Thursday, August 28, 2014

Guest Post: Fireship Press by Michael James

What is Fireship Press' mandate?

Our mandate is to produce good quality books based upon  fact or fiction that is within the bounds of 'Historical' or Nautical reading.

How/why did you decide to become a publisher?

Tom Grundner [lately passed on] disliked the general attitude of Agents who acted as unimaginative gate keepers for large publishing houses and wanted Fireship  to be accessible to more of the middle of the road authors with something to say.

When was Fireship Press established? And why the nautical theme? Are you solely interested in American history?

The company was established about four years ago. The Nautical name was because Tom was avid about nautical tales but while we are still very much nautical we have moved well beyond that genre to almost every other medium but stayed within the bounds of Historical as the core . Definitely interested in history from anywhere in the world if it is a good, well written and compelling book.

Share some of Fireship Press' challenges and victories...

Our challenge has been to grow in a very competitive market holding onto our niche which we value. We are POD.[Print on Demand] and that has been stigmatized by the big publishers although it is good business sense. If the book shops paid more attention to planning they might not be going out of business and the big publishers might not be holding tons of paper in warehouses that they cannot sell. We would quickly go out of business if we allowed the bookshops to order what they liked and to return what they were too lazy to plan for. We have begun to attract some good authors who bring with them more readers .

It is interesting to note that the ships at sea and the Napoleonic wars are still very popular but so are our books on the crusades and the Middle Ages.

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

We run a very lean operation and do not spend where we don't have to. We are as aggressive as possible, within our budget, about getting our books out there and more  selective about what we publish.

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

It is exciting and very hard work but the reward is to see a good book that the large publishers and agents would have rejected go out there.

How does Fireship Press market their books? Do you have a global reach?

We use the blogging system which we are still learning how to use at its best. Blog Tours and Netgalley are some of the tools we use. We are thinking through our marketing strategy on a fluid basis.

We have a global reach via : Ingrams, Lightning Source world wide distribution in paperback and ebooks : Amazon : Apple : Barnes and Noble and Kobo and Sony

Please describe a typical work day...

Start at 0900 Hrs and work all day administering, paying, ordering for our authors and invoicing then working with the editors on problems and manuscripts. Allocating books for the editors, keeping track of their work and then working with the design team on the covers. Working with the authors on approvals, covers , Blurbs, information for our web site and the book. Working with our Marketing person to try to get the best for our authors.

Keeping track of the 85 tasks that are needed to make it happen and generally working like dingbats. Finish at 9 pm at night.

What genres do you publish?

Nautical, Military,  Worldwide historical topics, US Stateside history both genders, Civil war any country , Empire, Colonial, Personalities in history, Air . Sea and Land historical stories

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

Fireship pays all the costs.

Do you pay both an advance and royalty? What is the ratio?

No advance but yes Royalties are paid three times a year: The amount is confidential and between Fireship and the authors but it is higher than the average.

Please take us through Fireship Press' submission process..

Please read the web site details ..They are there for people to see :

How do you choose the authors you publish?

With as much care as we can. It is a subjective process but we hold to certain rules that are flexible it is true but over time they have proved valuable.

Are you a print or E book publisher?

Amazon. Apple. B&N Kobo and LSI

Words of advice for aspiring Fireship Press authors...

First: Write a good story and make sure it is well Edited before submission as a badly edited manuscript can color the process against the author. We want a new author to succeed but they have to help themselves to do so by conforming to certain requirements in order to do so. Everyone is busy so if a poor quality manuscript comes over the transom then it is greeted with impatience which is a bad start to the process. The submission instructions are fairly clear.

Parting words...

 Places like Fireship Press came about because the big boys are not very interested in anything but the established writers. We are interested in taking a look. Our standards are high as we are not a Self publishing company nor a Vanity Press. Our reputation is important to us, and our authors, so we don't take just anything that comes over the transom. Keep writing and don't give up. If you are passionate about your work sooner or later someone will sit up and take notice.

Thank you for your interest.  Michael James