I had an impromptu chat with the three publishers from Red Door Publishing. It was about 30 minutes of some of the most fun and informative talk I’ve experienced at a book fair to date.
As I walk around the Frankfurt Book Fair, I always have certain publisher stands I know I’m going to check. The only way to navigate over 7,000 publishers is to plan your general route.
But I don’t hold fast to that plan. In fact, it isn’t good at all to do that, because it means you’ll miss out on the great things that can happen spontaneously. That’s how I got to meet the three publishers who have built Red Door.
I hadn’t planned to speak with anyone at Red Door, but I am really glad that I did. I’ll tell you why.
The Red Door Publishers
I had to furiously scribble down what all was said during our talk, as my smart phone’s microphone-function no longer works. What the ladies from Red Door had to share was engaging, fun and informative – and surprising.
As a writer who blogs, it was refreshing to chat with these publishers. So let me first introduce you to these gals.
- Heather Boisseau, Publishing Manager
- Anna Burtt, Publishing Assistant and Rights Manager
- Clare Christian, Publisher
What struck me most about our talk was how much these women clearly love what they do for a living. Surprisingly, this isn’t a given in the publishing business (more about that is coming – I’ll give you the scoop).
As a writer, I used to think that being knee-deep in books would be pretty much anyone’s dream. Turns out there are some people in this business that might be happier selling socks.
But with Red Door, it’s clear that these gals love books, they love writers (wait, WHAT???) and they truly enjoy helping new authors break into the book market. It’s their mission.
Not only that, but these gals get along with each other, and it was easy for me to like them. This is a publishing company I would love to work with in the future, because it just wouldn’t feel like work.
In fact, I would have loved to put down my pad of paper and my pen and just share a drink with these gals. It was that much fun.
Red Door Loves Bloggers
Blogging is the biggest buzz in terms of marketing books these days, and it turns out that Red Door is one of the early pioneers of this approach. As Heather Boisseau explains, “I have a database of 250 people with blogs.”
When the company has a new book to release, they reach out to those bloggers who might be interested in reviewing the book. (To establish your own database of bloggers, GO HERE.)
Heather says, “Blog tours are really successful. The way we work is cooperative, and we really value that. I always make sure to thank bloggers in all our Second Print mentions.” Bloggers who write something about a Red Door book are listed as testimonial in the next edition(s).
I got to see some great examples of that, where bloggers were quoted and credited inside books. There were plenty of titles on the publishers’ shelves that I recognized because of blogs I read.
“I was skeptical about the thing, but it really is the face of your business. It means we can tap into conversations about a book.” Explains Anna Burtt.
“We are known as a web to blog publisher.” Says Clare Christian, pointing out that several titles that they’ve published were originally web-based material. Books were pulled from shelves and we all chatted about different authors’ stories.
I asked what they would say to a writer who cringes at the thought of writing a blog. About that, they were very clear: if a writer really doesn’t enjoy it, they shouldn’t do it.
“There’s nothing worse than a blogger who doesn’t like to blog, because it just doesn’t work,” said Heather Boisseau. Everyone agreed, strongly.
However, Red Door is willing and able to help authors learn how to blog properly – if they are willing. “If they can blog, then yes. But they need to be prepared. We will help them loads, but it’s important not to push people.”
The Red Door Publishing Method
They call it Hybrid Publishing. This was new to me, the Red Door approach. It isn’t quite traditional publishing and it isn’t a Vanity Publisher either. (If you want a list of the usual types of publishing routes, GO HERE).
The author pays for the first print run within the UK. But the publisher doesn’t publish everything that’s submitted to them.
There’s a rigorous submission process and the publisher has a lot of distribution connections, marketing plans and know-how. Too, if the first print is a success, Red Door foots the bill for any following print runs – and it is their goal to make that happen.
The author also gets a generous portion of the profit for each book.
Clare Christian explains, “A lot of indie publishers lose to big houses, who can poach their authors.” This makes taking a financial risk on a new author even greater, because the projected sales of a next book are too often snapped away.
About Paying for Printing
“Our costs are not high, they’re very realistic. We offer payment plans and we can help with Kickstarter, too.” As an example, Anna Burrt showed me Animal Soul, a project funded through Kickstarter (more about Kickstarter is coming).
Front List & Back List
The publisher’s Front List is their newest stuff. The Back List is what they’ve published in previous years (or seasons).
About that Clare Christian says, “Front List is the risk, Back List is your bread and butter.” Red Door doesn’t just have a motto or an empty promise; they have an actualized practice of not letting a selling title go out of print.
They keep it going, and they keep the buzz alive by revitalizing their Back List. I saw the proof of that at their stand. (That’s one thing I love about book fairs – publishers might promote a certain concept or philosophy on their website, but they can’t hide the truth of what they’re doing at a book fair. It’s all right there: the quality, scope, intention and reality.)
Why Wasn’t Red Door on my List?
They don’t publish books for kids. To date, Red Door publishes almost exclusively adult fiction and nonfiction. However, they did just release Animal Soul by Robert Bahou, a high quality full-color coffee table book filled with terrific animal portraits.
It’s my hope that Red Door will expand into novelty items and kids books, and maybe MG novels. So far, Red Door does publish YA novels, so if you have a finished manuscript, you can submit your first three chapters.
The submission process involves a 6-week waiting period, very reasonable. For Red Door Submission Guidelines, GO HERE.
About Hybrid Publishing
What is your impression of this idea – of Hybrid Publishing? Is this something you’d want to try – have you tried it? Write below, let everyone know – or as ever, send me an email.
Keep creating, no matter what.