Friday, December 13, 2013

Guest Post: Lou Aronica of the publishing house Story Plant...

What is Story Plant's mandate?

The Story Plant is dedicated to author development. We commit wherever possible to multi-book deals with writers with an aim toward building their audiences over a series of publications.

How/why did you decide to be a publisher?

I've been in publishing since 1979, first at Bantam, where I became Deputy Publisher, then as Publisher of Berkley and Avon. I left that side of the business in 1999 to concentrate on writing, but even though I was having success in that arena, I found that I missed being a publisher too much. That's when I decided to launch The Story Plant with literary manager Peter Miller.

When did you establish Story Plant?

The Story Plant published its first book in 2008.

Share some of Story Plant's challenges and victories...

The bookstore arena is always a challenging one. It is difficult to generate attention for your books without taking considerable risks. Since print books are fully returnable to the publisher if unsold, one takes a big chance in doing a mass distribution. 

We have had significant success on the e-book side of the business. More than a third of our titles have reached the top 100 of either the Kindle or Nook bestseller lists.

This is a challenging time to become a publisher. How are you uniquely equipped to address these challenges?

I think what distinguishes us from most other independent publishers is our understanding of the history of publishing (I was taught the business by Ian Ballantine, the man who brought paperbacks to America for the first time) and willingness to constantly try new things.

What do you see as the benefits of being a publisher?

The greatest benefit of being a publisher is working with writers and seeing their vision come to life on the page.

How does Story Plant market books? Do you have a global reach?

We use a wide range of marketing techniques, from extensive publicity campaigns to targeted advertising, to e-mail marketing, and beyond. We're constantly looking for new ways to market books. 

The Story Plant is distributed by Perseus Distribution, so our books are available in the English language throughout the world.

What genres do you publish?

We publish a wide range of fiction, both commercial and literary.

Who pays the publishing costs--the author or the publisher?

The Story Plant pays all publishing and marketing costs.

Does Story Plant pay royalties as well as an advance?


Do you publish ebooks, print or both?


Please talk us through Story Plant's author submission process...

The best way to submit a title is for the author to query either me ( or our Editorial and Marketing Associate Allison Cronk ( Both of us have very broad tastes and we're open to all kinds of fiction. The only caveat is that we want writers who are truly committed to staking their own place in the book market; we aren't interested in writers who are simply following trends.