Richard Hardie is one of the founder members ofAuthors Reach, a co-operative of local authors turned self-publishers. Here’s how it works.
The job of being an author doesn’t stop with the words “The End”. In many ways that’s just the beginning.
Publishers tend to spend their marketing budget on promoting books from authors who they know will turn out best-sellers time and time again, and they tend not to take risks with new or unknown writers. In many ways, who can blame them? However, that means there is a massive glass ceiling that makes it very difficult for a new author to get noticed by the reading marketplace, let alone bookshops, where shelf space is at a premium and margins are tight.
Towards the end of 2015, five UK authors decided to change that and started buying back the rights to their books from their various publishers in order to form their own company to market and promote their titles… which from experience, they were aware is something authors have to do anyway, with few exceptions.
In addition to writing books, each of the five authors brought a specific skill-set to the group, among them being proofreading, web design, artwork, media know-how, social media expertise and marketing. The five felt the combination made them a capable operation and they therefore launched Authors Reach Ltd last November to initially concentrate on promoting each other’s books. That developed, through a sharp learning curve, into knowing how to negotiate print runs, organise distribution and bookshop stocking, to the extent that all five are now representing Authors Reach at book fairs and literary festivals, book signings, and even speaking to groups on creative writing. Radio and television interviews are taking place, with all five founders now having given radio interviews, and podcasts are scheduled, leaving little time for the real job in hand… writing books!
What’s different? The five founders of Authors Reach – Richard Hardie, Catriona King, Shani Struthers, Gina Dickerson and Sarah England – are all previously traditionally published authors with a diverse collection of genres ranging from crime to the paranormal, romance to horror, and young adult (YA) to fantasy. They started their new venture fully aware of the problems that lay ahead of them. They had an agreed strategy, as well as a clear plan as to how to maximise sales through online book sellers, both paperback and e-book. Unlike many smaller publishers, Authors Reach believes that independent book shops have a future in the UK, alongside the bigger chains, and that creating relationships throughout the UK is most important. Authors Reach intends being part of that future by bringing their books to readers and bookshops alike.
At the beginning of 2016 the first two books were relaunched under the Authors Reach banner and logo, with new covers and ISBNs (Leap of Faith and Trouble With Swords). Both are now in print, stocked by distributors and on shop shelves. Further Authors Reach books will be following very soon, with a potential back catalogue of over twenty books.
Authors Reach may not be a major player, or even bijou yet, but the potential is massive and may even indicate the future of publishing.