Why do you feel it’s important that writers have options to publish outside of the traditional publishing world?
Traditional publishing is bound to the financial success of a book, therefore a lot of new works that deserve to be published are overlooked. Independent publishing gives these books a chance to reach the hands of readers. Strictly “self-publishing” on one’s own is an option for some, but it doesn’t solve the marketing issues a lone author can face. Maine Authors Publishing presents a third option, a “cooperative-style” independent publishing model that offers more support and helps solve some of the marketing and distribution challenges of publishing outside of the traditional channels.
Another reason it is important to have options outside of traditional publishing is if an author wants to retain more control of their project. Many of our authors have traditionally published before and have chosen to publish independently so that they can receive a better royalty percentage, retain creative control, and choose their own publication date. Maine Authors Publishing takes 0% of the book royalties when we sell our authors’ books to bookstores. Publication can also happen faster than traditional publishing. The books chosen for our catalog require professional editing and design, so we cannot produce an instant book as you can online, but our six- to twelve -week turn time can be a better option for some compared to the eight to eighteen months that some large publishing companies may take.
You offer a co-op membership to authors who publish through you. Has this helped to build a writing community?
For writing support we encourage writers to join existing communities such as local writing groups and the MWPA. Our cooperative membership has helped to build more of a “marketing community” where our authors train and support each other. The community focuses on learning how to get their books into the hands of the reading public. Authors also share the marketing costs in many ways. They participate in dozens of book signings and trade shows per year and a booth can cost up to $500. Authors can donate $10 per title to cover the cost. Many of these events are organized by our sales representative, Kelly, as part of the cooperative membership. The membership offers marketing support by providing distribution, a listing in our trade catalog, and sales training.
How does Maine Authors Publishing help authors face the challenges of publishing independently?
Some of the biggest challenges self-published authors face is that their books are not vetted and do not have a presence in bookstores or brand recognition. Bookstore buyers have no way of knowing if self-published books have been edited professionally.
Only a percentage of our books are allowed to publish under the imprint Maine Authors Publishing. We vet all of the books that carry our name to ensure that the books have been professionally edited and designed. Our authors’ books are not seen as “self-published” by most entities—we instead are seen as a small press. Publishers Weekly and the Kirkus Review have chosen to place us in the category of a small press, as have many other organizations. We carry a separate Indie Author imprint for books that either do not make the cut or simply don’t need our catalog and services. The imprint has a separate logo and website, but we still offer many of the same services to the nearly 100 books we carry in this category.
Our goal is to support local independent authors throughout the publishing process with affordable services. Authors who may not have the chance to publish their work traditionally are given access to local editing, design, and distribution.
Maine Authors Publishing
12 High Street
Thomaston, ME 04861