Welcome, Dan. Tell us, what made you go into publishing?
A desire to “pay back”—to other new and struggling writers—for the years of help I received during my early writing career. As such, we tend to focus on introducing “new” authors to the reading public.
What is the general background of your company?
Savant Books and Publications publishes works of enduring literary quality “with a twist” that ultimately transforms a reader’s established point-of-view. Our general target audience is high-school/first year college educated readers of American English worldwide but offer up our work to anyone just in need of a great story! We focus especially on North America, Canada, Europe, India, Australia, New Zealand and other English reading countries.
Are you getting from the business what you hoped to, monetarily as well as non-monetarily?
Yes. Savant’s business model was designed to be successful during “good” and “bad” times and it continues to prove such. We continue to be debt free and look forward to the publishing challenges of the years ahead!
How has the eBook revolution affected your business?
Ebooks have proven a mixed blessing. First, they save trees. At least that’s the idea. A second strongly positive blessing is that by virtue of being digital, the internet-delivered work is “fresh” and “new,” and less expensive rather than warehoused and shipped printed books.
Finally, a digital work can be machine-read, making an eBook also available as an audio book. The downside is that there frequently exists no verifiable information on sales (hence one has to totally rely on what the eBook “printer” reports which themselves are open to “creative accounting”). In addition, profiles of eBook purchasers suggest they tend to collect rather than read eBooks, rarely recommend good reads to colleagues and hardly ever do reader book reviews. Hence, it is difficult for early authors depending heavily on eBooks as a primary venue to garner that necessary “critical mass” of readership to establish author name and title recognition—the two most important issues for a new or early author.
Another somewhat larger issue is that of “self-publishing” within the eBook arena. The current tendency is for the quality of an eBook read to vary widely, affecting potential readers’ opinions of reading in the eBook venue. A bigger issue is the shift of emphasis from quality and service to more business-like product sales. In general this translates to an even more inhuman approach to publishing success in the eBook business. Finally, eBooks, as their Digital Management Rights (DRM) are frequently tightly associate with a digital “reader,” discourage decentralization and small business, which has always been the very “heart” of publishing.
Do you have a plan to survive since new ebook publishers are springing up every day?
We will continue to emphasize quality and service. In addition, we have our own bookstore(s) and offer our books in eBook format one year after they are released in softcover printed format. We are also working on developing an “a-Book” to be sold in bookstores.
Some people think that with more titles available today than at any other time in history, the novel as an art form is dying. Do you agree? Disagree?
I agree that more titles are available today, making “publishing” almost a whole new animal. I disagree that the novel format is dying. It is certainly changing with the new generation stressing visual elements (i.e. favoring “comic book” and/or “manga” style reads over purely printed word craft), much shorter length (e.g. “flash fiction” and “chapterized” internet works) over the traditional novel format, but the novel, per se, isn’t disappearing, it’s being refined and redesigned as will every “new” generation.
Do you publish anything or just certain genres?
Genre-wise, we publish widely; however, we do not publish gratuitous violence or sex, and favor historically-based fiction.
What, in your opinion, are the essential qualities of a good story?
We have a slightly different emphasis, calling a desirable product a “good read”. While a great storyline is essential, it is the writing of the story that distinguishes a “good read” from a less desirable one. When a target reader finds him or herself reading the work without pause (e.g. to reclarify a word, phrase or sentence), we at Savant consider the work a “good read”.
What advice you would give to an aspiring author?
Let go of hubris and vanity, and focus on word craft and service. It through service that one will garner the “critical mass” of readers necessary today to establish author name and work title recognition.
Who are the authors you have published so far?
Savant has been fortunate enough to publish the work of really great writers—all talented, with numerous award winners. We’ve also published CD’s of music, so don’t just think we’re all print books.
If anything has made it all worth it, it’s been being able to work with such a great eclectic group of writers. I wish I could name them all but, just to name a few: David Seaburn, Gloria Schumann, William Maltese, A.G. Hayes, S. Stanley Gordon, Helen Doan, and many, many more!
What do you do to sell the books you publish, for example, where do you advertise?
We’ve found traditional advertising and marketing ineffective, being more akin to gambling than investing. This is the key. Gambling means we give people money in the hope of better return without any guarantee of return of the principal. Investing, which we favor, means we give people money in the hope of a better return with guarantee of return of our principal. This is another “revolution” that has only just begun throughout the financial and business world that is going to strongly affect publishing.
Do you set up signings for the authors and then publish the ‘tour’?
Yes. We maintain our own bookstore(s) where authors are encouraged to have book release and author introduction parties. We also allow Savant Books and Publications to host theme and genre- related “parties”. We strongly encourage authors to do the same, offering them copies of their books and those of other Savant authors for 50% off the Suggested Retail Price.
How do you acquire your talent?
We maintain an open (unsolicited) manuscript submission policy, couple our submissions with a required 16-question questionnaire—which we take seriously. All submissions are read. Many are submitted, few are chosen.
Where can we learn more about you, your authors, and the books you publish?
Visit our website at http://www.savantbooksandpublications.com! You can also find us on all regular social media streams to see what’s new!
Thank you for telling us about Savant Books and Publications, Dan. Best of luck for a long and literary future!