisher.
The Author People takes a disruptive approach to the traditional relationship, where authors write and publishers look after the business stuff.
And it builds on the self-publishing opportunities now available the market where just about anyone can create an ebook and get it listed on a sales platform or two, including Amazon, the big player.
There are some notable successes in the digital self-publishing route, such as Hugh Howey, who started self publishing, got a lot of readers, and then got picked up by mainstream publishers.
However, these successes are rare. A lot of self-published works just don’t have the polish of a book with a traditional publisher. They are usually easily identified as poorly edited and presented.
What’s needed is something sitting between self-publishing, where the author gets involved in the design and marketing, and the old style publisher who knows where to find readers.
With The Author People, Lou Johnson is providing her mainstream book expertise, her skills at polishing a manuscript and creating an end product people want to buy.
This includes good editing, design and marketing, all of which require expert-level skills, across physical books, ebooks and audio.
There’s no charge but Johnson won’t just take on anyone. She needs to believe in the project. The author and the publisher then agree on a revenue split.
“We know that people’s love affair with authors and their books is as strong as ever but the way in which they discover, share, buy and interact with them is changing, driven by technology and the rise in social networking and online member communities,” says Johnson.
“We have found that authors are now looking for an alternative and more collaborative approach from their publishers.
“That’s exactly where The Author People come in; we want to walk beside authors and are firmly committed to placing the relationship between them and their audiences at the heart of all we do, supporting the most direct, and deepest relationship between them.”
The Author People will focus on three core content areas: lived experience (memoirs, autobiographies or shared experiences), stories to entertain (fiction), and knowledge to share (professional advice or personal development).
One of the first projects is a memoir from Adrian Simon, son of Warren Fellows, the infamous heroin smuggler who was imprisoned in Bangkwang Prison in Bangkok and later wrote the best‐selling book The Damage Done.
The Author People is now publishing Adrian’s side of the story with his honest memoir Milk-Blood: Growing Up The Son Of A Convicted Drug Trafficker.
Adrian Simon says: “One of my challenges has been finding the right way to tell this story. For me to tell it the way it had to be told, I needed a partner with a progressive and disruptive approach. With clear vision and fresh thinking, The Author People have helped me craft my story to a level that exceeded my hopes. It feels like a perfect union, and I love that they are thinking differently, meeting market needs, staying a step ahead and connecting everyday people with remarkable stories.”
The Author People will also be publishing ABC Northern Tasmania’s radio host Polly McGee’s novel, Dogs of India, which draws on the complex, chaotic and colourful tradition of Indian storytelling in a spicy literary blend of Animal Farm Vs Holy Cow via Bollywood.
Ebook editions for both titles are available via Kindle and Apple’s iBooks with physical copies available in November
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