Win! Win! Win!

img_2249Guessing by the title of this post, yes, we’re giving some stuff away! You might know that publishers produce Advance Reading Copies, (ARCs) which are early editions of the book before the final proofread happens. They’re used to help market the title, to query to the large review magazines, and to help the sales reps sell the book to bookstores. The interior is the same as the final book (perhaps with a few typos that haven’t been caught yet), but the back cover looks different because it has some marketing and technical information about the book on it.

Anyway, we have a few of these left over from our 2016 seasons, and in the interest of reducing waste and sharing some great stories, we’d like to give them away rather than pulp them.

If you’re interested in winning a bunch of these, just enter the giveaway here and if you win, we’ll send a bunch of books to you. We’ll pick several winners but the actual selection will vary depending on what is left and what will fit in the package. Oh, and sorry, but this giveaway is only available to entrants in the US.

Good luck!

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Introducing Alex Lyttle

AlexLyttleI’m very pleased and proud to introduce the newest author to the Central Avenue cache of amazingly talented human beings, Alex Lyttle.

I knew it was meant to be, because I couldn’t stop reading his middle grade contemporary novel. I then immediately asked if he’d like to be published by CAP. Luckily, he said yes.

From Ant to Eagle is his first novel and it follows an 11-year-old boy through a tumultuous time in his and his family’s life. I’ll post more on his book once we’ve finished the cover and working through all the details. It will be published in April 2017.

Alex Lyttle is a pediatrician living in Calgary, Alberta with his wife and three children. He was raised in London, Ontario – the setting of his first novel, From Ant to Eagle, which he wrote based on his experiences working in the Pediatric Oncology unit. When he is not working, writing or playing basketball, he enjoys learning new magic tricks to perform for his young patients.

You can catch up with Alex on all the regular places:

Twitter: @Alex_Lyttle

Facebook: /AlexLyttleAuthor

Website: alexlyttle.com

 

On Creating a Publishing Brand

CAP logo large
It’s been a little over a year since my journey to New York to BEA. And what a year it’s been. After seven years of running this small publishing house, I continue to be awed and honoured by all the great things that keep happening. That’s not say that there haven’t been setbacks and disappointment but the wins definitely outweigh the losses.

In the past year, we finally got ourselves a real, bona-fide distributor – IPG. Everyone there has been great to work with, offering help when I’ve asked, but more importantly telling me when I’ve missed the mark and then helping me celebrate my wins. I’ve been to Chicago twice and each time has been full of learning and fun. I’m proud to call them a partner.

I believe that since getting a distributor, Central Avenue is starting to make a name for itself. While I’d like to think that readers buy books based on which publisher they like, this isn’t really true. Over the past few months, my goal has been to make the brand of Central Avenue known – not necessarily to readers – but to other businesses in the industry. I believe that this is the next step for this house and it will lead us successfully into the next seven years and beyond. My goals in building the Central Avenue brand are:

  • To be known by reviewers as a publisher who produces high quality books that resonate with readers, regardless of genre.
  • To be known by my distributor as a publisher who makes them money and has fun doing it by creating marketable products and sales tools all while meeting deadlines, listening to their advice and ensuring accurate data.
  • To be known by printers for submitting quality files free of errors and paying my bills on time.
  • To be known by other small publishers as a resource who shares what they have learned to help others grow.
  • To be known by bookstores as a publisher who supports their books with committed writers, unique marketing efforts and funds to support their in-store and online activities.
  • To be known by writers as a publisher who collaborates fairly and constructively, pays them on time and who will make their book the best it can be.

I’ve given these goals a lot of thought over the past few months and I plan on making sure that, every day, the tasks I do fulfill one or more of these goals.

What do you think? Have I missed anything, gotten anything wrong – or right? I’d love to hear from you, whether you’re a writer, supplier or a fellow publisher.

Happy Release to Our Spring Titles!

With all the busy-ness of BEA and getting books ready for Fall, I’ve been completely remiss in congratulating our four authors who have books that launched this spring.

DeanMayesDean Mayes, The Awesome A9781771680394ustralian, released his third full length book, psychological thriller, The Recipient
to strong pre-orders, online buzz and local bookstore support.

 

 


 

TaliaAikensNunezTalia Aikens-Nunez, The New England Knock-Out, released her second book in her perf5.250x8.000.inddaward-winning mid-grade reader, OMG series, OMG… I Did It Again?! to much critical aplomb. Her book has already been favourably reviewed in Kirkus Reviews & Publishers Weekly and will be featured in School Library Journal.

 


Molly Ringle

Molly Ringle, The Seattle Sensation, 9781771680400completed the final book in new adult mythology retelling The Chrysomelia Stories, Immortal’s Spring, to much blogger and reader anticipation. The book was also favourably reviewed by Publishers Weekly.

