When I first entered the publishing industry back in 2006 as an author, there was still a giant chasm separating print and digital authors. The “digital books aren’t real books” mindset was still firmly in place, and even today, that lingers.
When my company, Lyrical Press, ceased putting out print books earlier this year, we saw a slight dip in submissions. Seems authors still believe print is the gold standard, even though Lyrical’s digital sales increased by more than 300% from 2011. We’ve seen our greatest rise in digital sales on Amazon, and saw our print plummet everywhere else. It made sense to focus our attentions on what readers wanted from Lyrical: digital books.
When my husband and I founded Lyrical back in late 2007, our three-part mission was to produce superior quality books, treat all authors equally, and always value the importance of our readers. This same mission is still in practice today.
Producing superior digital books means providing authors with skilled content editors, award-winning cover artists, and the latest formatting technology. From cover art to formatting, Lyrical is always on a path of improvement, always moving forward toward excellence.
We believe author equality is vital for Lyrical’s continued success. Whether an author sells one book in a year or 10,000 books in a month, everyone is treated with the same level of respect and given the same marketing opportunities. No author is left behind. We understand the author/publisher relationship is symbiotic. If our authors succeed, Lyrical succeeds. A fun virtual workplace, one where authors and staff are excited to gather and interact, is crucial for our team to move forward toward mutual success. When everyone is working together and on an even keel, it makes for a well-oiled machine.
Lastly, everyone associated with Lyrical has a vast appreciation of our readership. To us, our readers are everything. From the strict editing standards to the look of our Web sites, every aspect of Lyrical is created and maintained with our readers in mind. Lyrical’s prominent presence on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and GoodReads allows us to cultivate and stay connected with our readers. It puts Lyrical’s entire team on a one-on-one basis with our audience, and because of this, we’re better able to grow our house in accordance with our readers’ wants and needs.
Lyrical’s business model is also one that, only now I’ve learned, is considered pioneering. When Lyrical was first staffed, a royalty-share system with employees seemed like the logical way to do things. Paying our editors a royalty percentage of sales from books they’ve edited, rather than a flat-rate salary, drastically cuts Lyrical’s overhead, allowing us to take greater risks with the books we accept. This royalty-share system among the editing staff, who are self-employed, also ensures everyone has a financial stake in a book’s success. It works for smaller presses, and it’s we little guys who usually find the most innovative ways to stretch our finances in order to thrive in this industry.
I was recently invited (and honored) by the opportunity to consult with a New York publishing house to help replace its old structure with Lyrical’s business model. We’re now seeing new publishers launch successfully under this same model. Publishing has truly become a progressive environment, and it’s wonderful that I get to be part of it. It’s refreshing to see that what was innovative only a few years ago is fast becoming the norm, and that the class system of print being superior to e-books is crumbling.
I’m proud to be a part of this amazing industry, especially now when everything is evolving at lightning speed. I love being a part of an industry that celebrates books, considers words sacred, and cherishes readers, in every format.
Renee Rocco is the owner/publisher of Lyrical Press as well as a wife, mother, writer, and cover artist... but not always in that order.