Introducing STEEMHOUSE PUBLISHING (or at least the idea. . . .)

in writing •  9 months ago

THE VISION

When one thinks of writing, the natural progression of ideas usually leads to publishing. The reason for this is simple: we write to share our heart with others, and if there are no others, for most of us, there is no reason to write.

At The Writers’ Block, a solid majority of regular members plan to publish, or have already done so and intend to continue. The next logical step is to consider the pros and cons of offering a Steemit-centric publishing house for select Steemit authors. The human resources enjoyed by The Writers’ Block are more than adequate to staff this venture on a volunteer basis until it becomes established, because many of them would enjoy the benefits of publication through a Steemhouse Publishing imprint, too. We have professional editors with experience in mainstream publishing, attorneys, and economic experts all brainstorming this project, and so far, there seem to be no “cons” at all.

THE NUTS AND BOLTS

There are, however, caveats. With the advent of print-on-demand services and ebooks, self-publishing has become all the rage. While this is good in that it gives authors who may never make headway with an agent or traditional publisher a chance to see their work in print, it also allows for the flood of substandard writing that litters Amazon’s cyber-shelves today. In order to establish and preserve credibility, a publisher operating even in a decentralized environment would have to maintain industry standards with the titles offered by any of its imprints.

Therefore, it stands to reason that a Steemit-centric publishing company would have to have some mainstream crossover, such as a traditional acquisition team and submission process. We would also need to be incorporated in some manner, and have a fiat bank account for payments disbursed through Amazon, Smashwords, or any of the existing retail platforms. This aspect of business could get complicated. Fortunately, we have an emerging staff whose “real life” skill sets include the expertise required to sort these issues and produce a viable plan.

One question that has been asked and will continue to be asked is why it would be advantageous for any author to publish through an agency like we would create. Bluntly speaking, if an author has attracted the attention of a Top Five U.S. Publisher and is represented by a literary agent—well, they need to stay on that course. No startup press can compete with what a Top Five has to offer. However, if an author intends to self-publish and their manuscript has been accepted by Steemhouse, what we hope to offer them is a full team of professional editors that range from developmental to copyedit. We hope to offer original graphic art for book covers. Then we hope to offer heavy promotion that very few self-published authors can afford. Promotion is the key to sales. It isn’t cheap. But with the backing of Steemit and cryptocurrency, we do believe we could raise enough capital to put a Steemhouse author on the mainstream literary map.

SO HOW'S THAT PROMOTION THING WORK?

Review services like NetGalley and Kirkus are pricey, but the exposure they provide is unequalled. BookBub is an email-based promotion service that can result in thousands of units sold in a single day for authors who use it. Again, pricey, and BookBub is selective about which novels they’ll advertise. Many, many other promotion services exist and they do work. There is a method to the publishing madness, and success is possible if the quality of the product lives up to the hype.

HOW WILL WE MAKE THE BOOKS?

So what about printing and distribution? That’s a complicated mess, right? Well, it would be if not for services like Amazon KDP, Createspace, and Smashwords. Initial investment for using either of these platforms is $0.00. It costs nothing to list a print book with Createspace and offer it for sale on Amazon. Print costs are recovered by Createspace with print-on-demand sales. Physical copies of books can be purchased by the author for around five dollars (more or less, depending on page count and options.) Those are great for book signings and local sales. But physical copies are sold on Amazon without the author having to do a thing except receive the disbursement during that month’s payout. It’s a great system, and one we’re looking at hard for Steemhouse.

THE BEST OF ALL WORLDS

The hybrid model Steemhouse would offer independent authors is not a new concept. Other publishing companies exist that are doing the same thing—with one exception. Steemhouse would be the first hybrid publishing house backed by cryptocurrency. This is a rare and unique opportunity for Steemit to capture a market and be a driving force behind innovation. All we need to make this work is enough support from the greater Steemit community to fund our efforts. It’s our belief that post payouts alone have the potential to finance this initiative. Book sales would be the icing on the cake.

Eventually someone will ask what it will cost authors to publish through Steemhouse. The answer is: nothing. Not one penny. An author should never pay a publisher to represent their work. Steemhouse authors will sit back and collect a percentage of sales that might be as high as 50%, compared to the 10% paid by most traditional publishers. This is possible because of the very small overhead required to operate a hybrid agency. Eventually, we intend to compensate our wonderful human resources—our editors, attorneys, and financial advisors. But we’ll never get to that point if we don’t start somewhere, and right here looks like a wonderful place to make the leap.





