Sisters Doin’ It For Themselves: Four NJRW Authors Form a Publishing Company

Publishing is an ever-changing business these days, and more and more authors are beginning to publish their own stories. Services once performed only by publishers—such as cover design, developmental and copy editing, and formatting—are now readily available through freelancers, allowing authors more control than ever before.

TimelessKeepsakesFinalCoverFour NJRW authors have taken the idea a step further. Ruth A. Casie, Lita Harris, Emma Kaye, and Nicole S. Patrick have joined forces and collective brainpower to form a publishing company, Timeless Scribes Publishing. Their first venture is an anthology, TIMELESS KEEPSAKES, a collection of holiday stories by each as well as a story by Carina Press author Julie Rowe.

So how did these ladies go from authors to friends to business partners? They were kind enough to stop by for a Q&A to clue the Femmes in.

Joanna Shupe: Welcome, and congratulations on both your new publishing venture and your first release together. How did the idea come about?

Ruth A. Casie: Being a published author, from contract through release, is exciting but not necessarily when you’re on the sidelines. I was the only one published in our critique group and I wanted them to experience the excitement. In May, I presented them with the idea that we each write a short story and publish them ourselves in December. With our diverse genres we decided on a unifying theme, Christmas ornaments.

Nicole S. Patrick: We started off the project with the thought that since only Ruth was published at the time, if we self published something together, then each of us would have a published credit. Since we’ve started, both Emma and Lita have gotten offers on their own books and I’m thrilled for them!

JS: What were the challenges in getting your publishing company off the ground, and was the experience anything like you thought it would be?

Lita Harris: The four of us are actual members of the company, which is necessary to setup if you have multiple authors working on a project. First, it gets the business arrangement out of the way and creates an entity to receive payment. It was easy to setup the company, without getting into too much legal stuff, we settled on an LLC, which functions like a partnership but provides perpetuity, so ownership changes can be made if needed or in the event of death that party’s royalties can be paid to their estate or designated beneficiary. The LLC also provides liability protection like a corporation but doesn’t have the complicated structure therefore simplifying tax reporting and the pass-through of profits and losses. Each state has their own business structures so check first.

Emma Kaye: It was amazingly easy! And by that, I mean, Lita handled that aspect of this project. Actually, though Lita had the lion’s share of the business end our project, we all had our roles in setting up the LLC—bank account, name selection, website, etc. But with all of us working together and focusing on our strengths, it all came together nicely.

NP: The hardest part was deciding on a name!

RC: This entire experience has been better than I expected. I’m proud of what we have created and of each other.

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What Sells Books?

It seems as if everyone ponders this question. For those of us struggling to land publishing contracts, we’re told to blog, be active on social media, create a brand, and network. Then, down the road, all of this will pay off in spades when we have that first debut novel to promote.

All of those things are worthwhile endeavors, but do they actually sell books? According to the latest research: No. Word of mouth is what sells books.

That’s right. It’s not Twitter, or Facebook, or blogging. It’s Reader A recommending your book to her BFF, Reader B. But word of mouth is elusive. Unpredictable. How do you get it, especially in such a crowded literary landscape?
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