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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Interview of Indie Artist Press: Marjorie Jones Cooke #RB4U

This past month I had a chance to speak with Marjorie Jones Cooke from Indie Artist Press. I have to confess, before this chat I had never heard of Indie Artist Press  and had no idea what it could offer authors. After our conversation, not only did I come away with some new information (always a good thing), but I felt inspired by how much Marjorie and her team are invested in their authors. They're are up to some wonderful things. Check it out!

Q) Tell me about Indie Artist Press. What is it and what can it offer authors?

A) Thank you so much for having us in your blogosphere. Indie Artist Press is a real joy in my professional and personal life and I'm excited to share it with you and your audience.

First and foremost, Indie Artist Press is a publishing house. We're small, but we're growing. The kind of house we are is what sets us apart from other small presses. We are a hybrid publishing venture, bringing the very best of both self-publishing and traditional publishing together under one roof.

To the reader, we offer quality books that have been professionally edited, copy-edited, proofread and formatted to the highest industry standards they have come to expect from small and large presses.

To the author, we provide all the services of a traditional publishing house, such as editing, copy-editing, proofing, formatting, cover art, and marketing. The difference is this: a traditional publisher provides those aspects of the process for the lion's share of the book's proceeds indefinitely (usually for the life of the copyright.) Indie Artist Press only splits the proceeds with the author until the costs of those services have been recouped. After that, 100% of the continuing proceeds from the sale of the author's books go to the author.

As an added bonus, if the author prefers to invest in those services in advance, they have the opportunity to invest less capital and receive 100% royalties from the day the book is released.

Finally, and this is the most important aspect of what Indie Artist Press is all about, there is a vetting process for the books we'll add to our catalog.  We have an obligation to our readers and our authors to provide engaging, well-written and entertaining books. Our authors trust our brand to ally them with other self-published authors who put in the talent, time and investment to be successful.

Q) How did you come up with the idea for Indie Artist Press?

A) I've been traditionally published in the past and seen moderate critical success. After a hiatus during which time I reexamined by personal goals, I decided that self publishing was the right avenue for me.

I soon discovered that self-published authors really don't get the respect they deserve most of the time. After all, anyone with a computer, a modem and an Amazon account can publish a book, right? Some of these books are excellent! Some of them need a little work, and some of them give self-publishing a bad name.

My business partner and I created Indie Artist Press to establish a brand that says, "Yes, I have chosen to self-publish, but my work has gone through the same 'gauntlet' as any traditionally published book."

So, the idea came from wishing I had somewhere to go where I could maintain control of my literary destiny without being "shelved" with poorly formatted, unedited self-published books.

Q) Why get a barcode through Indie Artist Press and not Bowkers?

A) At IAP, we include the barcode with the overall investment plan. The author doesn't have to invest separately. When we create the barcode for the print edition of a book, we include the encoded price. If you look at the back of a book printed by Createspace, for example, you'll see that the last digits in the barcode read "90000." This is the generic code assigned to the basic barcode. It should have the price included so that bookstores can easily add the book to inventory stock and scan out for the sale.

At IAP, we'll take care of assigning an ISBN and barcode to your book, so you don't have to worry about it. IAP will be your publisher of record, rather than your name or the distribution venue. It is this professional and well-branded alliance to a publishing house that separates our "Indie Authors" from other self-published authors.

Q) Do you help with the promotion of a book as well?

A) We do! We have a vested interest in seeing an author's book do well. Our website is an affiliate store, so we earn a little bit on each sale. When it comes right down to it, IAP only profits on the sale of the books. The investment made by the self-publishing author goes to the artists, editors, formatters and others who work behind the scenes to make the product the very best it can be. The self-publishing author generally contracts for these services on their own, and they generally have to pony up the dough ahead of time. (Or, if they don't have the cash, they skip it altogether.)
Another reason promotion is so important to us is the fact that we offer the option of investing zero dollars until the book sells. There is no time limit on how long it takes to fulfill the investment. If we've done our job well, we believe we'll see the return on that investment relatively quickly. Here's the kicker: it doesn't matter how long it takes. There is no time limit on the traditional investment.

We'll keep splitting royalties, of course, but the author isn't "billed" for the difference at any time. Because we only take on books that meet our standards, we're willing to take that financial risk.

Q) How can an author tell if their book is right for Indie Artist Press?

A) We are incredibly diverse. We're looking for authors who want to self-publish not because they have to, but because they choose to. If an author has written a great book, we want to read it. That said, we're picky about content and an author can find our submission guidelines on our website.

We love everything from tasteful erotica to the most frightful horror and the most intriguing edge-of-your-seat thrillers. We also accept children's books, middle readers, and young adult fiction.

Currently, we have seven imprints.

Q) What’s new at Indie Artist Press? What are your goals for the upcoming year?

A) The biggest news right now concerns one of our titles, Witch, by Rebecca Little. It's a short book; in fact, it's so short we didn't originally put it into print. It was offered as an ebook only until an Indie production company, Oxford Comma Film Cooperative, optioned the movie rights. They have wrapped principle production and have moved into the home stretch. You can find out more about the movie version ofthis way-out-there story at the website.

Our goals for the coming year are simple: We want to establish IAP as a brand of quality with a great reputation in the publishing community. We will provide readers books worth reading and authors with a publishing experience that will be both traditionally professional and uniquely indie.

And for the immediate future, we have three or four titles coming out this fall. Two are brand new releases from author's Susan R. Hughes and Rose Anderson, and two others are First Time in Paperback re-launch titles from E. Ayers and P.T. Denys. We can't wait to reveal the fall line up!