It's rare to find an online community with all the resources needed to start a business. It’s also rare to find so many people willing to invest time and skills to this project even if they don’t have STEEM to spare. But we believe Steemhouse Publishing has what it takes to make this venture succeed.

Please follow our blog here at The Writers’ Block to learn more about Steemhouse Publishing!

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I really like the concept. I think if you can establish that this is quality writing and the standards are high, then folks are more likely to want to invest the time into reading the products from this publisher. TWB has to be picky, since junky content is available everywhere already.

'Many are called, but few are chosen'.

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Agreed - unfortunately a lot of the fiction work I have read here on steemit would also fall into that trash category. Even most of the higher rep authors on this platform I consider to be pretty average.

It would require multiple and critical reviewers I think.

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Amen.

We actually have several people from the mainstream publishing and editing world who are interesting in donating time and skills to this project. That is the single tangible reason we can offer for why we think it will succeed.

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Good stuff - I will be following this project with interest!

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In the early days of Amazon you could make serious money selling trash.
Now you can't even GIVE AWAY quality fiction. KDP writers selling for 99c are making Jeff THREE times what he pays them.
A sick joke that has ruined digital publishing

If this venture is to succeed they've got to get it to the stage to sell audio and screen rights and generate sufficient cash to pay to heavily promote authors as if they were with a mainstream publisher

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Alternatively: don't filter; 'rate'. List the work in an editing pool. Then rate again after editing. That could allow everyone to get published if there is something there. Then divide the royalties between author and editor according to a predetermined rating dependent split.

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There will be a submission and acquisition process. This will not be a vanity press.

Awesome concept. Would love to see one of the first publishing house projects be an anthology of short stories by steemit authors.

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Sadly, that probably isn't going to happen. Anthologies tend to sell very poorly, especially those containing work by unknown authors. Patreon might be an option for something along these lines. There certainly could be no anthologies of previously published work from Steemit unless we offered it for free. It would not help credibility at all to offer for a price something that can already be read online for no cost. ;-)

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That's unfortunate, I personally like anthologies but I can see why they don't sell well. I was thinking along the lines of a theme and having some of the authors come up with new unpublished stories. C'est la vie

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It might be a legacy project for down the road when we're better established and people recognize some author names. ;-)

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Excellent idea :)

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Sounds like a weird concept for a steemit publishing house, as that would actually discourage authors from actually posting their work on steemit, thus reducing the quality of steemit as a platform. Personaly I would most definetely buy an e-book with "the best of steemit GENRE-X stories" anthology. Would be kind of anti-steemit to make a steemit publishing that rejects work because it has been published (in unedited, multiple-posts form) on steemit before.

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You have that backward. The publishing house would publish material that appeared on Steemit, whereas other publishers won't. We just won't publish short, complete works because there is virtually no market for that. Novels would be the focus. I have yet to see a full length novel or even significant portion of a novel published on Steemit that would not require significant revision before being accepted by Steemhouse, so there's no real issue with selling a product one can obtain for free. The finished product will differ significantly from the draft on the blockchain.

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"You have that backward. The publishing house would publish material that appeared on Steemit, whereas other publishers won't."

and that right there is the very BIG difference.

a damn good read that hits all the highs and lows of self-publishing. it'd be interesting to see how this would play out when utilizing the nature of the KDP/CreateSpace model along with the brick-and-mortar style of a full on publishing house together (with editors and promotions, etc.).

and yeah...quality is king. a good imprint is one where you can pretty much pick up any book they put out and go "i'll probably enjoy this based on all the others i've enjoyed from this publishing house." absolutely essential considering, as you said, the dilution of the market thanks to substandard writing being more accessible; it's now the norm rather than the exception, unfortunately.

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I just can't see how it would do anything except work, @bucho. KDP/Createspace offer an excellent service with the best distribution around. So if we can fill that gap for authors with editing and promotion. . .seems like a win/win, really. :-) So just hang on for the ride with us and we'll all see how this story ends. LOL!

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oh i totally agree. one of the most difficult parts of self-publishing (at least for me) was getting my book promoted into parts of the population i had no access to. that's a tough nut to crack if you're not a publishing house or already solidified pretty solidly in the literary world.

