As a publisher, reviewing one’s authors’ books prompts alarm bells of bias and having to say nice things about the book to encourage sales. Instead of reviewing TSL’s books in the traditional sense, I thought I’d write some appreciations of our authors – which invariably will include a review or reflections on that author’s writing.
Taking this approach allows, I think, an opportunity to stand back from genres and themes I would not usually engage with and therefore struggle to review, whilst sharing with you, the reader, something about our publishing house and authors.
As a publishing house, TSL works in partnership with its authors. This means we publish for a wide variety of reasons and across a range of topics, the content beinng secondary to the author-publisher relationship. The result is a network of authors all with a similar ethos or approach to writing and publishing: independent voice and not following the crowd.
While all are keen on sales, it’s not the main driver, some going as far to limit sale outlets as a stand against monopolies and conglomerations. All our authors want their books read – by as many people as possible. They believe their story is worth sharing, and so does TSL.
There are a few things TSL stands by:
* Avoiding labels in its endeavour to be inclusive. Some of our authors use labels and a few have left the fold as a result of TSL not doing so. The use of a label a double-edged sword but I believe that in every book TSL has published where a label could be applied, there is something in that publication for a reader who might not have engaged with it had it carried a label. Be bold, try something different – you could be pleasantly surprised.
* Getting the best deal for the author, reader and publisher. This means we do not push to have TSL books in bookshops as the retail price we have to set to give an author some return on a sale prices the book out of most readers’ reach. To overcome this, all TSL published books are sold directly through TSL at a reduced price and where our authors have their own sales outlets, we encourage readers to buy direct from the author to give them the best return for their creative work.
* Belief in slow burners. TSL doesn’t do the traditional marketing thing of pre-promotion. When a book is ready to meet the world, it is launched. Trying to anticipate when this will be has generally led to frustrations and unnecessary pressures all round. There is no expectation that a book will have a short life span – our first authors are promoted as much as our most recent. With technology and social media as it is, the challenge is trying to get information on a book to collide with a potential reader’s inbox for a spur of the moment sale – those seem to be the best after word of mouth sales. With so many books being published each year, this seems to me to be a sensible approach. Tastes and interests change over time and there’s no guarantee when something ‘old’ will be in fashion again or if something in the pipeline will hit the right buttons on its release. Providing the author-publisher relationship continues, the book remains available and promoted.
Hopefully having an understanding of how TSL works and sharing what I appreciate about our TSL authors and their writing will help you find a new author or book to read.