Q) Is there anything else you’d like people to know about your company?

A) We are in it for the long haul. Self-publishing is taking the world by storm with more and more self-published authors hitting bestseller lists. With thousands of titles added to the market each week, we believe it is and always will be important to provide readers and booksellers with a means to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Hybrid publishing provides that means and allows for authors to maintain control of their bookish futures while taking advantage of the new global publishing community.

And now for some fun questions:

Q) What must you have by your side or next to your computer while you work?

A) Dr. Pepper. I know, it's terrible for me and it's full of sugar. I'm weak. At least I'm not drinking aspartame anymore. That stuff'll kill ya!

Q) When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?

A) I enjoy refinishing old furniture. Sometimes, I try to repurpose it, too. Most recently, I took a rather tacky side table with a faux mahogany finish (circa 1980) and turned it into a checker/chess table in turquoise and grey. It's gorgeous sitting on the front porch. The checkers are seashells and crystal pebbles. I may have to challenge someone to a game, now that I think of it.

Q) Quick, your house is on fire. What is the one thing that you grab and take with you out of the house?

A) It's funny you ask that. We have twins; Emily and Phillip whom I refer to as Thing 1 and Thing Squared, respectively. Phillip is a total geek in all the best ways, particularly in math and physics. That's where his moniker comes from. So, both Things, for sure. But when it comes to actual "things," I'd have to go with my suitcase of life. It's an antique suitcase from the 1920s filled with old family photos of great, great grandparents I've never met and every love letter my parents ever wrote to each other. My father was a Naval Aviator for many years and made more than ten deployments overseas while I was growing up. There are a lot of letters. I'm not allowed to read them until... well, you know. They just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, but those letters would definitely go with me. I'm just an old romantic when it comes right down to it, I suppose.

Q) What is your screensaver on your computer?

A) A slideshow of my grandchildren. They are getting so big!

Q) What is the one place you’d love to visit, but haven’t done so yet?

A) I'd like to visit Marble Bar, Australia. I used a little hotel there, the Ironclad Hotel, in one of my books, with their permission of course, and I'd like to meet the lovely gentleman who so kindly answered my questions about life in the Pilbara.

Q) You are also a published novelist. Could you tell us about your books?

A) Thanks for asking! My first book, The Jewel and the Sword, came out about 10 years ago, followed by a few more mass market and trade paperbacks. Most of them are out of print, but still floating around cyberspace as ebooks in various formats. The genres range from medieval historical, which was really big 10 years ago, to 20th Century historical set in the post WWI era in Australia.

I also write paranormal romance titles under the pen name Starla Childs. Most recently, since coming out of the proverbial closet about 5 years ago, I've been writing some lesbian romance, as well. I'm a firm believer that love is love and I plan to continue writing both lesbian novels and the good old-fashioned boy-meets-girl variety. My most recent release, and by far the best seller, is Loving the Heartland.

The greatest part of creating and operating Indie Artist Press has really been the ability to associate myself with so many other, amazingly talented authors. I am proud to list my titles right alongside theirs. 

Thanks so much for stopping by and spending time with us!

Folks, come on out and show some love to Marjorie. She'll be on hand all day to answer questions about herself and her company, Indie Artist Press!

Marjorie Cooke is a published novelist of romance fiction.  Twice nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award, Ms. Jones has been published by several small press publishers.  In recent years, she has focused on professional non-fiction as a ghostwriter and content creator.  Writing as Tennille Webster, she was named a 2011 "Rising Star" by Yahoo! Voices for contributions to Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Shine, and Yahoo! Finance, and earned a "Top 1000" credential during the same year.  In 2005, she was awarded the Isolde Carlsen Award for Excellence in Writing and the Utah Chapter of the Romance Writers of America named her Utah Writer of the Year.  She was a founding partner and is a former owner of Mojocastle Press. In 2015, her IAP release, Loving the Heartland, earned the #1 spot on the Australian Amazon Lesbian Fiction best seller list, and reached a pinnacle of #3 on the same list in the US and UK markets. She writes fiction as Marjorie Jones, Starla Childs and Raleigh Kincaid.

* * *

Interview by Suzanne Rock:

A lifetime New Englander, Suzanne married her college sweetheart and has been with him for over twenty years. Every summer she drags her husband and two daughters to Maine on a quest for the perfect lobster dinner. Every fall she can be found down in Foxboro, Massachusetts cheering on her favorite football team. In between those trips, she’s a chauffeur, a maid, a chef, an event planner, a hairdresser, a wardrobe stylist, a tutor and a sometimes masseuse. To keep her sanity, she often drinks copious amounts of coffee and stares at the blank screen of her laptop, dreaming of great adventures. Sometimes she even writes them down for others to enjoy.
Suzanne is represented by Deidre Knight of The Knight Agency and writes mainstream romances under the pen name Ava Conway.
Connect with Suzanne online!

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3 comments:

Cara Marsi said...

Great interview. Very interesting about Indie Artist Press. I'm definitely keeping you in mind.

Melissa Keir said...

Wonderful post. I certainly can see a need for hybrid publishing houses.

Marjorie Jones said...

Thank you Cara and Melissa. I had fun doing the interview and we are excited about everything we're doing. We just updated the website with the new titles coming this fall:

The Changeling by Rose Anderson
Halloween Kisses by Susan R. Hughes
A World of My Own by Becca Bates
Violence Begets by P. T. Denys

and we've just tentatively signed a 9 book middle reader series that is simply awesome under our Hugs Books imprint.

Keep writing!

Marjorie

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