Welcome, Joe. What made you go into publishing?
My biggest goal in life is to make writing and creating books my main focus, so it felt like the most logical step to take. I had all the right connections and information to get the first project (For the Night is Dark) off the ground… and after that it just took off. With each project Crystal Lake Publishing becomes more efficient and popular.
How has the eBook revolution affected your business?
Although our paperbacks are quite popular (some with interior artwork), it’s our eBooks that are selling the best. I was lucky enough to take advantage of the eBook revolution. It also saves me as a publisher a lot on posting, as I can now send dozens of review copies not only for free, but instantly. I can also do a lot more giveaways and competitions, since my expenses are limited. It’s also nice to be able to give the buyers more options, especially if that option is cheaper.
What challenges do you and your company face?
Two things, Pat, time constraints and visibility. Since I’m a full time teacher and coach, and still spend time on my own stories, it’s tough going at times. A lot of my work as a publisher/editor consists of replying on emails, building connections, reading, studying the market, connecting with fans and reviewers, as well as searching the internet for readers, whether they’re on blogs or review sites. I’m also spending a lot of time reading up on social media and online marketing, while working on my own craft.
Which brings me to the second problem, getting noticed. It doesn’t help publishing top quality books with gripping stories and covers if no one knows about them. So I spend a lot of time on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads and various other forums, not just advertising the books, but establishing a brand. It takes time, but every bit forward is a step in the right direction.
What is the easiest part of being a publisher?
Meeting new people, whether they’re readers writing reviews, authors sending me their biographies or fans just telling me how much they love the company and what we’re doing. I’m a very approachable publisher (although we work on an invite-only basis), and I love chatting with people online. I do a bit of freelance editing to fund some of the projects, but the joy of helping an author with their next book and sharing my knowledge is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.
I have to add that, although Crystal Lake Publishing is invite-only, I am open to authors/artists sending me their biographies with links to their work. I love to study authors, see how they progress, and then bring a bunch of them together for a suitable project. I like introducing authors to each other, as well, which in the long run not only improves the project we’re working on, but manages to bring us all together as a kind of literary family or fellowship (sounds corny, right?).
What are your goals for the company, your authors, and your readers?
I’d have to say more high-quality books in various formats, including hardcover and audiobooks. My main goal at the moment is to make people aware of the company and what we represent, and in doing that introduce the reading public to the talented authors out there.
What are your future plans? What will you bring to the literary world besides more stories?
Entertainment and of course scary books by top-notch and up-and-coming authors. I already mentioned venturing into audiobooks and hardcovers, but I’m also working on presenting our books in all types of eBooks. I’m also working on a few top-secret projects with recognized authors, as well as working on my second book.
Who knows where it will end or what direction Crystal Lake Publishing will go into next. I see thrillers and fantasy in the near future, as well as a few YA books.
As the company grows, my main goal (yes, I have a lot of main goals) will be to pay the authors and artists what they deserve: a lot!
Who are the authors you have published so far?
When it comes to short story collection and novellas, I’ve published Daniel I. Russell, Paul Kane, Kevin Lucia and Gary McMahon. Future projects include William Meikle and two surprise authors for 2014 (top secret, for now).
Can we find your books in stores or are they just online?
Amazon is our main supplier, but the books are available to all online and brick and mortar bookstores. I’m also working on getting the books into South African stores and online retailers, thus introducing our authors to a horror-loving South African market.
Why should readers check out the books you publish?
Not only will they travel out of the ordinary day-to-day life on a journey of fantasy and wonder, but they’ll be entertained, scared, surprised and awed, wanting more yet feeling satisfied, and feeling like part of the Crystal Lake family.
How do you acquire your talent?
As I mentioned, I work on an invite-only basis, but I also accept author biographies and recommendations by others. I keep my eye on the current authors and those making positive waves. I’ll read their work and make notes, and once I have a theme and a cover, I’ll start emailing folks, either for anthologies, collections or novellas. So if you’re making a name in the horror genre, I’ve probably already noticed you, but it wouldn’t hurt sending me a bio, just in case.
Where can we learn more about you, your authors, and the books you publish?
You can check out our books, authors, reviews, blogs, interviews, upcoming projects and amazing artwork at our website: http://www.crystallakepub.com.
We’re also on Twitter (https://twitter.com/crystallakepub) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/Crystallakepublishing)
Thanks for helping me spread the word about Crystal Lake Publishing and our authors, Pat.
I’m always glad to do what I can to help independent publishing companies, Joe. Best of luck!