Staying afloat in the publishing industry is not an easy task. Publishers have to compete against a deluge of new titles, and they are pitted against incumbents with established brands and massive resources. In the midst of such rigorous competition, several independent publishers are able to achieve international success.
Media Context speaks to an editorial representative at TouchPoint Press, a company that has made impressive strides in their industry.
What challenges did TouchPoint Press face during the COVID-19 outbreak, and how did you overcome them?
Remote work has been the norm for our editors, so going fully remote has not been a major adjustment in itself. Remote work allows our staff more time with family, convenience of scheduling around family, and to make it possible for those who cannot work outside the home for whatever reason to have the same opportunities afforded to those who make a 9-to-5 commute.
Even still, not everyone has been able to adjust to the impact of COVID, whether due to illness, increased family obligations with children at home versus being in school, or the stresses of it all. Our admin staff has felt the greatest impact, and we're all wearing multiple hats these days.
We've been blessed that all our editors have risen to the challenges--and beyond. Many are parents whose children are now being homeschooled. They have had to adjust their work schedules and personal lives to accommodate their new role as teacher/educator to their children. I am so impressed and proud of them. We have the best editorial team.
The greatest challenge has been the impact of COVID on the indie book seller. So many indie bookstores have felt the physical and financial impact from having to close their doors to in-person customers. This means many bookstores are ordering less.
Author events were non-existent for months, but we're slowing seeing an upturn through virtual events. We've worked to adjust our wholesale terms for bookstores to help offset some of the financial constraints they face. We have increased our standard discount and do not require a minimum order amount.
How does TouchPoint Press market its products to its target audience?
We've always viewed social media as a vital tool for authors and publishers, but COVID-19 forced social media to shift from vital to imperative. Apart from social media marketing, we send review copies (preferably digital ARCs) to reviewers, trade publications, etc. We create and distribute a press release for every new release, contact each author's local and regional media, create and distribute sell sheets and media kits, We also have a group where we can share contests or events and the authors can share ideas. Our media department also helps with signings.
Many of our authors may be interested in submitting their manuscripts to TouchPoint Press. What would TouchPoint Press like to see in its submissions?
We accept multiple fiction and nonfiction genres. The most important thing for any author to know: follow submissions guidelines. The initial contact is as important as the manuscript itself. If we ask for a query, a query is what we want--not a full manuscript. We want the query in the body of an email, not as an attachment. And please, get to the point. We want to know the who, what, when, where, and why. How the author responds to and follows guidelines is often indicative of how they will perform in the future.
Would TouchPoint Press prefer to work with established authors or novices?
We are open to new and published, agented and unagented authors. However, we do expect clean submissions. If your manuscript is not as perfect as possible (free of grammatical errors, etc.), consider consulting a professional editor before submitting. Many good stories are rejected for issues that could be resolved with a professional edit. That doesn't mean the author has to hire an editor, per se. They can consult with a local professor, English teacher, or other literary professional who is willing to give their work an honest assessment.
Does TouchPoint Press mainly work with local/regional authors, or authors from around the world?
We do have a few international authors, but the majority reside in the US. We want to give our authors the best possible experience. It's harder to market an international author when the majority of our resources are US-based. Overall, we consider international submissions on a case-by-case basis.
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