I figured something like this was coming and knew it was only a matter of time. Excited to see the results and some of the books published by the many talented authors here on Steemit. Can't wait to see one of these books eventually make it on a top sellers list.

I'm onboard with whatever I can offer. Truly awesome idea.

Excellent idea. I have the same idea for Steemian from Indonesia who got their talent. I would be very happy to see that your idea really come true as soon as possible. Eventhough now we read a lot from internet and social media, but reading books is really different. The smell of its paper hypnotize me... ;)

Very interesting idea.

One of the reasons I have held back from publishing much fiction on Steemit is that I one day hope to get it published, but know that once it has been preserved on the blockchain then many traditional publishers would not consider it, as it would already be 'out there' and the rights would not belong exclusively to them.

This could solve that conundrum for a lot of authors!

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YES!!!! :-) In this case, published chapters of early drafts could serve to drum up interest in the novel and pre-sales could come from the platform directly.

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I think of steemit as a playground and the fiction I publish here as exercise. I have ideas that I will focus my efforts on once I feel I've got my writing "in shape". I do it for fun and will always enjoy writing, so if I ever get to the point I'm holding stuff back from steemit to legitimately pursue publishing, I'll consider it a bonus. Hanging out at a place like The Writer's Block though sure encourages me to push my hobby farther, and the help to do so is very available.

This is great to read. The standard of writing that I have seen coming out of The Writers Block has been superb and using Steemit as a platform for launching a publishing house has the fundamentals of a great idea.

That's great.
I am also a bit intrested in writing, please have a look in my recent posts.
And please upvote follow and resteem if you like the content.
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Bring it on. The sooner the better.
Sale of audio and screen rights are what will move the agency / publisher into mainstream publishing to the great benefit of all because there will be the funds to seriously promote each author's work

Today is a day of Publica ICO, a different concept but the same market. The one that is definitely worth of our attention. I will closely follow this project and I believe it can add much value to the platform.

Well, you got my attention!

There's a lot of good writing on here, but, following Sturgeon's Law there's a lot of crap as well. I'd be all for purchasing and reading work that's been through a curation and publishing process as another way of supporting the best-of-the-best writers on Steemit.

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Fiction curated by The @SFT can be found in the SFT Library here: http://sftlibrary.com/literary/ . The library contains other genres besides literary, but this room has the most options to explore. Click on "back to library" for a full sampling.

The SFT (Steemhouse Fiction Trail) is a forerunner of the publishing house, our attempt to reward authors who consistently produce outstanding fiction.

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That's a great collection. I'm bookmarking it to catch up later!

Sites like that are another reason I'm grateful Steemit is working better again. If people go through the effort of collecting great links and then users have to switch to Busy.org or Steemitstage, it renders all that work meaningless.

Anyway, thanks for doing the work!

This wonderful post has received a bellyrub 0.55 % upvote from @bellyrub thanks to this cool cat: @sostrin.

This is definitely something with a huge potention. Obviously you are getting some positive feedback. What would be the next step?

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Right now we have a representative at Steemfest introducing the idea to some of the people there. We have a few novels that we're considering for our first run, so sorting the incorporation process is probably the next tangible step.

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Will be following the progress. Seems like some of your members have taken part of my Creative Writing Challenges and we have some kind of crossing interests.

@stinawog and I are very interested, as writers. Where do we go from here to learn more, and potentially to pitch our works and our talents?

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It's a bit early for us to take submissions--we have a few novels in mind for a test run--but by all means visit The Writers Block (linked above in the gif) and participate in discussions about this.

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This sounds like the next evolution of curating on steemit! I'm super excited to support this endeavor in any way you think I could be used.

This sounds like a very exciting venture. I'm going to promote this concept (and The Writers Block, of course) to anyone I know who enjoys writing. :)

Interesting concept, but I feel it there should be much more potential if you were to try and fit it to the steemit ecconomy and combine it with the idea of steemit-first publishing. There are good parts to self publishing including the fact that it is free from filters on things like writing style, niche market writing and works of fiction that don't quite fit any of the genre templates. There are good things to traditional publishing such as the fact that it avoids the hubris driven quality metrics that lead to the seldom good enough practice of self-editing. Basically traditionally published books rarely are exceptionaly bad, as opposed to self published books, but then they also rarely are exceptional these days.

