THORNICROFT HOUSE publishing is out there — in a very small way, but shortly to have a website. It comes as part of the trend for “indie” publishers.
To put it simply: The way things are going, it’s extremely hard for a writer to be published by a mainstream publisher at that publisher’s expense. It simply is not a viable idea unless the publisher can be sure of making the required profit.
Increasingly, publishers require the writers to have an agent (also rather hard to find) or to be an already-established author with that publishing house.
Therefore mainstream publishers are apparently one by one establishing an alternative for writers, to give them the chance to “get in print” via a self-publishing option. Some production packages offer the basic production of the book (looking very similar to any other) with any editing and formatting necessary, a handful of copies in hand to the author, and further to that the author may have to buy from them further copies of the book and/or publicity material for local marketing purposes.
Hopefully the “self-publishing” firm will use its wider contacts to represent the book and market it internationally, in order to bring in purchases which earn the author royalties. But it’s no surety for getting rich, or even famous!
Firstly, the term “self-publisher” really only applies to the PERSON WHO PAYS. And once the writer has paid for a book to be produced, the production and printing costs are met, and no writer can be sure of the extent to which the company (whose needs have been met) will make any further effort — whereas the author has a handful of books which cannot alone cover those production costs.
I cannot offer any answer to the writer’s quandary, just to say that I chose the avenue which will give me less cost and more books in hand. I use local printers to whom I give a PDF which is nearly print-ready. I then collaborate with their computer format-person who does what they call the ‘artwork’ and together you can arrange a nice cover and make any adjustments once they produce a proof copy.
I am not paying for any editing service that way — which of course is a drawback if I’m not confident that my spelling is accurate and writing well-punctuated. It is just as well to have another person or two proof-read with critical eyes.
That way, I am the publisher, and so I call myself THORNICROFT HOUSE. This name comes from my husband’s Family Tree which proves that he’s descended from seven English Kings from William the Conqueror down through History to Edward I (whose wife, a Castillian princess was famous for all the Eleanor Crosses erected in UK after her death by the grieving widowed king). Descended from their daughter Princess Elizabeth are scatterings of de Bohuns and earls, lords and dukes, until finally a descendant 10 generations later married into the Thornicroft family (spelled variously Thorneycroft, Thornycraft, etc…). Another seven generations later a Thornicroft married a Frost and it is they who came to New Zealand in the early days of European settlement.
So that seemed a suitable name to call my publishing efforts — especially since the first book on the list for Thornicroft House is a historical novel in which I was tracing what I could of MY Family Tree which purported that I was descended from an English bigamist! I was hardly going to take HIS name!
The production company I used for that effort, was http://www.lulu.com which had an online ‘wizard’ program enabling me to do my own formatting. All they did was the production for my historical novel A SILENT SIN. I don’t know if they still offer a similar service, but it suited my purposes at the time. And because I was paying the costs, the publisher was Thornicroft House. I have to buy my own copies from http://www.lulu.com.
Since then, Thornicroft House has produced TEDDY TELLS: the (nearly all true) Memoirs of Teddy King, S.M. This is the story of a teddy bear which survived being a mascot in both World Wars. It has come out as a pre-teens’ chapter-book which is also readable by adults.
Thornicroft House has also published GARDENING FOR DUMMIES — two months’ worth of Christian devotions based on a gardening theme. Soon to follow are one or two volumes of my collected short stories, many of which have earned places in national short story competitions. They needed a home together! And my sci-fi chapter book will be next on the list after that. I will announce each on my BlogSpot as it emerges.
When the website is set up, it will also be a channel for publicising the children’s series of history books KIWI KIDS in2 HISTORY. Obviously they feature New Zealand (true) history tales, and they are written by me but published by our local Historical Society.
Meantime, what won’t be in the short story collections will probably be posted here — old meanderings interspersed with the new.