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!