 


AbbieWilliams

Abbie Williams, The Minnesota Marvel, launched the
second of her Civil War saga Dove trilogy, Soul of a Crow, which has received awards and glowing reviews from Publishers Weekly and Foreword Reviews.

 

So, all in all, a rather successful Spring Season! Congratulations to all these writers and I look forward to the many adventures that still await us.

CAP New Titles: Spring 2016

We’ve been hard at work preparing for the spring 2016 season. We’ll release four books for our inaugural season with our distributor, IPG, and we couldn’t be more excited as we commence showing them off.

Currently, we’re busy sending out advance reader copies for review to the large trade journals and publications and the final rounds of proofreading.

If you’re a book blogger and you’d like to read a digital edition of one of these books, please email us, we’d love to send you a copy.

So, without further ado… introducing our Spring 2016 lineup:

9781771680394The Recipient – Dean Mayes

Girl on the Train meets Dark Places in this chilling story of a strong but flawed transplant recipient who begins to remember the nefarious reason her donor lost her life.

“A riveting read! All you can think about is turning the next page!” — Georgina Penney, author, Fly In, Fly Out; Irrepressible You; Summer Harvest

May 2016   978-1-77168-038-7   more


9781771680400Immortal’s Spring – Molly Ringle

Fans of Abandon and The Goddess Test will be enchanted by this new story of Persephone and Hades, whose ancient loveaffair is reawakened in the memories of two modern-day youths.

“…jumps right into the action and doesn’t look back!” ~ San Diego Book Review

June 2016  978-1-77168-040-0   more

 


 

Soul of a Crow – Abbie Williams

In the spirit of Cold Mountain comes this saga of tormented Confederate soldiers and a Civil War prostitute as they discover love and family on their journey to a new life in the North.

“…successfully melds historical narrative, women’s issues, and breathless romance with … alluring smidgeons of Celtic ESP.” ~ Publishers Weekly

June 2016   978-1-77168-036-3   more


 

perf5.250x8.000.inddOMG… I Did it Again?! – Talia Aikens-Nunez

Salem Hyde meets The Worst Witch in these fun stories about a girl who discovers her accidental magical powers are strongerthan she realized.

“This fast-paced, humorous book is a fun read.” ~ Susan Heim, Parenting Author and Editor, Chicken Soup for the Soul

May 2016  978-1-77168-034-9    more

Central Avenue Publishing to be Distributed by IPG

IPG logoIt is with great pleasure that I announce that as of November 1, 2015, Central Avenue Publishing books will be sold and distributed to the trade by Independent Publishers Group. IPG is the original and second largest distributor of independently published books and I consider ourselves honoured to be counted among the fine publishers that work with IPG.

You might have noticed that it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on this blog. It’s because there has been so much going on behind the scenes, that I’ve hardly been able to think, let alone write any updates. But now it’s time, and if you have some time, read on. If you don’t, then check out the press release.

This whole story started back in May, when one of our books, Heart of a Dove, won a gold medal at the Independent Publishers Awards. This prompted a trip to Book Expo America in New York and displaying our books at a cooperative booth. I knew our books would be a needle in a haystack so I looked at this trip as a chance to listen and learn.

After the first few hours of walking the floor, I realized I was among everyone who lives books – just like me. There were publishers, printers, distributors, publicists, reviewers, offshore agents of all sizes and shapes. I realized that while my original intent was to simply listen and learn, I could also take this opportunity to meet people who might be able to advance my publishing program. The one thing that I have been missing over the past six years is a traditional sales force and distributor. You see, I could do almost everything myself – by adopting print on demand and digital publishing a long time ago, I was at the forefront of a lot of trends in publishing and that brought me to where I am today. But it was this model of non-traditional publishing which excluded me from a lot of opportunities. I’ve known this for a long time, and over the years, I had submitted time and again to many distributors, but with the industry changing so much, many distributors didn’t want to gamble on a new publisher.

For those of you who are not familiar with what the traditional publishing supply chain might mean (since I wasn’t when I first started down this publishing path), let me explain as best I can. Authors write books. Publishers make books. Distributors warehouse and sell those books to the trade. The book trade, which includes chain & indie bookstores, libraries, gift shops, schools and online bookstores, sells books to customers. The trade has pretty specific launch seasons and ways of doing things, and it is an old but evolving industry. Of course, there are new and changing ways of publishing books, but the vast majority of successful publishers adhere to this more traditional method.

