Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Guest Post: Lacy Williams, Editor at Redbud Press on Boutique Publishing

I had the chance to spotlight some new presses in Christian fiction at Library Journal and these new options caught my attention. It is no secret publishing is undergoing rapid-fire change, both in the CBA and ABA industries. Lacy Williams is here today to offer a spotlight on boutique publishing, one recent trend.

 1) How did the idea arise to start a new publishing company?

My two business partners and I were on our way home from a writers’ retreat and started talking about authors who had told us they wanted to publish more books but were nervous about self-publishing. (There were a lot of them). The business aspects of being an independent publisher can be daunting—not only are you in charge of writing the book, but also marketing and all the business stuff. 

We wanted to give authors like that another opportunity to reach their readers. I had experience with the business and marketing side of being an independent author and we all three bring different industry connections and talents in the editorial process. 

Ultimately, we felt God was opening doors for us, and after a lot of prayer, we just went for it!

2) What does Redbud offer that is an asset to the publishing marketplace?

Most legacy publishers put out one trade-length book per author per year. As a reader, I know if my favorite author had five books out this year, I would buy all of them! Redbud Press wants to bring more books from readers’ favorite authors into the marketplace. We have different marketing strategies from the large legacy publishers and different pricing strategies too, because of our digital-first model. 

3) Your website says Redbud is a boutique publisher. Can you explain what that means?

Think about retail stores. You have the big-box, sell-everything discount stores, and you have boutique stores that have a single focus. Women’s clothing. Baby clothes. Accessories-only. 

Redbud Press isn’t trying to sell everything to everyone. Our target reader is the mom who loves romance and wants a good book to curl up with after the kids are in bed and she has her hour of freedom. We are a boutique publisher because we have that single focus.

4) Can you explain to us about the digital first model? Do you think this option is a good one for new authors? Established authors? 

Our books will be published in ebook form and print-on-demand (paperback). 

I think authors need to educate themselves to find the right publishing path. Legacy publishers are changing. Advances and print runs are getting smaller for the midlist author (and some of those contracts can have terrible terms). How can an author survive when their income is disappearing? Maybe a better question is how can an author achieve the most exposure? If that is partnering with a legacy publisher (and the author has the talent and connections to get in to that market!), great. If the author can publish with a small press or do it themselves to increase their exposure, great.

What I’m finding is there’s no longer a one-size-fits-all publishing path for any author. 

5) How is the digital first model changing the face of publishing? 

I don’t think the digital first model is what is changing the face of publishing. Legacy publishers are facing all kinds of difficult things. Mergers. Lines closing. Editor turnover. A changing market that wants lower-priced ebooks. Competition from successful self-published authors. 

The entire market is changing and the best we can do as authors is discover the best way for us to reach readers and make a living at it.

6) Under this model, how does marketing work?

I couldn’t say for every publisher, but at Redbud Press we aren’t spending big bucks on buying ads. We’re taking more of a grassroots approach. Building our email newsletter list. Asking our readers to be involved in spreading the word about our books. And utilizing connections with online retailers to find new readers.
7) What trends are you seeing in digital publishing? 

Contemporary romance is hot right now. Amish continues to be popular. And series sells.

8) Can you share with us as readers and writers what the imprints you have are and how they are distinctive?

Our HOMETOWN ROMANCE imprint is comprised of frontlist books (never-before-published) that have a small-town feel (or community feel even if they are set in a big city). They are all inspirational romances of between 45,000 and 65,000 words. We have authors like Kathleen Y’Barbo, Rene Gutteridge & Cheryl McKay (co-authoring), Gayle Roper and Camy Tang writing for this line. 

Our TIMELESS imprint brings new life to authors’ backlist books that have gone out of print. We are in the process of signing some contracts for this line, so I can’t mention names, but I think readers will be excited to see these books again (or for the first time). In addition to straight romance, these books can be women’s fiction or romantic suspense as long as they have a strong romance thread.

9) What does a typical day look like for an editor at a small press?

Every day is different. I may be negotiating contracts, working on line edits for a manuscript, creating cover art, or balancing the checkbook. I also have small children at home so life is an adventure every day. 

10) What are some distinctive releases upcoming this Spring for Redbud? 

Out in March, Saving Justice by debut author Susan Crawford tells the story of entrepreneur Nash McGuire returning to the poverty-stricken neighborhood where he grew up. He finds his life overtaken by schoolteacher Kinley Reid and one of her at-risk students, and must decide between risking his heart or walking away.

Also out in March, Secondhand Cowboy by yours truly is the story of a former rodeo cowboy Callum Stewart who comes back to the one place he promised to avoid forever: his hometown. When Callum needs help, it’s his high school girlfriend who steps in—and claims his heart all over again.
Available at: 

Also upcoming:

The Art of Falling and Kiss the Cowboy by Julie Jarnagin (exclusive pre-order at iBooks)

And we’d like to let your readers know that we’re offering two novellas free if they sign up for our newsletter list: Kissed by a Cowboy by yours truly and Out of the Flames by Cheryl Wyatt. Readers can sign up at http://www.redbudpress.com/news

Thank you for hosting me! Readers can find our entire author list and other information at our website www.redbudpress.com .


kaybee said...

This is interesting, Lacy. Is payment on a royalty basis?
Kathy Bailey

Pepper Basham said...

This is such great info, Lacy, and what a unique plan.
I love that you guys have a specific focus in fiction, but also that you're trying to feature books from authors backlists to give them 'new life' for new readers!
Thanks for sharing with us today!!

Lacy J. Williams said...

Hi, guys!

Kaybee, yes we pay royalties.

Thanks for stopping by, Pepper! We've got a great group of authors that we're working with, really blessed at the doors God has opened up for us!