What I think a truly steemit worthy publishing setup would allow every work to get published, yet would allow no work to get published with low quality. It would facilitate and leverage steemit economy based publishing.

It might be interesting to look how the steemit ecconomy could allow authors, ilustrators, beta readers, different types of editors, cover artists, typesetters, voice actors, etc, and ofcause the owner of the process streemlining service to each get a piece of the pie, first on steemit, and eventally on Smashwords, Amazon, Lulu, CD Baby, Youtube etc.

Lacking such a streemlining services, I am trying to leverage the use of steemit to support my self publishing efforts by running beta reading contests/lotteries with some of the SBD I make posting draft chapters on steemit, and I am planning to eventually power down in order to pay for professional editing before I self publish my work as e-book on smashwords. Not perfect, but a big step better than it would be without steemit. Till now I only self-published novelettes, and without steemit I don't think I could manage to have what is becoming my first novel to be quality enhanced by both beta reading and professional editing.

Hope I am making sense here. The steemit ecconomy is amazing and could allow for a more flexible yet lightweight publishing house. Using a setup that is >90% modeled after tradpub seems not to do right to the strengths of the steemit ecconomy.

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As I said in another comment, this will not be a vanity press. This will be a traditional small publisher with very high standards. There is no motivation to represent questionable quality. There is, however, quite a bit of motivation to represent only exceptional quality that can compete in mainstream publishing markets. We have no interest in "allowing every work to get published." That's the opposite of our objective. There is no benefit to reproducing the shit circus you find in free-for-all self-publishing. The whole point is to represent the very best talent on Steemit and promote those authors heavily in mainstream markets.

Besides, if an author with a substandard project wants to publish, he/she doesn't need Steemhouse for that. Createspace and KDP will publish anything on demand. What would be the advantage of giving half of his/her royalties to us? We sure as heck aren't going to spend one dime promoting an inferior product. And to be quite honest, having our name and imprint associated with crap writing would hurt us far more than it would help.

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Not sugesting publishing crap. The oposit actually. Suggesting leveraging the steemit economy to allow rough diamond work to find its way to quality publishing through talented steemit editors that end up getting an apropriate piece of the pie. That is, make the publishing company a lean one build around the strengths of the steemit economy.

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Isn't that what we're doing? All of our editors and potential staff are Steemians.

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Tried to outline here how I believe you could set it up in a way that would be many times better alligned with the Steemit ecconomy and would actually help to improve the quality of the fiction published on Steemit as well. A 'lean' publishing house that allows the agile Steemit ecconomy to do most of the work.

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I don't think you have ever completely understood the schematic we've laid out for this. I did look over the post you linked to, but it makes no sense. Are you suggesting posting draft after draft on Steemit? You're probably going to have to clarify what you're talking about.

Steemhouse Publishing will be placing full-length novels on Amazon, Kobo, B&N Online, and in several other markets. We won't deal with short works and we certainly won't be setting a price on anything that appears on the blockchain to be read for free. There are many aspects of publishing that don't seem to be addressed by the article you wrote. Its scope appears to be completely different from anything Steemhouse will be doing.

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It's scope is showing an everybody wins paradigm that Steemit enables that would allow for a much leaner publishing house with tiny expenses that doesn't bleed Steemit content quality but enhances it.

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If you are recommending publishing the same articles multiple times on Steemit, that alone is enough to invalidate the entire idea. I think if you would examine the basics of Steemhouse publishing a little more closely, you would see a remarkable lack of expenses that allow for a much higher royalty split for authors. As far as bleeding Steemit content quality, I also think you should examine the purpose and function of the Writers’ Block a little more closely as well.

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How does re-publishing a skillfully edited or otherwise enhanced quality version of previously steemit posted work on Steemit disqualify the idea?

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For starters, Cheetah would be all over that like white on rice. It could potentially result in action by SteemCleaners. One of the main premises of Steemit is that account holders post only original work. The only way I know of to stay off the radar when posting a reprise is to decline payout.

I also believe that capitalizing multiple times on the same post, whether it be the same author or consecutive authors, is not only against community guidelines, but simply unethical. I imagine that’s such a practice would result in quite a few downvotes, particularly if it is an established practice.