Previous to now, my model of getting digital books to customers involved making the book and then sending the book directly to the stores that I could get direct agreements with. While that included many of the major ones, there were also lots missing. At the online store, it competed with a million other books and hopefully gained some traction through whatever marketing we could do to get the algorithms that drive online bookstores so as to perhaps get noticed by more customers. My model of getting print books to customers involved using print on demand with Lightning Source who then had their parent company, Ingram, list the book in their catalog. So the book showed up in the databases that exist, and that’s about it. However, the trade didn’t really know about our books, there was no-one introducing them and showing them off because the trade simply can’t support thousands of publishers coming into meet with them in buying meetings. Furthermore, the major review organizations tend to eschew POD books since for the most part (and we know this isn’t true of all books), POD tends to represent titles that are of a lesser quality and published by houses not willing to make the investment in print runs.

So, back to BEA. I walked the floor again. I looked for distributors that looked friendly, professional, busy and a good fit for me. Among the many were four of them. I went up to each of their booths and looked around until I could find someone that was free. I then went right up to them and asked if I could talk to them about my little publishing house. I had my opening line which was short: “My name is Michelle Halket and I run a small publishing house out of Vancouver. I sell X copies of books a month and I’m looking for a partner who can help advance my program.” (Yes, I felt a little like Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride). I then whipped out my bestselling backlist book (I Wrote This For You) and a few of my front list. Luckily all four of them were very interested in talking to me and they all invited me to submit. But it was Jeff Palicki at IPG who interested me the most. To tell you the truth, their booth also intimidated me the most since it was so big and had people sitting at tables talking amongst stacks of papers and books. But he said, “Let’s sit down.” and we chatted for a long while. He was blunt, interested, truthful and knew his stuff. I walked away from that conversation feeling really good.

What followed was the sending of submission packages to these distributors and the negotiation and discovery that ensues with any new partnership. After a lot of spreadsheets and scanning of contracts, I decided on IPG and I couldn’t feel better about my decision.

Having IPG on my side means I now get to play with the big kids in traditional publishing. In working with them, I will now have the missing element: a major distribution and sales force on the ground actively selling our books to the trade. They have very strong relationships with Barnes & Noble and Amazon and teams of sales people in the US, Canada, UK & Australia. They’ll guide us on marketing, sales, production, pricing, cover design, and can secure promotional opportunities at major online and bricks and mortar accounts I could only dream of.

In short, this is a very exciting time for Central Avenue Publishing. But it’s also a scary one, because none of this comes without significant investment. I’ve spent the last few months researching costs, talking to other publishers and devising and revising pricing models, trying to make the numbers work. It’s fortunate that I’m good at that kind of thing, since I plan on being around for the long term and I won’t let what happens to a lot of small publishers happen to me. In doing all this work, I found myself laughing at the many articles I came across by self publishing advocates who warn writers about the huge margins that publishers make on the backs of their authors. At least for independent presses, it’s so far from the truth that I can barely hold myself back from commenting on their posts. Trust me, the margins are truly razor thin for everyone involved, returns average 25% and in many cases it is the author who makes more money than their publisher.

All of this has meant a huge change to the way I do business. I’ve pushed back the release of our fall titles to Spring 2016 so that IPG can sell them into the trade during the accepted time frames and hopefully get them noticed enough to get picked up. This gives me the time to send out copies to all the major review organizations, (many who wouldn’t have even bothered once they discovered the book was POD), and to organize offset printing for my bestselling books and the front list titles for 2016 and onwards. I’ve been up to my eyeballs in paper stock, print samples, all while learning new forms, reading contracts and marketing calendars and preparing presentations for an upcoming sales conference in November. I’ve even opened up submissions and for the first time in a long time, I can say I’ll be working with a new author, (more on that later).

I consider myself very lucky to be working with the amazingly helpful and knowledgeable team at IPG. So far I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the Chicago team, including Mary, Lauren, Anna, Jeff, Salma, Berianne, Mallori, Nicole, Mark, Cynthia, Dana and Caitlin who’ve all been very patient, responsive and helpful and I haven’t even met the sales teams yet! For someone who works by herself in a tiny office in the ‘burbs of Vancouver, this is pretty mind-blowing. They’ve been a boatload of resources so far, and I can’t wait to see how things will move forward. No matter what, it’ll be an amazing ride.

How to be Happy: Not a Self-Help Book. Seriously

July 26 marks the official release date of the new book by Iain S. Thomas, the poet behind the blog and book: I Wrote This For You. How to be Happy is a combination of Iain’s many creative talents wrapped up in a story of one man’s journey to publication.

The story opens with an email from Iain’s publisher who is over the moon that Iain would like to publish a book on how to be happy since the self-help market is quite lucrative. What follows is a multi-platform struggle between publisher and author on creative differences and Iain’s internal struggle with what happiness really is, how to convey that to his readers and whether or not he really knows it.

It’s an interesting journey into self-discovery and publishing told via short stories, poetry, emails, tweets, blog posts, magazine articles and sketches brought together with drafts of the book that our protagonist is attempting to write.

Ebook Preorder Now: Kindle, Nook, Apple, Kobo

Print available July 26 2015