Thank you so much for featuring today – we’ve been watching your website grow and clearly you are a very hard-working and determined company.
Thank you Linn. I am delighted to be here today. Since founding Inkspell Publishing in Jan 2012, it’s been a very exciting ride for all of us at Inkspell. Armed with just guts, determination and an overriding need to give fair attention to authors, our team has done a fabulous job in growing from 0 to almost 20 fabulous books in just 7 months.
As a new digital first publishing company, what has been the most exciting part for you in the development of your company and the brand?
The most exciting part has to be the discovery of our readers. When we started out, no one knew Inkspell Publishing. However, we endeavoured to get our presence known through reaching out to scores of bloggers and websites, increasing awareness of our books and brand. It amazed me to see the response. Right from our first book, Always You (a contemporary romance), every book has received amazing reader response. They are dedicated to books, and loyal to us and are so supportive. I cannot imagine where we would be without their enthusiastic support. Every email from our readers excites me. They do it selflessly and for the love of books and we love them!
This is one of the best parts of this digital revolution in books. It is a lot easier to reach out to the reader and show them our books. But, it is a delicate relationship as well. We are a lot more exposed in our errors too and Inkspell works very hard to keep this relationship secure.
You specialise in romance, YA and fantasy fiction – do you have any plans to expand your range of genres in the future, or do you see yourself as concentrating on these specific areas of the market for the foreseeable future?
Inkspell focuses on women readers. More than half of fiction readers are women and 99% of Inkspell books readers are women. Generally speaking, romance, YA and fantasy is what they enjoy most. We are intrigued by other genres like erotica but we have no plans right now to foray in to it, although we are also looking for sensual (not erotica) contemporary romance.
We are however looking for strong YA contemporary novels now. I think there is a lot of talent out there in that genre and readers love them too.
We are great ‘book snugglers’ ourselves and it’s great to see that you publish everything in ebook and paperback. Do you think there will ever come a point when paperback becomes less attractive to digital first publishers like yourselves because of the cost implications?
Costs are huge for prints especially when getting your feet in to physical bookstores is a problem. We have been successful in getting some of our books in to local bookstores, and signings at Barnes & Nobles stores in the past but it’s been a difficult journey especially because we do POD. Small publishers tend to go for POD to save costs but it ends up as a costly route. And for offset printing, we need volumes. So, to answer your question, yes, paperbacks are less attractive if we look at costs.
Inkspell is closely monitoring the paperback sales of our books and we still find ebooks selling far more than paperbacks. But I do not see Inkspell not doing paperbacks at all in the future. We might alter our strategy but paperbacks will continue to be one of our core offerings to authors.
In today’s market online advertising and social media are the main thrust for an author. Loveahappyending.com featured authors are a family who mutually support each other and our ethos is one for all and all for one. How important do you think it is that authors grab opportunities that come along to join projects like ours?
I cannot stress enough. It is critical for authors to have this network. Books of authors who are mingling with readers and out there are the ones who are successful. As I said above, we are so much closer to the readers now. It is an opportunity that an author cannot and should not miss. Some still feel that authors should only write and not concern themselves about promotions but we cannot avoid the reality forever. It’s a mad competition out there and one has to participate to win.
Obviously you are putting a huge amount of time and resource into ensuring the highest standards and building the Inkspell Publishing brand as a focus to get interest for your authors. How important do you think it is that authors you take on understand their role within the overall process and are prepared to hit the ground running?
We consider authors as part of our team. Everyone puts in a lot of time and effort to make the book best possible finished product and that includes right from acquisition to till after the release. There is a lot that the team, books and authors go through during that time – contracts, editing rounds, cover pages, promotion plans, changes, release days, reader reviews, etc. It is an emotional ride for not just the author but the team too because each book feels like our own. I get nervous every time a book is released like it was the first one. It is very important for the author at Inkspell to feel like a part of it and work together to reach the goal. Unrealistic, big 6 expectations from the author is one that I would love to avoid. Being cognizant of the fact that we are independent publishers who work differently and fight for success every day with constraints is essential. Once the author gets that, it is a smooth ride. Inkspell provides a lot of support in every stage and takes authors feedback very seriously. I have had some wonderful times with our authors and a lot have ended up as dear friends.
What has surprised you most since you opened your doors for submissions? And what is the basic criteria you are looking for when you consider offering a new author a contract?
I have seen some shocking submissions since we started. While some just send the MS without even a hello in the email (forget about the guidelines), there are some who are straight abusive if you reject their MS. It surprises me that interested authors do not check the submission guidelines of the company before submitting. Once, I had a submission who had cc’ed 10 other publishers in the same email. He got two very rude replies from a couple of publishers. With so many submissions a day, publishing houses put in a lot of effort to sign a single contract and having such submissions only makes it harder. The worst is, they might be good manuscripts but miss out on getting any attention because they did not follow the house guidelines.
A lot of factors go in to offering a contract but basic is a good, polished story followed by the author’s social presence. We also look at how flexible the authors are to changes during editing.
Earlier this year you signed loveahappyending.com featured author Stephanie Keyes. She is a very talented new author and has been with us since we began just over a year ago. Can you tell us a little about your thoughts on her debut novel, The Star Child due for publication on September 21,2012. Is it a standalone novel or will it be a series?
I totally agree with you. Not only is Stephanie talented, she is a wonderful individual who works very hard on her books. She has an amazing network with your group and has been very helpful in all the stages of getting her book out. The Star Child is book one of the series. We hope to publish the rest of the series too.
Thank you Shilpa, it’s been interesting finding out more about Inkspell Publishing and we wish you the very best of luck for the future!
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