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ternative, with a focus on marketing and the goal of partnering with the author to position the work for a wide audience. While they encourage authors to have a hand in promoting the work, the Story Plant makes a commitment to marketing its authors, aiming to do something to promote every author every day. Lou understands the author’s frustration with feeling shut out of the design and marketing process in traditional publishing, so The Story Plant invites author input on a variety of issues. As a result, the relationship of authors to their marketing process from an author who designs his or her own covers, to those who aggressively market through their own social networks, to those who are happy to let the press take charge of these efforts. Also, the small size of the company makes it possible to direct energy into each new project, experimenting with tactics and changing direction in this changing marketplace. The Story Plant offers an ebook royalty rate of 25% on net receipts that ramps up to 32% after sales of 3,500 copies.

Lou also runs the imprint that brought out our own Cast of Characters, Fiction Studio Books, a private venture founded to create an outlet for his own work that now publishes other authors by invitation only.

Intended as a writers’ collaborative, Fiction Studio offers the infrastructure of book production while the author handles the entire process of getting the book publication-ready and promoting the work—as well as earning most of the profit. Fiction Studio expanded aggressively for a while, but Lou is scaling back while he focuses on growing The Story Plant.

It seems fitting to give Lou the last word: “I’ve tried to make The Story Plant as much as possible like the kind of publishing house where I’d like to be published. I think this might be the biggest difference between us and everyone else. I’ve run big publishing houses and I understand the challenges inherent in being a major publisher. I’ve also made my living as a writer for more than a decade now, and I understand the challenges and needs of writers. We don’t make a single meaningful decision for The Story Plant without looking at it from both a publisher’s and a writer’s perspective, and we understand those perspectives because we’ve lived them.”

Elaine Isaak recently joined the indie-publishing fray by seizing control of two reprints and producing them as e-books, along with epic fantasy novellas, The Tales of Bladesend.

There’s Gold in Them Thar Bergen

Continued from page 14    another few hundred on Apple iBookstore and Ciando/Thalia/ I also sold about 400 paperbacks in June. That number exceeds what I sell in paperbacks in the U.S. (U.S. is about half that on nine titles instead of five). My novels are priced €4.99.

“My plans in Germany: By the end of 2012, I will have six novels and one short story out. I expect my sales to rise to about 30 percent of my total income because of these two new releases, projecting an annual income of between $300k and $350k in Germany alone after that.”

Indeed, there’s gold in them thar Bergen!

Elizabeth Jennings writes romantic suspense and spicy romantic suspense as Lisa Marie Rice. Her 23rd novel, Heart of Danger, by Lisa Marie Rice, will be published in November 2012 by Avon Red. She has lived in Europe all her adult life. She currently lives in southern Italy which is…interesting. The food is very good. She also runs an international literary festival/writers conference, The International Women’s Fiction Festival— —which affords her a bird’s eye view of publishing on both sides of the Atlantic. That’s interesting, too.

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