There’s much in the news about publishing these days–the rise of self publishing, predictions of the demise of print books, predictions that print isn’t dead, and commentary saying the golden age has come and gone in typical modern, high-speed fashion. What sometimes gets lost in all this is that writing is not publishing. I feel somewhat heretical saying this in an era when “how to write” columns focus on creating author platforms or formatting ebooks, but it’s true. Publishing is a business and always about commerce. Writing can be, but isn’t inherently. Sometimes writing fulfills other needs.
As a publisher, Float Street Press has focused on putting out good (interesting and in our opinion, worthwhile) books and not enough on commerce. That’s because it is really more of a writer’s collective than a real business. As such, the shifting sands of the business end of things, changes in the terms of service at Amazon, the rise and (more often) collapse of their rivals, the erratic and abrupt rise of subscription services, all came about while we were attempting to build up an organization that produced books with covers that better represent the stories inside, to find unique and interesting ways to reach readers.
Oh, we followed in the footsteps of others and turned to Facebook ads, and promotions, and such… but half-heartedly and not very well. So that is ending. Rather than put on gloves and go toe-to-toe with people who are, frankly, much more savvy about marketing, and even acquisition (not that hard) we are changing our strategy.
Fortunately we are a collective, not a business. We have no serious overhead. We have a love for books and a passion for good writing. So where does that take us? Honestly, all it means is that we stop worrying about selling. We will stop promoting entirely. We will make books available, work with friends to help their labors see the light of day (in the best possible package) and write and produce books. They will be made available through the usual outlets, in case people do want to read them. But because we know of no way to cut through the noise level, we will stop wasting the time and money trying to do that.
Here is an example of what the future holds, with us working on our books and helping other good books get published.
Javaid Qazi is a fine writer of literary fiction (has there ever been a category so doomed by its very name?) and we’ve published several of his books. We were intending to publish his newest AN UNSENTIMENTAL EDUCATIONwww.amazon.co.uk but decided instead to let him market his entire catalog himself. You won’t notice the difference, but it simplifies all our lives. The book is out today and available for 99 cents from Amazon for an introductory period (and available in paperback). It’s available through Kindle Unlimited as well and I hope you will check it out.
A clash of cultures… a trial by fire
Freshly arrived in the United States from Pakistan, Ravi Daliwal, a young college student, found a world that was bright and promising. His horizons seemed limitless; his hopes and dreams were without boundaries.Working in Silicon Valley he found dazzling, yet the work unfulfilling and the world around him soul destroying. Now his wife has taken their infant daughter and left him untethered and footloose. Turning to alcohol and casual sex he finds relief but he finds himself wondering how his life took such a bleak turn. When and why did life become a dreary round of dull work, brittle relationships and meaningless hedonism?