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My inaugural blog post on Bard and Book

As the instigator of Bard and Book Publishing, it seemed fitting to take a minute to give a little background.  People love that kind of stuff, right?

I suppose the origin of the idea has to go back to Daniel Q, who sent me a link talking about ‘1,000 true fans.’  The idea in the link was that the old models of making a living could be set aside because of Internet technologies that allowed even average joe’s to find and connect with people.  A thousand people who buy everything you make, or write, or create, every time is enough to give you an income.  I made a half-hearted attempt to build that base of 1,000 fans for my writing on the website of my Birth Pangs series.  As you can expect, I am migrating those fans over to Bard and Book, where they will be getting even more bang for their buck, but here is the link for history’s sake.

Through my ministry activities at Athanatos Christian Ministries, I have learned the ropes for publishing and promotion.  ACM publishes classic reprints and contemporary authors in both print and digital editions.  A moment came when I thought to myself, “Self, you’ve got the know-how to take this to a new level and in a different direction.”

But I should probably go back a little further, to why I began acquiring that ‘know-how’ in the first place, because it has a direct bearing on the publishing model that Bard and Book represents.

When I had written Fidelis, the first book in the Birth Pangs series, I had a decision to make:  go the traditional route and find an agent or ‘self-publish’?  I did submit the story to some agents and received relatively good feedback (such as:  “B+ material!  We only deal with A+ new authors, sorry”).  As the rejections continued to come in, I explored the ‘self-publishing’ route (eg, Lulu.com) and played around with it a little.  Finally a friend put me in a new, more profitable direction, and this opened up my ability to publish more than my own works.  That is, ACM was able to become an actual publisher.

I say all this because I learned a valuable thing in the course of all this:  very few people who go the ‘traditional route’ make any real money.  It is the rare author that is able to make a living from their writing.   Publishers and retailers get the majority of it, and perhaps that is reasonable, since they put up the money for the production, promotion, and infrastructure.  But it does mean that only a select few… the A+ authors, I guess, will be given a shot… at a tiny commission.

Bard and Book is designed to address this situation head on, putting the author on an equal playing field with the publisher, and protecting the interests of all involved–including the reader.

That’s right, you, the reader.

The digital revolution has meant a thousand-fold increase in books available for people to read and it is not easy to sort out the good from the bad.  With so many random authors out there, how can an avid reader find good stuff?  Bard and Book has the answer:  you join a community of quality writers who are continuing to produce new content.  These aren’t ‘random authors.’  They are authors that you get to know more and more as they write content specifically with you in mind.  Not a general ‘you,’ but YOU, because you are able to provide feedback directly to the author on an ongoing basis.

And instead of plunking down ten bucks for a book and wondering how many pennies the author is going to get out of that, you can pretty well figure it out on the back of an envelope:  your monthly membership fee (say, $10) minus a small commission to the publisher of (say, 20%) divided by the number of authors involved with Bard and Book.  If there are 8 authors, each author gets $1 from your $10 monthly contribution.  Or, to put it another way, instead of the publisher getting 80% of the revenue, the authors themselves get 80% of the revenue!

Now, that is author-friendly if ever there were such a thing.  And for your $10 monthly contribution, you don’t get just a single book.  You walk into Barnes and Noble and spend 10 bucks you get a flimsy little book.   With Bard and Book, you will get a new creative piece from each author each month at absolutely no additional cost.  As of our launch, that’s 7 short stories or poems or novellas or novels every single month.  What is that, like $1.25 a story? What a deal!

And, you get the satisfaction of knowing you are directly supporting a community of authors that are aiming to support themselves full-time from their writing.  Not just random authors;  authors that you will get to know, personally.

As great as this sounds from an author’s point of view, I knew it wouldn’t work from the publisher’s perspective without an easy way to get works into the hands of the readership for free while still making them available to the ‘world’ for a price.  Here I must tip my hat to the website Smashwords.com, which allows us to add digital works in a variety of ebook formats (Nook, Kobo, Apple, etc) at a retail price but then provide a 100% off coupon (thus making it FREE) that is exclusively available to our membership community.  Sweet, right?  Sweeter yet:  they then turn around and distribute the e-books to Sony, BarnesandNoble, Kobo, etc!  Sweet.

That was the final ingredient necessary for the Bard and Book publishing model to be workable.  Although there is just one more thing needed:  you, the reader.

If you have come here to this site, especially in its beginning days (as I write this) it is probably because you know one or more of the authors personally or not too distantly.  This is your big chance to help this teeming pile of authors fulfill their dreams of making a living from their writing.  Or, to put it differently:  they don’t make very much money from the sale of individual books.  They make it from taking the lion’s share of the membership fees.  This provides them with a steady cash flow and stability, which few authors.  But only if you sign up!

Thus is born Bard and Book Publishing:  a win-win-win scenario for the publisher, the authors, and the readers. 

We’re in the hunt for 1,000 ‘true fans’ and we hope you’ll be one of them.  If you join us as a reader-subscriber, you will get unlimited access to every story our authors produce.  If you want to purchase stories a la carte, you can browse to our Smashwords page and find stories you like.  There are some free stories that each author has made available to whet your appetite, too.  Monthly chats with the authors await you, and be sure to check out their blogs!

Please let me know if you have any questions or difficulties navigating the site. (Note, only paid members get full access to some areas of the site, including the full text of most of their blog entries)

Yours sincerely,

Anthony Horvath

Founder, Bard and Book Publishing.

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