Publishing took a giant leap in the 1990s when computers and digital printing made it possible for nearly anyone to be a published author. The leap was immensely influential on independent authors of memoirs and personal histories, challenged perhaps more than any other group to secure the attention of traditional publishers. Digital printing enabled memoir authors to explode onto the publishing world.
Today, hundreds of companies offer print-on-demand services, causing author reliance on costly traditional publishing
houses and subsidy publishers to disappear. The flip side of those services is that navigating the maze of prices, options, customer service, and quality—which vary widely among companies—can be intimidating and discouraging.
Help is available from entrepreneurs like Sharon Kizziah-Holmes and her husband Dennis, founders and owners of Paperback-Press Publishing Company, Springfield, Missouri. “We are an indie author assist publisher, which means we help independent authors pull everything together to get a professionally published book,” Sharo says.
How it works
Paperback-Press is similar to small-press publishing, providing emerging authors with personal attention and enabling them find their audiences. It formats a manuscript for paperback and electronic book, designs the cover, and makes the book available on Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com. Bookstores order the book on the Internet. All payments from booksellers and royalties go to authors and authors keep all rights. Authors are not required to purchase a minimum number of books.
Paperback-Press uses CreateSpace, an Amazon.com company, to produce books. Although an author may go directly to CreateSpace to do what Paperback-Press does, some authors find the process daunting. For a few hundred dollars, Paperback-Press will do the job for them.
“We can usually get a book out in less than six months for between $500 and $1,000 including all our fees except proofreading,” Sharon says. “We want authors to have affordable access and not be taken advantage of.”
Proofreading can be as low as a penny per word. “We have three editors who proofread,” Sharon says. “We don’t accept everything; it has to be something good. If an author wants to publish without proofreading we will do a project, but the book won’t carry our logo.”
One project involved a woman who wrote three novels. “Her stories were great. She didn’t know the mechanics of writing very well, so we helped her with that,” Sharon says.
Experience from the trenches
Sharon founded Affordable Creative Editing Service (ACES) with Kathleen Garnsey. ACES prepares manuscripts for submission to agents and publishers. Sharon and Kathleen teach writing classes and critique and edit fiction books of all genres. Sharon is author of three novels, a collection of short stories, and a children’s book. Kathleen is author of four novels.
Sharon helped authors self-publish for many years before she and Dennis started Paperback-Press in 2012. The company has published thirty-seven titles of fiction and nonfiction, including children’s books, biographies, and memoirs. Among the memoirs are a psychic’s journey to God, a correctional officer’s poetry and prison experiences, and a farm boy’s account of serving on a U.S. Navy ship in WWII. Fiction includes romance, mystery, inspirational, fantasy, and science fiction. For children’s books, Paperback-Press connects authors and illustrators. The company also records audio books, karaoke singles, and live bands.
Besides helping independent authors, Sharon and Dennis help traditionally published authors who have gotten their book rights back to bring their manuscripts up to date and then self-publish.
Although publishing is their passion, Sharon and Dennis are retired road musicians who own and operate a barbershop, aptly named The Barber Shop. Their son Aaron barbers with them.
What have been the benefits and drawbacks of your experience with an independent author assist publisher? If you used Paperback-Press, tell about that.
Sharon Kizziah-Holmes may be reached at Paperback-Press.com.
Photo courtesy Sharon Kizziah-Holmes.